Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace

Random/Make Me a World. Sept. 2020. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524719401.
Gr 9 Up–Duany recalls his transformation from child soldier in Sudan to refugee and activist in America. During the second Sudanese civil war in the 1990s, Duany, his father, and his brothers fought for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army against Anya Anya II. The violence forced his family to flee the village of Liet for the Itang refugee camp in Ethiopia. While they lived in the camp, several of his siblings tragically died. He writes: “We Sudanese do not dwell on death. If we did, we’d be in a perpetual state of mourning.” With assistance from the United Nations, he resettled in America, where he endured racism and experienced culture shock. Refuge came through bonding with family members and other Sudanese immigrants and earning basketball scholarships. Learning about his own post traumatic stress disorder inspired him to help others. Duany also found success modeling in fashion shows and acting in films like I Heart Huckabees and The Good Lie. Eventually, he traveled back to Sudan to film a documentary, reunite with his family, and vote for South Sudan’s independence. This intense look at the struggle of refugees will open readers’ eyes. Duany marvels at his first experiences riding an escalator and using a shower in the United States, privileges most people take for granted. Despite his native country’s ongoing violence, he leaves readers with a sense of hope.
VERDICT Recommended for school and public libraries. Duany offers a harrowing but ultimately inspiring memoir.

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