Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Son of a Gun” as Want to Read:
Son of a Gun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Son of a Gun (World Wide Kidz #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  200 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Based on true stories of former child soldiers interviewed by the author in Liberia, Son of a Gun describes the journey of a brother and sister, ten-year-old Lucky and eight-year-old Nopi, who are kidnapped from school and forced to become child soldiers.
Lucky and Nopi manage to escape with the help of older children. They track down their parents, but then must flee agai
Paperback, 125 pages
Published April 18th 2012 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Son of a Gun, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Son of a Gun

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 424)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nicole Glaser
I’m torn on what age I think this book is best suited for. Can young readers identify with Lucky and Nopi? Is it imperative that they do? It was a hard read as a parent and a lover of children. This concept of child soldiers seems so foreign to me, even after acknowledging that it happens more often than I’d like to read about. I liked how to narration changed and I like how every once in a while you knew you were reading the words of an older narrator, not the young child solider. I couldn’t he ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
The subject of this book is child soldiers, in this instance in the country of Liberia, during its civil war. It's a harsh and harrowing topic for a children's book, yet de Graaf manages to convey the horror of it without going into too many of the gory details. The story describes how Lucky and his sister Nopi are kidnapped from school and forced to work for soldiers, eventually becoming ones themselves. This is happening even now in places around the world. What angers me in this instance is t ...more
When he was eight, soldiers invaded Lucky’s school, killed his teachers and forced him and his ten-year-old sister Nopi to become soldiers in the Liberian Civil War. They were beaten, drugged, and armed with AK-47s forced to kill or be killed.

De Graaf’s novel for children, told in alternating first person accounts addressed to the reader by Lucky and Nopi, gives a simple, stark and often gruesome account of warfare in the eyes of the young combatants. The book is based on stories she heard from
Debra Zager
This was difficult book for me to read. I can't imagine the horror that those children lived and that haunts them still. I know a family that immigrated from El Salvador after the son of one of their good friends was taken and forced into the army. They left everything in fear that it would happen to their thirteen year old son, as well. In coming to the United States, they faced prejudice and had to give up their careers, a physician and college professor to start here working at a soup factory ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Myhiah added it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Audience: Intermediate

Genre: Biography

Discussion Questions:
REMEMBER: Who were the main characters?
-The main characters were Lucky and Nopi. Nopi was the older sister to Lucky, her younger brother.

UNDERSTAND: What was the main idea?

-The main idea was to share the story of how Lucky and Nopi survived the war in Liberia. It explained how the kids stayed together and found their parents until again their parents were kidnapped and the second time around they got separated. It’s a great ending,
Citation: Son of a Gun, by Anne de Graff. (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2012). 125p. Realistic Fiction.

Summary: Eleven year old Nopi and her eight year old brother Lucky are kidnapped and forced to fight for years in Liberia’s tribal warfare during the mid 1990’s.

Critique: (a.) In this short juvenile fiction novel it is author Anne de Graff’s writing style and her choice to use the voices of children affected by the surrounding African warfare that brings this world to life. (b.) How are c
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Son of a gun. / Anne de Graff. / 2012.

Genre: Young Adult - Historical Fiction.

Format: Book - print (chapter book). 121 pages.

Plot summary:
“Eight-year-old Liberian Lucky, his ten-year-old sister Nopi, and their schoolmates are kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers, but even after they escape along with some other children and are reunited with their parents, their lives will never be the same. Includes chapter about Liberia” (NoveList).

Considerations or
Ariel Russell
• Genre in which book belongs and intended age range

The genre in which this book belongs to is realistic fiction. The intended age range is 6th grade to 8th grade.

• Simple one or two sentence summary

This book is about Lucky and Nopi who get stripped from home in the midst of war in Liberia. They become soldiers for opposing sides and eventually the war ends.

• Curriculum connection

This book can be connected to the curriculum by allowing students to understand that as children in America they do
Michael Duffey
Apr 26, 2014 Michael Duffey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Michael by:
Shelves: 642-shelf
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Range: 9th-12th Grade

Summary: Son of a Gun follows the tragic childhood of Nopi and Lucky, who were unfortunately forced to be child soldiers. Will they be able to escape this harsh from this childhood? Will they be able to regain a normal life? Read and find out!

Curriculum Connection: I would have my students read this book then complete a webquest so that they could learn more about the topic at hand. In addition, we will hold a class discussion because I am sure
Genre: Historical Fiction for ages 10 +

Summary: This is the story of Nopi and Lucky two children from the war torn country of Liberia. Lucky and Nopi tell their stories separately through the book but they are the same. Two children that have their childhood, family, and homeland taken away by war.

Curriculum connection: You could do a lot with this book history, geography, social studies, beyond just the regular english or language arts. This book lends itself to a lot of different curriculum co
Rachel Lizan
Description: Brother and sister Lucky and Nopi are kidnapped with their classmates from their school and forced to become child soldiers during Liberia's 14 Year War.

Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction

Intended Audience: 6th - 8th Grade

Curriculum Connection: The would be an excellent book to learn about perspectives since many students would never be in the situations that Nopi and Lucky were. They would truly have to think about how they would react or what they would do in their shoes.

Personal R
Kathryn Edmunds
1. Genre: Historical Fiction

2. Intended age range: Grades 6-8

3. Summary: Ten-year-old Lucky and eight-year-old Nopi are brother and sister that live in Liberia. They were captured and were forced to become child soldiers until they decided to flee to save their lives.

4. Curriculum connection: At the beginning of the story, Nopi had the dream of becoming a professional soccer player. After was captured at school and forced to kill, his dream faded. At the end of the story, Nopi’s dream changed.
Wow this was an eye-opening story. The book is about a ten year-old boy and his sister who are kidnapped and forced to be child soldiers. It goes back and forth between the brother's and sister's first person account of what happened. I thought it was written in a way that made it very appropriate and accessible to middle grade students even though the subject matter was difficult to read. At the end of the book the author includes a note written to middle grades students as well as more informa ...more
Gender and age: Realistic Fiction, grades 6+

Summary: A brother and a sister suffer the atrocities of being child soldiers in the war that took place in Liberia.

Curriculum: This book could be used in history lesson on Africa’s wars and the consequences of those wars.

Reaction: This story had a profound effect on me, which was partially a result of the author’s writing style in which she writes in the perspective of the two children Nopi and Lucky. I think it is extremely important for students to
Apr 28, 2014 Ekassel added it
Shelves: 642-shelf
Age: 4th-12th

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Summary: This book tells the story of two young children, a brother and sister, who are kidnapped and forced to fight in Liberia's civil war.

Curriculum connection: This book can be used to show students that life in other countries is way harder than we have it. It can be used to learn about Africa, child soldiers, or first person narratives.

Personal Reaction: I ended up getting into the book, even though it was very sad. I'm not sure I would use this book
Erin Reilly-Sanders
This isn’t a particularly fun book to read, as you get the idea from the description of it as being about child soldiers in Liberia. However, it really doesn’t dwell to much on the killing or the awfulness of the deeds, focusing instead on healing and forgiveness. It is somewhat graphic for a book for children although I don’t quite think this is really a teen book either- the protagonists are 8 and 10 at the beginning and likely 13 and 15 at the end. A lot of the violence, particularly the repe ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Lucky is 10 and his sister, Nopi, is 12 when soldiers appear suddenly at their school, assault their teachers and drag the students off to war. This is life in Liberia in 1998, and in a series of wars that pit neighbor against neighbor, boys become soldiers and girls become wives. In a fictionalized version of the real life traumas of children who once dreamed of being soccer stars and now only dream of being home with family and going to school, de Graaf tries to send home the message of how l ...more
I received an early reviewers copy of “Son of a Gun”. It is a powerful book that I truly enjoyed. One of the things that makes this book both horrific and interesting is that the story is told form the viewpoint of a child. The horrors that a young brother and sister have to endure during the Liberian Civil War are appalling. Not only that, but once they escape the war they still have to endure more evil.
This is a true story and is written for young adult readers. I am a middle school language
Ginta Harrigan
“Son of a Gun” is a true story of children in Liberia forced to be soldiers and fight in battle.

“Son of a Gun” was written by award-winning author Anne de Graaf. Ms. De Graaf interviewed the former child soldiers and compiled their stories into a book. Parts of the book are very descriptive and well written. For example, de Graaf writes in the prologue of Lucky turning in his AK-47 (also known as his God) in the United Nations gun buyback program. She describes him placing it on the pile of weap
Rhondda Powling
This is a harsh and violent story about the involvement of children in the civil war in Liberia. Told in alternating accounts, it is the story of Nopi and her little brother Lucky. The two are taken from school by soldiers and forced to join their fight. As the story unfolds ( we “see” everything through the eyes of these two children)and covers the next eight years of their lives. Violence and uncertainty form a major part of their lives but Nopi, who was 10 at the beginning of the story, and L ...more
This story describes the journey of a brother and sister, eight-year-old Lucky and ten-year-old Nopi, who are kidnapped from school and forced to become child soldiers in Liberia's fourteen-year-long civil war.

Lucky and Nopi manage to escape, but must continue fleeing. Even after they are reunited with their parents, they both know the pieces of their lives will never fit together like they used to.

The narrative is based on true stories of former child soldiers interviewed by the author. Son of
Son of a Gun asks a lot of its reader. Truthfully I didn’t have much schema of war in Liberia and found myself racing to catch up with the characters. There is poetry in the children’s simple narrative and small phrases were beautifully horrible. “What am I worth?” asks Lucky. The siblings’ tales are both overwhelming and fascinating.
While the story acknowledges itself to be fiction it is based on fact and pieces of story the author heard in her travels. This presents a challenge to the reader w
Son of a Gun is about a brother and sister who were kidnapped during the Liberian civil war. They were both forced to become child soldiers and surived the war along with their parents. As stated at the end of the book, all the individual events occured during the war and were combined by the author in her characters. She provides historical, political, economic, and social information in the back matter lend credibility to the book. The purpose of the book is to draw attention to the reality of ...more
Holly Saunders
Son of a Gun is a very compelling story of the Civil war in Liberia through the eyes of two children, a sister, Nopi, and her brother, Lucky. The experiences of these children are very terrifying and moving. Through their experiences, the reader is taken into the brutal world of war. Both children are kidnapped from their school and physically abused. Each must kill to stay alive and they are separated from their family and each other for most of the war. The loss of their innocence and childhoo ...more
Honestly, after the first few pages of this book, I wanted to put it down. Any situation dealing with atrocities toward children is so disturbing to me that I usually have to walk away from it. I suppose that's probably why I can't watch shows like Nancy Grace anymore - it's just too emotionally overwhelming to deal with.

However, while the thought of these children being kidnapped and turned into little soldiers was horrific, I was drawn to Lucky and Nopi, feeling the need to keep reading just
Every ten year old should be required to read this book. I cannot count how many times I said to myself how lucky I was to grow up in America. It also hits on a topic that really eats at me. I get so frustrated in class seeing students that do not care or do not take their education seriously. They just do not understand that so many kids in this world do not have the chance to receive an education. The book is very fast paced and hard to put down. I read it in one sitting. I like how the story ...more
Laurie Dole
My first reaction to this book was to remove myself from it, I put it under the stack beside me and reread something pleasant. I wanted somehow to shield my own child, and everyone else's, from these events. But not reading about them doesn't make them any less real. So, in looking back at this story, I found a two person narrative that shares the life of children forced to adapt to surroundings beyond their control. Their perseverance throughout this horror is a lesson for any who feel overwhel ...more
Cathy Ireland
Emotionally, this was a very difficult book to take in, yet I read it in one day, putting it down when the story became too intense and picking it up a few minutes later to read more. The story is told from two points of view--a brother and a sister, Lucky (8) and Nopi (10)--who are forced to become child soldiers in the Liberian civil war. What I thought was interesting about the narrative was that the story didn't follow the expected plotline: trauma then salvation then healing. The children e ...more

This book was a wide awakening as to what is happening in different parts of the world. As with Yummy, the main characters are children whose lives change dramatically because of the violence in their lives. Lucky and Nopi are children growing up in Liberia. Civil war has engulfed this country the size of Tennessee. As in many urban settings here in the US, Lucky's village finds themselves battling former friends from different villages. They are not choosing to fight, but are rather being force
“Son of a Gun” written by Anne De Graff is a coming of age story for a brother and sister. They are forced to grow up when they are captured and taken from their homes to fight in a time of war. They face decisions and situations no child should ever have to endure. Traumatic experiences like being kidnapped, beaten, losing the ability to hear, murder, hunger, exhaustion, and separation tarnish their childhoods.

In Chapter 10 Lucky says, “Think instead about your own heart and all that is preci
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems
  • The Milk of Birds
  • Children of the Great Depression
  • For What It's Worth
  • Caminar
  • Up, Tall, and High!
  • Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
  • Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
  • Diamond Boy
  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
  • Those Rebels, John and Tom
  • The Last Free Cat
  • Threatened
  • The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery
  • Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
  • A Certain October
  • Hunt for the Bamboo Rat
  • Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Other Books in the Series

World Wide Kidz (8 books)
  • Tsunami!
  • Vlucht naar El Pozon
  • Dans over de zee
  • Leven achter prikkeldraad
  • Miss India
  • Dorst!
  • Schokkende aarde
Into the Nevernight The Children's Bible Story Book Bread Upon the Waters Where the Fire Burns Out of the Red Shadow

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »