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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Paul Kagomi's most precious possession is his AK. He is a warrior, a boy soldier, trained for war in the African bush. Peace comes and Paul buries his gun and goes to school. But it does not last. Soldiers come to burn the school and kill the children, and Paul flees through the bush to find his gun. Will it be war again or is there another way?
Published May 4th 2001 by MacMillan UK (first published January 1st 1992)
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Jul 01, 2014 Mmars rated it it was amazing
This is a book for ages 12+ that has sadly gone out of print. Checking Amazon today it had only 2 used copies for sale.

I was reading about Ismael Beah's autobiography detailing his life as a boy soldier and AK came to mind. It often does. It's important that a well-written book realistically presenting the life of a boy soldier in modern Africa be available not only for youth, but adults as well.

This book takes place in a fictional country but was published in the early 90s, I believe during th
Adam Woolsey
Nov 13, 2013 Adam Woolsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng408
AK, by Peter Dickinson is a novel detailing the incredibly difficult life of a merely 12 year old boy named Paul, who until the start of the novel, has been forced to suffer through life child soldier fighting against the political corruption of the government of Nagala, a fictionalized African country. At the onset of the novel, “peace” is ultimately declared in the country, and Paul moves in with his mentor, and now adopted father, named Michael. However, his world is once again turned upside ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Emma rated it it was amazing
A really well written account of a civil war in Africa in the fictious country of Nagala as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy, Paul, a child soldier. This is labelled as a children's book but I think it is an important read for adults too. The matter-of-fact way that Paul deals with atrocities is understated but heartbreaking at the same time. The novel also shows a different side to child soldiers, the fact that perhaps they would be dead without the guerilla groups they now work with, the ...more
Sophia F
Mar 03, 2014 Sophia F rated it really liked it
The story of Paul Kagomi is definitely an interesting one.
His father Michael Kagomi, (but not really his father, more like his adoptive dad) was captured for various reasons, and Paul was determined to rescue him.
His most valuable possession is his AK, or his gun. When he touches it, it immediately brings him into reality, and putting him straight into action.
I found this book interesting to read, but Im not exactly sure if this book was meant to make child soldiers to appear as perpetrators or
Mar 09, 2007 Josie rated it liked it
Re-read in March 2013: Peter Dickinson takes a horrifying subject -- the use of child soldiers and civil war in Africa -- and turns it into a powerfully moving story. Paul is a war orphan who has only ever known war; his best friend is his AK. But his adoptive father Michael has visions of a better future for Africa, and when peace comes he sends Paul to school. However, peace doesn't last for long, and when Michael is imprisoned Paul must leave school and trek through the bush to dig up his AK ...more
Michele Velthuizen
Nov 04, 2010 Michele Velthuizen rated it it was amazing
Interest level: 7th +
Reading level: medium
Genre: Realistic, war, child soldiers, boy soldiers, trial by fire

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a soldier at your age? Ever heard about boy soldiers in the news? Well here's a book that will take you inside a war-torn country and show you what it's like to be an orphan who has been adopted by a guerrilla group fighting for independence.

Paul Kagomi can't remember his parents - he was too young when he was taken by soldiers and trai
This is a really powerful book. The plot is compelling, the characters infinitely human, and I thought the ending in particular was well-handled. This could easily become a book about moralizing on the wrongness of child soldiers or wishing for something different or giving up all hope, but Dickinson did none of those things, and I really respect his approach to simply try and conceive of the life of Paul and his countrymen. I do think it's interesting knowing that this is written by someone who ...more
Feb 11, 2016 LeAnne rated it it was amazing
Readers of my book, The Wooden Ox, will appreciate this adventure story about a former child soldier in a fictional African country. The author grew up in Zambia. He knows African culture and problems. He does a beautiful job of portraying the struggle for a dream. The main story reaches a satisfying conclusion. Then he offers 2 scenarios for 20 years down the road. In one each of the young characters has achieved his or her dream; in the other let's just say Dickinson does not simplify the pain ...more
Fifi Garcia
AK is a really good and interesting book to read. Ak is one of those books that you start reading and don't want to stop until you finish it. this book is also a very sad book because of what happens through out. Paul Kagomi which is the main character in this book, he is not big enough to be shooting a weapon but the rebels who caught him make him shoot it anyways. Paul didn't want to be captured by them but he wasn't lucky enough. The rebels capture people and kids to make them warriors. Ak is ...more
May 27, 2008 Sally rated it really liked it
I cannot belive this was meant for junior readers.
I really liked it but found the names and places hard to remember.
It gives the reader a good insight to children who are caught up in wars and fight.
I recomend it to older readers so that they will be able to understand all the long hard words to do with war are.
Sam B.
Nov 15, 2016 Sam B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, which was surprising because I really don't find books I really enjoy that often so when I found this book and liked it I was amazed at how much detail to every scene. It seamed like every scene had something going on, there was never a dull moment which is why I really liked this book. Also I preferred ending one out of the two possible endings.
Mitchell Palmateer
Feb 13, 2008 Mitchell Palmateer rated it did not like it
It's about what happens to a young african american boy that fights in the war. It talks about what he had to do to survive.
I hate reading so I did not like the book.
I did not like it because i dont like books.
Yes because really did not expect much.
when he was in the middle of a battle beacuse of the action.
It had a kid with an AK on the front.
Jan 20, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it
Read this book in my youth. I would need to re-read it to give it a better review but I remembered the authors name all these years (I don't remember FRIENDS names) and I remember the storyline and really loved this book.
Feb 13, 2012 Jake rated it really liked it
Read this book in 8th grade and loved it. After turning it in to the teacher, the book was lost. The teacher believed me when I told her I turned it in even though she had no reason to believe me.
Apr 22, 2016 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Remarkable! Please read Peter Dickinson. His writing can be challenging and sometimes odd, but it is always forthright and insightful. This is my new favourite Peter Dickenson novel.
Jun 26, 2009 elissa rated it liked it
I don't remember much about this at all, but I do remember reading it in the 90's, and that it was the only Dickinson that I read for a long, long time.
Anne Hamilton
Jul 15, 2014 Anne Hamilton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2012 Beryl rated it really liked it
A significant book detailling a disturbing era in African History
Gillian rated it liked it
Dec 01, 2009
Derrick Johnson
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Nov 10, 2009
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Peter Malcolm de Brissac Dickinson OBE FRSL (born 16 December 1927) was a prolific English author and poet, best known for children's books and detective stories.

Peter Dickinson lived in Hampshire with his second wife, author Robin McKinley. He wrote more than fifty novels for adults and young readers. He won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award twice, and his novel The Blue
More about Peter Dickinson...

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