The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland

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The Bite of the Mango

Stars: ****1/2

Teen Nonfiction

Ages 14+
240 pages
ISBN 13: 9781554511594
Softcover $12.95

Summary: As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soldiers, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands.

The Bite of the Mango is another case of the book I should have picked up earlier than I did. When I first received the book I didn’t realize it was a true story. This is a very sad story. I will tell you that the ending is pretty happy. I mean it’s not like all her wildest dreams came true or something and I don’t want to specify exactly what happened (so as to spoil it) but a lot of sad and disturbing things happen in this book.

The only thing that bothered me at all with the book was the cover. As is mentioned in the summary, Mariatu’s hands were severed. Yet it is hands holding a mango on the cover. I thought this a little odd, maybe it’s just me. I did like that the title of the book is mentioned in the book and it makes sense. There is nothing worse than a book with a bad title, one that doesn’t make sense.

The book doesn’t only address the war that went on in Sierra Leone and the casualties of that war. It also addresses what little has happened to help those still in the country. Mariatu wrote this book to get the word out about what was happening and to clear up some misconceptions that were in some articles about her.

“I mulled over the teacher’s comment as we drove home that evening. She
wasn’t the first one to suggest a book about my life. I couldn’t imagine many
people would want to read such a book, even if I could figure out how to write
it. At least, though, I fell asleep thinking, a book could dispel the myths that
had built up around me.” – pg 196

Here is a book trailer which shows real photos from Sierra Leone and shows the author as well.
For More Information about the book, check out Annick Press.
For More Information about the plight of Sierra Leone and how Mariatu is trying to help, check out The Mariatu Foundation.
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.