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Deng Adut’s family were farmers in South Sudan when a brutal civil war altered his life forever. At six years old, his mother was told she had to give him up to fight. At the age most Australian children are starting school , Deng was conscripted into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. He began a harsh, relentless military training that saw this young boy trained to use an AK-47 and sent into battle. He lost the right to be a child. He lost the right to learn.

The things Deng saw over those years will stay with him forever. He suffered from cholera, malaria and numerous other debilitating illnesses but still he had to fight. A child soldier is expected to kill or be killed and Deng almost died a number of times. He survived being shot in the back. The desperation and loneliness was overwhelming. He thought he was all alone.

But Deng was rescued from war by his brother John. Hidden in the back of a truck, he was smuggled out of Sudan and into Kenya. Here he lived in refugee camps until he was befriended by an Australian couple. With their help and the support of the UN, Deng Adut came to Australia as a refugee.

Despite physical injuries and mental trauma he grabbed the chance to make a new life. He worked in a local service station and learnt English watching The Wiggles. He taught himself to read and started studying at TAFE.  In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Law at Western Sydney University. He became the first person in his family to graduate from university.

Comments on: "Songs of a war boy – Deng Thiak Adut" (1)

  1. I really enjoyed this book because it took you into the life of being involved in the Sudan Civil war. I believe that this book has the ability to open up the eyes of readers who might not know a lot about war and conflict. My favourite part of this book is when he overcomes the adversity he is faced with and changes his life to become living evidence of how strong some people can be. It shows us all that it isn’t that hard to be grateful, even in difficult times. The part of this novel that I found most interesting was when he arrived in Australia as a refugee and he had no idea of what anything was. This shows the difference in culture from Australia to Sudan and how different life is when you are brought up in different ways. If I could change this book in any way, I would include more about the war and him fighting and the experiences he had. I also would want to know more about what his life is like now and how much he has grown and changed from being a soldier fighting in the war. I would recommend this book for ages 13+ because there are some graphic parts in it but it really does give you a sense of what life is like in a war-torn country.


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