A Long Way Gone — by Ismael Beah

Ishmael Beah Was Never Very Far Away
Dave Weich

Ishmael Beah became a soldier at age thirteen, one year after rebels attacked his village, flushing him into the forest to live on the run with a pack of other boys his age.

Dave: You write at length about Bra spider and Leleh Gombah and the ways that storytelling was a central part of your childhood. Beah: There was a strong oral tradition. Storytelling was not just entertainment. It was also a way to impart certain knowledge to the young, to impart the history of communities and cultures. And moral behavior, how to behave — all the stories had a moral underpinning or a message. This was how it was done. They told you a story and you walked around remembering.

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