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by Robert Hillman



The soldiers came at dawn.
Banni, sitting up in her bed, asked Malini what was happening.
‘We don’t know yet. Stay calm.’
The voices at the door carried clearly back to them.
‘All of you outside-now!’
‘Why? Because if you ask one more question I will kill you. Get moving!’

In the closing stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war, Malini and her family are herded by soldiers to the coast-where they will act as human shields. Malini’s father tells her to hide in the forest with her younger sister, Banni. But once the shelling begins, Malini realises they’re not safe there, and they must travel inland to their grandfather’s village. But how will they survive? Who can she trust? And will she ever see her parents again?


7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Family, Sri Lankan Civil War, Teen