Ishmael Beah's Childhood

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1. How did Ishmael Beah’s grandmother explain the local adage that “we must strive to be like the moon” (p. 16)? Why has Ishmael remembered this saying ever since childhood? What does it mean to him?
• She explained it as we need to be good and always on our best behavior. This is one of the few things Ishmael has been able to remember since his childhood was destroyed. To him, it means there is still a piece of his childhood that has not been shattered by the war.
2. As Chapter 2 begins, we flash forward to Ishmael’s new life in New York City. He relates a dream of pushing a wheelbarrow. What is in the wheelbarrow, and where is he pushing it? What does Ishmael mean when he says, “I am looking at my own” (p. 19)?
• There is a dead body with
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After Kamator has been attacked, and the two boys have been cut off from the others in fleeing, Ishmael and Kaloko sneak out of the bush and back into Kamator, bringing along brooms every time. Why do they bring brooms? And why, later, does Ishmael set out on his own?
• They bring brooms to cover their tracks so the rebels can’t follow them. Ishmael want to go to someplace safer but his friend was too scared.
8. What does Ishmael tells us was the “most difficult part of being in the forest” (p. 52)? Who are the six boys Ishmael encounters after wandering and surviving in the forest on his own for more than a month? From where does he know some of these boys?
• Ishamel became very lonely until he came across some boys he attended school with. They were boys wondering around headed to Yele.
9. Who is the anonymous man with the fishing hut near the ocean, and how does he help to soothe and heal the severely scalded feet of Ishmael and the others? Later, how are the lives of all seven boys saved by rap music—specifically the music of LL Cool J?
• He steamed up grasses and let the heat lessen the pain of their feet. He fed them and gave them a place to stay and heal he also led them to the ocean where they could help heal their wounds. They are caught by the villagers and are to be killed but the chief makes them dance; the chief realized they were just

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