THAT MAD GAME Growing Up in a Warzone

Edited by J.L. Powers

Seventeen writers contribute essays about how they became adults in times of war. Essays focus on modern history but take no sides. Vietnam from both sides. Bosnia. The Gulf War. Rwanda. Juárez. El Salvador. The list goes on and on. There are no winners, just the survivors left behind. Picking up the pieces.

The Box

When I came from work, my mother said, "René, there is a box for you."

It is always amazing to receive a box. I wondered "What could be the surprise inside the box?"

What a great gift, it is THAT MAD GAME Growing Up in a Warzone. My books are finally here!

This book is an anthology of essays from around the globe. My essay is about my childhood during the civil war in El Salvador. It is wonderful to hold a book for the first time.

I looked at the spine, title, cover. That red fly trying to fly freely in the sky! Now the book is not the image on my computer screen. It is the real book.

It is time to read my essay LEFT BEHIND IN EL SALVADOR

But there are more essays in this incredible book. The editor is J.L Powers and it was published by Cinco Puntos Press.

These are the titles and authors of the essays.

A Talib in Love by Qais Akbar Omar / AFGHANISTAN

No Longer Young by Phillip Cole Manor / VIETNAM

Holland 1944-45 by Elisabeth Breslav / THE NETHERLANDS

Across the River by Nikolina Kulidžan / BOSNIA

Hand-Me-Down War Stories by Jerry Mathes / U.S.

Left Behind in El Salvador by René Colato Laínez / EL SALVADOR

Ways of the Khmer Rouge by Peauladd Huy / CAMBODIA

My War and His War by Alia Yunis / LEBANON, PALESTINE, U.S.

Our America by Marnie Mueller / JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMPS, U.S.

Exiled to Gansu Province by Xiaomei Lucas as told to Becky Powers / CHINA

Brass Shells by Aria Minu-Sepehr / IRAN

Half a Continent, Step by Step by Andie Miller / RWANDA, DRC, SOUTH AFRICA

Statistical Life by David Yost / BURMA, THAILAND

The Light of Gandhi's Lamp by Hilary Kromberg Inglis / SOUTH AFRICA

From Fear to Hope: Raising Our Children in the World's Most Violent City by Fito Avitia / JUAREZ, MEXICO

A Separate Escape: The Chin of Burma & the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program by Rebecca Henderson / BURMA, MALAYSIA, U.S.

Symphony No.1 (In Memoriam, Dresden, 1945) by David Griffith / U.S., IRAQ, GERMANY


Kirkus Reviews
“Uplifting tales of survival… War’s most vulnerable victims have their say.”
School Library Journal
[R]readers will be rewarded by [this] compelling and often uplifting anthology … That Mad Game surprises with its variety. From Taliban-controlled Kabul to a Japanese internment camp in northern California, from a teen girl’s “soundtrack of war” in Beirut to a young man’s long walk across much of Africa, the startling stories make for rough going at times. But the humor, beauty, and humanity shining through the darkness are what make this collection a must-have for all libraries serving high school students.
Charles London, author of One Day The Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War
"There is heartache in the stories J.L. Powers has assembled here, as well as loss and pain and death. They are about war, after all. But there is humor too, and also love and faith and hope, because they are human stories too, and as each one testifies in its own way, humans are able to heal."
Trent Reedy, author of Words in the Dust and Stealing Air
"I was sent to the war in Afghanistan with a lot of slogans in my head about freedom and fighting terrorism. What I found instead was a tremendous respect for the good Afghan people, a deep sympathy for the Afghan children struggling for better lives, and a profound hatred of the Taliban for the way they brutalized their own people. That Mad Game is a reminder that such hatred is the same mistake from which all the world’s wars are born. The fact that That Mad Game can steer my hard heart toward sympathy for a young Talib is a sure sign of this book’s tremendous potential to foster a spirit of peace and understanding in readers everywhere."

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