The Bite of the Mango

The Bite of the Mango Cover

The Bite of the Mango

By Mariatu Kamara; Susan McClelland

Annick Press, Hardcover, 9781554511594, 216pp.

Publication Date: September 30, 2008

Description
As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soldiers, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this brutal act of senseless violence they cut off both her hands. Stumbling through the countryside, Mariatu miraculously survived. The sweet taste of a mango, her first food after the attack, reaffirmed her desire to live, but the challenge of clutching the fruit in her bloodied arms reinforced the grim new reality that stood before her. With no parents or living adult to support her and living in a refugee camp, she turned to begging in the streets of Freetown. As told to her by Mariatu, journalist Susan McClelland has written the heartbreaking true story of the brutal attack, its aftermath and Mariatu's eventual arrival in Toronto where she began to pull together the pieces of her broken life with courage, astonishing resilience and hope.


About the Author
Mariatu Kamara was born and raised in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. Her harrowing experiences as a child victim of war and its aftermath are the subject of her memoir, The Bite of the Mango (2008). Today, Mariatu is a college student in Toronto. She was named a UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, which involves speaking to groups across North America about her experiences.

McClelland spent her life teaching English in Kansas City, Missouri. She taught at Sunset Hill, and later retired as head of the English Department at Barstow School after a 30-year career to spend her time writing poetry, lecturing, and teaching adult classes.