Deogratis: a tale of Rwanda – review

July 6, 2008

Deogratis: a tale of Rwanda by Jean-Phillipe Stassen (First second, ISBN 9 781596 431034)

Who is it for? Senior students and adults

What is it about? This moving graphic novel tells the story of the Rwandan massacre through the eyes of a teenage boy, Deogratis. Told in flashback, the reader gains a devastating insight to this appalling time in African and world history. A preface provides useful background for the reader and certainly positions the western reader to see the Rwandan genocide as much the fault of inaction by Western governments and the United Nations as internal, racial and ethnic conflict.

How can it be used? The subject matter and some of the language means that it should be restricted to the Senior school. Evocative and sophisticated graphics do most of the storytelling work in this text creating the opportunity to undertake quite complex work on the interaction of visual and written language resources. In addition, it would be highly effective used in conjunction with texts dealing with inhumanity, violence and racism, e.g. Lord of the Flies, 1984 and To Kill a Mockingbird.

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