Growing up on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko is beset by worries: He's never kissed a girl, the popular guys get all the attention at school--but the worst part is the serious problems at home. His older brother is missing in Vietnam, his grandfather is losing it to dementia, and he just learned that his mother was raped by a Japanese soldier during World War II. It all comes together when he discovers an old man, a Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle behind his house. It's not the same man who raped his mother, but, in his rage, Kiko cares only about protecting his family and avenging his mom--no matter what it takes. And so, a shy, peaceable boy begins to plan a murder. But how far will Kiko go to prove to himself that he's a man? Based on a true incident in history, No Surrender Soldier is the story of a boy grappling with ancient questions of courage and manhood before he can move on.
No Surrender Soldier
A Poignant Story
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
No Surrender Soldier by Christine Kohler tells the true story of Seto Yokoi , a Japanese soldier who was stationed on Guam during World War II. When Americans liberated Guam in 1944, Seto never surrendered, instead spending the next 28 years hiding in the jungle. To help tell this fascinating story, the author takes us to 1970s Guam and introduces us to Kiko, a fictional teenager, who finds Seto living in what is practically his backyard. I love the way No Surrender Solider gives us details about Kiko’s way of life. He learns to slaughter a pig, for example, and discovers a landmine leftover from WW II buried in his yard. But just like a modern teenager, he still has to summon courage to talk to his crush, and he still gets frustrated with the adults in his life .Also, by immersing us in the Japanese solider’s head, we realize that we’re all basically the same—that no matter our backgrounds or cultures, we share the same hopes and fears. Throughout the story, Kiko and Seto Yokoi deal with their prejudices and anger in different ways, but ultimately No Surrender Soldier is a story of growth and forgiveness.