A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{June 18, 2012}   Mesures de guerre by André Marois

Plot: 10-year-old Gabriel loves playing street hockey with his friends and making up war stories. But on October 16th 1970, his games become very real. His friends’ fathers and brothers are being arrested without charges and armed soldiers roam the streets. Then one day, he spots a woman tied to a bed through a window. He’s certain that she needs help but no one believes him and he isn’t sure that he can trust the police anymore. He may have to save her himself.

Mesures de guerre (War Measures) recounts the October Crisis from the point of view of a 10-year-old boy. For those of you unfamiliar with Quebec history, in October 1970, the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) kidnapped a British diplomat and the Minister of labour in the name of sovereignty. In response to the kidnappings, the Canadian Government declared martial law. It’s a heavy subject for 8 to 10 year olds but Marois does a good job of describing events in a way children can understand and relate to.

It is a well written and easy to read novel. It’s also a great jumping point for debates about civil order and civil liberties (which are quite relevant given current events in Montreal). It can be a bit repetitive where such political concepts are concerned but that suits the reading level. All and all it is a quick, interesting read.

This is actually one of two children’s novels written on the subject in as many years. I’ve also heard great things about 21 jours en octobre (21 Days in October) by Magali Favre, which targets a slightly older readership, and hope to read it in the near future.

I’ve reviewed a few of Marois’ mysteries for children and teens here.

2012 (#61)


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