Character List and Analysis
One of Ishmael's best friends in the army. He is also rescued by UNICEF and placed in the same rehabilitation center.
A banana farmer from Ishmael's village. Ishmael and his friends meet him again outside the village where the boys believe their families are hiding. He is responsible for the delay that causes the boys to reach the village just as the RUF attack. Ishmael blames him for his family's death and attacks him, but the other boys hold Ishmael back and claim that Gasemu actually saved their lives.
Ishmael's case worker at the rehabilitation center. He is responsible for helping Ishmael make decisions about his future once his therapy is over. Leslie finds Uncle Tommy, which opens the doors to Ishmael's new life and new home.
A child soldier in the same rehabilitation center as Ishmael. He is key to the violent attack on the center's staff. He and Ishmael later sell their school supplies to pay for their adventures in the city.
One of Ishmael's friends from his village. He and Ishmael meet in the forest and struggle to survive together.
Another of Ishmael's friends from his village with whom Ishmael struggles to survive.
Ishmael's older brother by one year. While running from the RUF, Junior and Ishmael are separated. Months later, Ishmael learns that his brother escaped the attack and may be alive. When Ishmael finds the village where he believes his family is hiding, the RUF attack again. Junior's body is never found but he is presumed dead.
Ishmael's best friend. Though Mohamed remained in their village on the first trip, his fate was similar and the boys are reunited at the rehabilitation center. Mohamed is an important part of Ishmael's emotional journey back from the war. He and Ishmael attend school together in Freetown, and Ishmael calls him his brother.
A mutual friend of Junior and Ishmael. He is part of the rap and dance group that Ishmael and his friends created when they were eight years old. He is part of the group that helps Ishmael survive in the forest.
Gibrilla, Kaloka, and Khalilou
Mutual friends of Junior and Ishmael. They live in Mattru Jong and are part of the group of rappers that invites the boys to perform.