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Fiction General

Long Legs Boy

by (author) Benjamin Madison

Oolichan Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2012
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2012
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Grade: 10


Long Legs Boy is the story of an unlikely hero, Modou, a twelve-year-old African boy who is orphaned when his family dies from AIDS. He leaves his remote village in the Sahel, seeks help from an African holy man and becomes a beggar in the city. The street smarts he gains enable him to survive when he is separated from his mentor. Modou befriends a younger orphaned boy, Umaru, and together they cope with the trials of street life: abuse, hunger, police brutality and well-intentioned but inept interventions by social agencies. Modou regularly evades the police and unwittingly becomes a popular folk hero for his cocky attitude and daring escapes. His indomitable spirit ignites political opposition in the country and drives both the police and the army to capture or kill him. In Madison? portrayal of Modou, we discover humour in the midst of despair, compassion in the midst of squalor, and courage in a cruel and uncaring world. Long Legs Boy is an enduring testament to the core values that inspire the human heart.

About the author

Trained as an anthropologist, Benjamin Madison lived and worked in the West African countries of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia for seventeen years, generally working in Education and Development. He lived for several years as a volunteer teacher in villages such as those depicted in The Moon’s Fireflies. “These are stories from my earliest years in Africa. I consider myself privileged to have shared the lives of villagers such as those portrayed in The Moon’s Fireflies. Their wisdom and their warmth continue to inspire me.” Benjamin Madison now resides in Victoria and is working on a novel set in West Africa

Benjamin Madison's profile page

Librarian Reviews

Long Legs Boy

This novel empathetically presents the reality for thousands of street children. Characters, settings, names and places are entirely fictional but authentically true-to-life. Twelve-year-old Modou lives in the sub-Saharan African country of Danzania. He has become orphaned due to the deaths of his family from AIDS. After burying his mother, he accedes to her final wish and sets off to live with and learn from Alhaji Safo, a Moslem teacher who, with his wife, board and nurture boys from ages 8 to 16 years. Daily tasks and life-style are portrayed as well as the difficulties encountered and the emotions experienced. This includes begging when food is scarce, evading capture by police in regular round-ups and being the focus of supposed U.N. help, which only exacerbates the situation. All chapters, but one, end with newspaper reports, editorials or personal letters pertinent to the topic.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2013-2014.

Other titles by Benjamin Madison