Chalkline, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


The moving story of a Kashmiri boy soldier, from a prize-winning Irish author.It's an ordinary morning at nine-year-old Rafiq's school in rural Kashmir when the silence of dawn prayers is ripped apart by gunfire.

Soldiers of the Kashmir Freedom Fighters have raided the village in search of new recruits - they scrawl a line in chalk across the schoolroom wall, and any boy whose height reaches the line will be taken to fight.

Rafiq is tall for his age - the first boy to cross the chalkline into a life of brutality and terrorism.

This is the story of Rafiq's transformation from child to boy soldier, as he is indoctrinated into the cause of fanatical belief.

But his family have not forgotten him; when he can no longer recognize himself, they remember the boy he was, and reach out a hand of redemption as he spirals towards a final act of atrocity.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9781406315172



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PLUS - * A powerful story of a boy forcibly taken from his village to join a band of Kashmiri freedom fighter.* I loved the portrayal of village life and the details of Rafiq's family stuggling to carry on after his abduction. * The story has a lot to say about family, loyalty and survival at all costs. MINUS - * It's a serious read, so I think some of the children I work with might find it a little hard going, but that's not really a criticism.OVERALL - * Quite violent in parts, and sad in others, with information at the end of the book about Amnesty International, this is a moving and ultimately uplifting story in support of human rights.