The Beginning of The Ender
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
In the future, mankind faces threat of attack from a bug-like alien race. To prepare for war, the government has started recruiting children to train to become war tacticians. At age six, children take an aptitude test in which passing means a ten-year training program on a space station.
In a society that only strongly disapproves of parents having more than two children, Ender Wiggin is born as a Third child, which causes him and his family a good deal of discomfort. It just so happens that Ender, even from the age of six, is an extremely bad-ass strategist.
The illustration above portrays a very young Ender. Every aspect of his education has been a trial since the government is always closely monitoring his abilities. His final "test" to be accepted into the academy was to be confronted by several older children who taunt Ender for being a Third and for "failing" his aptitude test. An educated shrouded in violence and war.
To assure that these children are removed as threats, six-year old Ender effectively neutralizes the leader of this pack to ensure that he would not be confronted again. This act gains him a pass into the next stage of his training.
The book is sometimes surprisingly violent, which is heightened by the fact that most of the characters are children. The book shows us a society that forces war upon children and really takes away their childhood and replaces it with tactics and service to "a greater cause."
Ender is constantly tested, harassed, and isolated from his peers, in hopes of "making him the perfect weapon" against the alien threat. Personal conflict, moral issues, war on all fronts.
It's a great book. I love it.