Children of the Stone City by

Recommended by: Stephen Dilley/@stephenjdilley

Form and Genre: Novel

Length: 255 pages

Summary: A novel about three children living as Nons in a city ruled by the Permitted. After Adam and Leila’s father dies, their family face eviction from the Stone City, and then Adam and his friend Zak are arrested following a prank that goes wrong. Adam hopes that his love of music will help him to save his family. This initially appears to be a dystopian novel but it soon becomes apparent that it is based on real life.

Age recommendation and challenging content: Suitable for Year 7 upwards – there are some scenes that might be upsetting for some older primary readers.

Notable reasons for recommending this book: This is a poignant and harrowing novel about injustices faced by children (both specific to Israel/Palestine and universal), and the power of music, storytelling and family to overcome these. The writing is simple but powerful, and at its most expressive when describing music, particularly Adam’s violin which has been handed down from his grandfather. The scenes in which Adam and Zak are arrested and interrogated are rightly shocking; the ending is ambiguous but offers some hope.

Further information for teachers: Beverely Naidoo offers a really thoughtful author’s note drawing on her own experiences growing up as a white South African during Apartheid and drawing parallels with other instances of segregation.

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