Children of the Stone City

Children of the Stone City

By Author / Illustrator

Beverley Naidoo



Age range(s)



HarperCollins Publishers








A thrilling, resonant and inspiring novel about justice, privilege and the power of the young to strive for change.

Set in a world where Adam and Leila and their friend Zak live as Nons under the Permitted ruling class. Then, when Adam and Leila's father dies unexpectedly, their mother faces losing her permit to live in the Stone City with deportation to where she was born. Before music-loving Adam can implement his plan to save Mama, Zak is arrested for a bold prank that goes wrong, with far-reaching repercussions for them all . . .

The eagerly awaited new children's book comes from award-winning author Beverley Naidoo, winner of the Carnegie Medal for The Other Side of Truth. Beverley's first novel, Journey to Jo'burg, has never been out of print in the UK and US since its publication in 1985. It now appears in the HarperCollins Modern Classics list and is frequently read in schools worldwide.

Author Beverley Naidoo reads from Children of the City of Stone



Can you imagine a city where, if you’re a Non, your needs and your safety are less important than the whims of the Permitteds? Can you imagine a place where, if you're a Non, your house can be taken when a Permitted takes a fancy to it, or where a mother could be separated from her husband and children and deported from a city she's lived near since childhood? This is the world of the Stone City, where Adam and Leila are growing up, with an underlying fear that they could lose their house or their mother, or both. When their father dies, their situation becomes yet more precarious so music-loving Adam devises a plan to save his Mama. Then, before he can implement it, his childhood friend Zak is arrested for a prank and the outlook for them all becomes darker still.

Beverley Naidoo's latest novel, Children of the Stone City, introduces big themes of justice, power, prejudice and privilege that play out in the safety of an invented world (albeit one that seems sadly recognisable from international headlines). As in previous books, her prose is direct and clear, making Children of the Stone City accessible to younger and less confident readers. The issues it explores, though, are deep and urgent; they would still be relevant and appropriate for older children.

Using the medium of her story, seen from the perspective of Adam and Leila, Beverley Naidoo confronts the darkness of human hunger for power but she also conveys a moving message of hope. The younger generation with the imagination to visualise a different future have the power to strive for change. Naidoo says she is inviting her readers to 'cross boundaries and ask questions, even when there are no simple answers'.

Isn't that something all teachers would support? Here's a book that surely we will all want to have in our classrooms.

272 pages / Reviewed by Louisa Farrow, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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