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Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

4.0 2
by Beverley Naidoo

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We are the young people,
We will not be broken!
We demand freedom
And say
"Away with slavery
In our land of Africa!"

For almost fifty years apartheid forced the young people of South Africa to live apart as Blacks, Whites, Indians, and "Coloreds." This unique and dramatic collection of stories -- by native South African and Carnegie


We are the young people,
We will not be broken!
We demand freedom
And say
"Away with slavery
In our land of Africa!"

For almost fifty years apartheid forced the young people of South Africa to live apart as Blacks, Whites, Indians, and "Coloreds." This unique and dramatic collection of stories -- by native South African and Carnegie Medalist Beverley Naidoo -- is about young people's choices in a beautiful country made ugly by injustice.

Each story is set in a different decade during the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, and features fictional characters caught up in very real events. Included is a Timeline Across Apartheid, which recounts some of the restrictive laws passed during this era, the events leading up to South Africa's first free democratic elections, and the establishment of a new "rainbow government" that leads the country today.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spanning 52 years of South African unrest, Naidoo's (Journey to Jo'burg; The Other Side of Truth) insightful and suspenseful stories offer multiple perspectives of apartheid. Each of the seven young protagonists featured here come to understand the meaning of oppression as they witness or experience the effects of gross injustice. Veronica, a white girl, escapes punishment for stealing a neighbor's flower, then watches how a Native child is severely beaten for a similar crime, in the first story, set in 1948. In "The Noose," a 10-year-old boy in 1955 watches how segregation grips his family "fully by the throat" when his father, a man of mixed race, is mistakenly classified as "black," and the potential this has for impacting all areas of his life: his work, his neighborhood and the family. Although all selections focus on struggle, not all end in defeat. The winds of change become increasingly strong as the stories progress. One of the most poignant, uplifting moments comes in the final story (the titular tale, set in the year 2000) when, during the aftermath of a flood, two boys of different races risk crossing their social boundaries to aid a woman giving birth. In less than 200 pages, Naidoo manages to chronicle pivotal events in an ongoing battle for freedom in South Africa and to encapsulate the enduring hope and unfailing spirit of its people. Ages 10-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
In this blend of history and fiction, native South African Naidoo explores apartheid through the eyes of South African youth. Organized chronologically, the collection transports readers through apartheid history by decades, forcing them to view conflicts from the perspectives of characters from divergent races and times. As Rosa, Hennie, and Marie breach boundaries to integrate an all-white school in The Playground, readers sense the power that young people possess to induce change. Rohan and Solani forge a friendship that bridges the gap between Indians and African squatters in the work's title piece, encouraging readers' confidence that South Africa will flourish as the country's youth continue to step boldly out of bounds. The seven stories in this collection will appeal particularly to middle-level readers with interests in apartheid and race relations. Naidoo's characters gain depth as the time line progresses, and its final narratives fulfill the work's promise of inspiring hope amid conflict. Providing realistic and multicultural perspectives, Naidoo's stories also satisfy the purpose of inducing a recommitment to South Africa's neoteric democracy and its new culture of respect for fundamental human rights. Naidoo's unadorned style makes the work an easy read that might also, with pushing, appeal to reluctant readers and a broader audience of short story aficionados. In addition, the work's introduction and annotated time line, which provide details on South African colonization and apartheid's major laws and sociopolitical events, make the title a perfect supplement to social studies units addressing apartheid and human rights. Naidoo's Carnegie Medal-winner Journey to J'Bourg(Lippincott, 1986/VOYA August/October 1986) dealt with similar themes. PLB
— Sherry Korthals
Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
Native South African and Carnegie Medalist, Beverley Naidoo presents readers with a collection of short stories. Spanning several decades, the stories cover the long and difficult history of apartheid in South Africa and its effect on its people. It is often easy to forget how much work it takes to craft a good short story. I cannot imagine what great talent and detailed crafting went into creating these eloquent glimpses into time, history, and the human experience. I thank the author for offering the reader the opportunity to share in her stories and in the power of the human spirit. Each piece is like a jewel that encapsulates agony and joy. These stories belong to the history of a country and a people, yet they belong to everyone because we see ourselves in them. I highly recommend this collection for anyone of any age. This is a must read. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-Spanning the last seven decades, these gripping stories paint an unforgettable picture of the devastating effects of apartheid on the people of South Africa. Told from the varying perspectives of youngsters from different ethnic groups, the tales mix historical events with extraordinary moments of courage, self-discovery, and optimism. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Setting each of these seven stories in a different decade of the Apartheid or post-Apartheid eras, Naidoo (The Other Side of Truth, 2001, etc.) offers glimpses of Apartheid’s effects on body and spirit, as well as the underlying integrity—in both the oppressed majority and the oppressing minority—that has allowed South Africa to make its transition without the widely expected bloodbath. Her main characters are all children, white, Colored, Indian, or African. Between "The Dare: 1948," in which Veronica loses her respect, and therefore fear, of a brutish Boer neighbor when she sees him caning a child, and "Out of Bounds: 2000," about a refugee from floods in Mozambique and a white child from a walled community working on a task together, instances of subtle and overt racism test and change a cast constructed to represent South Africa’s future—a bright future, in this passionate, perceptive author’s view. (Short stories. 10-13)

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HarperCollins Publishers
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8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Out of Bounds
Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

Chapter One

The Dare


Marika thrust the glass jar up to Veronica's face.

"See this one, Nicky!" she declared. "Caught it last week!" Veronica stared at the coiled brown shape slithering inside the greenish liquid. She felt sick.

"You should have seen how blinking quick I was, man! This sort are poisonous!"

Marika's eyes pinned her down, watching for a reaction. She didn't know which were worse, Marika's or those of the dead creature in the jar.

"Where did you find it?"

Her voice did not betray her, and Marika began her dramatic tale about tracking the snake in the bougainvillea next to the hen run.

It was a valuable addition to her collection. Rows of bottles, all with the same green liquid, lined the shelf above her bed. Spiders and insects of various shapes and sizes floated safely, serenely, inside. Marika carefully replaced the snake next to another prize item—a one-legged chameleon, its colors dulled and fixed. Veronica remembered it alive. It had been the farm children's pet briefly until they had tired of capturing flies for it. She had even helped one whole Saturday prowling around the cowshed, sneaking up and snapping the overfed blue buzzers in cigarette tins. The next morning Marika and her brothers had decided to let the creature go free and get its own dinner. But when they had come to release the catch of the splintering old wood-and-wire hutch, the chameleon lay stiff and still. The three boys had wanted, to make a special grave down in the donga—but in the end Marika had persuaded them to let her preserve it.

The farm, a small holding owned by Marika's parents, lay against a mountain in the middle of the Magaliesberg. As well as growing fruit and vegetables and keeping a few animals, the van Reenens rented out a small cottage on the farm, mostly to city visitors. It was near enough to Johannesburg for Mr. and Mrs. Martin with their only child, Veronica, to get away from the ever-increasing hustle for short breaks. They were regulars, coming two or three times a year. In fact, Mr. Martin had been visiting since he was a child, when Marika's mother herself had been a small girl on the same farm. Veronica's own memories of the place stretched back for as long as she could remember. For years she and Marika had played "house" in the donga behind the farmhouse. They had used larger stones for the walls, shifting around smaller stones as the furniture. In the past Veronica used to bring all her dolls, despite her mother's protests. Sensing Marika's envy, she had enjoyed saying which dolls could be played with. But since Marika's tenth birthday things were different.

Veronica had been taken by surprise. She had been sitting with the farm children on the wall of the stoep, dangling her legs and kicking the brickwork with her heels like the others. Marika had been telling her about her birthday treat when Veronica had suggested that they go to the donga.

"Hey, the girls are going to play dollies!" Marika's twin brother, Piet, had sneered. Slipping off the wall, six-year-old Dirk had rolled on the ground, kicking his legs in the air and cooing.

"Gaga gaga! Mommy! Mommy! Change my nappy!"

Veronica had glared at him, and he had pulled a face at her. She had fought to hold back her tears. Only Anton, the oldest, had not joined in but called the others to leave the girls alone to their sissy games. Marika had reacted furiously.

"I'm not a sissy!" she had screamed after them. Leaving Veronica alone on the stoep, she had gone inside the house, slamming the door behind her.

When Veronica returned to the farm a few months later, Marika had begun her bottle collection. Veronica had also left her dolls at home, except for the eyelid-clicking, brown-eyed Margaret. But this time the porcelain head with brown painted curls remained tucked under the bedclothes and was spoken to only at night. She became Veronica's personal counselor on the farm—a pale replica of Veronica's personal counselor in town.

Back home in Johannesburg it was Rebecca, their maid, to whom Veronica confided. She was a far better listener than Margaret because she made sympathetic noises. With Veronica's mother often helping out at her father's office, or busy with Mothers' Union meetings, they spent a lot of time together. Whether she was cooking, washing, ironing, or dusting, Rebecca was always prepared to chat. But she never came to the farm with them. Instead she went to visit her own children, living with their grandmother, a five-hour bus ride away.

Sharing secrets with Rebecca was fun, especially when Rebecca had let her visit her dim, tiny room in the servants' quarters at the top of their block of flats. It had started with her desperate desire to see the bedspread that Rebecca had been patiently embroidering for months on "baby-sitting" nights when Veronica's parents went out. Although Veronica didn't think she needed to be "baby-sat," she liked Rebecca's company. Together they would sit and talk at the table in the Martins's kitchen until it was her bedtime. She had watched the bedspread growing and, when it was finally completed, had begged and nagged to see how it looked on the bed. But before she could be taken, Rebecca had made her promise, "Remember, you are not to tell your ma or pa!"

Because it had been a secret, everything had stayed fixed in her mind like a picture. The splendid bedcover draped over an old iron bed raised up high on bricks. A curtain across one corner of the room, Rebecca's cupboard. An orange-crate table next to the bed, on which stood a photo . . .

Out of Bounds
Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope
. Copyright © by Beverley Naidoo. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Beverley Naidoo grew up in South Africa under apartheid. She says: "As a white child I didn't question the terrible injustices until I was a student. I decided then that unless I joined the resistance, I was part of the problem." Beverley Naidoo was detained without trial when she was twenty-one and later went into exile in Britain, where she has since lived.

Her first children's book, Journey to Jo'burg, was banned in South Africa until 1991, but it was an eye-opener for thousands of readers worldwide. Her characters in Chain of Fire, No Turning Back, and Out of Bounds face extraordinary challenges in a society she describes as "more dangerous than any fantasy." She has won many awards for her writing, including the Carnegie Medal, the Jane Addams Book Award, and the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults for The Other Side of Truth, about two refugee children smuggled to London who are also featured in Web of Lies.

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Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SJKessel More than 1 year ago
Naidoo, B. (2001). Out of Bounds: Seven stories of conflict and hope. London: Puffin Books. 9780060508012 Organized chronologically, these seven short stories explore different events and conditions of Apartheid through South African children's perspectives. With varying degrees of hope, the protagonists face difficult choices and risk when deciding on what they believe about Apartheid depending on their various class and racial backgrounds. By remaining focused on issues among family members, friends and school all of the stories remain child-centric. Despite this, students may have some difficulty understanding the historical contexts of the stories (despite the presence of a timeline at the end) without the assistance of a teacher. While Naidoo provides a complicated and emotionally striking view of apartheid, one perspective is missing-that of someone who supported the laws. While a few secondary characters in several of the stories are supporters, most of them are placed in the roles of villains. I think showing the justifications that those in power tend to make to maintain their power would have been a complicating view to trigger discussion and a challenge to Naidoo as a writer. Activities to do with the book: After going through the stories him or herself, a teacher could decide to read one or two aloud to children. (My personal recommendation is to start with "The Playground" since it is closest to the experience of school desegregation in the United States and could provoke more immediate conversation) This book would be good to use alongside lessons on the history and evolution of Apartheid. Students could also create drawings in response to some of the images and scenes described in the book, or could examine American art for comparable images. (A good starting point would be Norman Rockwell's "A Problem We All Live With") Favorite Quotes: "The oppressors opened their prison doors and sat down with those they had oppressed.people they had locked behind bars for years or driven out of the country. They exchanged words instead of bullets" (xiii, introduction). "The year I turned ten, apartheid gripped me fully by the throat for the first time. Of course its fingers had been there all along, but I had been too busy to take much notice" (p. 18). "When I was six, policemen snatched Daddy away in the middle of the night. They came to our house with banging, thumping, and shouting. Their flashlights swooped over the garden through the dark" (p. 50). For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.
Maahi More than 1 year ago
Everyone should read it.