Stones for My Father

Stones for My Father

by Trilby Kent
     
 

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Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in

Overview

Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers.

But Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.

Will Corlie’s resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had….




From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—This meticulously researched novel about a white Afrikaner girl caught up in the Boer War at the turn of the 19th century brings to light a hitherto overlooked aspect of South African history. Corlie Roux is living with her harsh mother and younger brothers on an isolated farm in what was the South African Republic (now Mpumalanga). As the war reaches their farm, they flee, but are captured and interned in a concentration camp. The privations, hunger, and disease leading to the death of many children, including Corlie's brother, are described in some detail. Kent tackles the challenge of depicting the complex relationships between Afrikaner colonists and English imperialists, and also the relationships of both these groups to the indigenous Africans. The narrative is occasionally overwhelmed by background detail and multilingual information (English, Afrikaans, and Zulu). Although the author does an admirable job of explaining the meanings of words in context, a glossary and pronunciation guide would have been helpful. Kent uses the racist terms that Afrikaners would have used to describe indigenous Africans and Indians, while softening them with descriptions that are more respectful. There is no explanation of their deeply insulting nature. Corlie's relationship with a Zulu boy and her concern for him and his family portrays an independent-minded and unusual girl, and the powerful scene in which he is taken away and she tries unsuccessfully to get her mother to save him captures the reality and tragedy of South African racism. Corlie's own life takes an unexpected turn when she learns about her origins and has to fend for herself in the direst of circumstances. Corlie will comfortably find a place alongside the heroines in Patricia Reilly Giff's historical novels.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2012 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award

 “A riveting book about the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the last century and Canada’s place in it… Kent draws her characters and the landscape around them in penetrating prose… Today’s children will develop heartfelt admiration and respect for Corlie Rioux. Though this young heroine struggles with the loss of parental love, a special friendship, and her home, she holds steadfast, brave, and true and emerges a survivor… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”
– Jury Citation,  TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

 “…Trilby Kent reveals the way South African Boers were targets for large-scale extermination during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), and how Africans were maligned and oppressed by the Boers. Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Corlie Roux, the narrator, we trace the suffering of Boer farmers….”
—2012 Children’s Africana Book Awards Committee

“The more prominent review media seem to have completely missed this gem from a Canadian-Brit. In quickly evocative prose, Kent creates an immediate and scintillating [story]. Kent has a keen craft and understands her audience, and the U.S. children’s literature world would do well to start paying her more attention.”
—BayViews

“… This book is particularly unique … its human rather than historical elements are what make this thread of the story the most compelling element in Stones for my Father. As is so often the case with historical fiction, the relationships, rather than the history, are what bring the tale to life; Kent performs this trick with impressive dexterity.”
—Recommended, CM Magazine
 
“… The descriptions of time and place in the novel are mostly strong and the language vivid … [an] entertaining story. Corlie is an excellent role model, and many young readers will be able to relate to her trials.”
—Quill & Quire

“In her powerful and compelling novel set during the Boer War, Kent explores friendship, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit… Corlie Roux is a fascinating, complex heroine, and Kent’s willingness to present her and her situation unblinkingly is a gift to us all… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”
—TD Canada Trust Canadian Children’s Literary Award Jury Comments

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770492608
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
03/22/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

TRILBY KENT was born in Toronto, Ontario, but grew up in cities on both sides of the Atlantic. After completing degrees at Oxford University and The London School of Economics, she worked in the rare books department at a prominent auction house before turning to journalism. She now lives in London, England. Stones for My Father is Trilby Kent’s second young adult novel.


From the Hardcover edition.

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