Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

by Beverley Naidoo


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060508012
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/17/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 565,400
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About 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.

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.

Table of Contents

The Dare - 19481
The Noose - 195518
One Day, Lily, One Day - 196050
The Typewriter - 197672
The Gun - 198596
The Playground - 1995120
Out of Bounds - 2000145
Timeline Across Apartheid170

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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.