Books by Beverley Naidoo

Released: July 16, 2019

"A rich addition to the global fairy-tale collection. (Fairy tale. 8-12)"
Cinderella is an actual slave in this illustrated Egyptian version of the story. Read full book review >
WHO IS KING? by Beverley Naidoo
Released: April 2, 2015

"A buoyant eye-opener for younger readers under the impression that African folk tales begin and end with Anansi. (introduction, source notes) (Folk tales. 7-9)"
Naidoo and Grobler follow up their Afrocentric collection of Aesop's Fables (2011) with a fresh set of tales drawn from Amharic, Luo, Zulu and other traditions.Read full book review >
AESOP'S FABLES by Beverley Naidoo
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"A delightful new rendition of some old favorites. (Fables. 5-11) "
Wearing a deliberate African patina, this refreshing collection of 16 Aesop fables takes place in the South African veld, giving these timeless moral tales a visual and verbal facelift. Read full book review >
BURN MY HEART by Beverley Naidoo
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

Set in Kenya between November 1951 and March 1953, when indigenous Kikuyus fiercely resisted the British settlers who had stolen their lands, this somber story sheds light on a dark period of rebellion and repression fueled by racial prejudice and fear. The third-person narration, peppered with Kikuyu and Swahili words and phrases, shifts its focus between 13-year-old Mugo, a Kikuyu, and 11-year-old Mathew Grayson, son of a white landholder; they have grown up together on land once owned by Mugo's ancestors. Unlike many of his white neighbors, who fear their workers will join the secret Mau Mau society and attack them, Mr. Grayson trusts Mugo's father, who manages his stables. At school, Mathew is troubled by an arrogant bully whose father is the new police inspector, intent on crushing the illegal Mau Maus—whom Mugo's brother has joined in infiltrating Grayson's farm. As the tension mounts, readers will rightly fear that no good end can result; like Mathew and Mugo, readers' hearts will be burned by this intense slice of historical realism. (author's note, afterword, glossary, Kikuyu and Swahili names) (Historical fiction. 10-15) Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

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)Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE OF TRUTH by Beverley Naidoo
Released: Sept. 18, 2001

Gripping suspense rules as Naidoo describes a young girl's world turned upside down by political events, first in Nigeria and then London. On the first page, Sade's mother is shot and killed by policemen, and she and her younger brother Femi are suddenly spirited out of their home country. Sade's father is an idealistic honest journalist, committed to telling the truth about the ruling "Buttons," as he terms the Generals. Things go from bad to worse as the roadblocks and officials in Nigeria turn out to be less dangerous than their accompanying protectoress. Abandoned penniless and poorly dressed for November in London, Sade and Femi find their uncle has disappeared and they are homeless. Hoping only that they can hang on until their father can leave Nigeria as well, the two find themselves thrown into the social-services mill and taken into a foster home, struggling to apply for political asylum without endangering anyone in Nigeria. The foster homes, school system, and another refugee from Somalia, Mariam, alternately provide comfort and challenge. Naidoo ably sticks to Sade's immediate need to be true to her own values and needs, focusing on her memories of home and cultural icons as she looks for help. The larger political message that children should feel safe and not have to fear for their lives in any country is effortlessly apparent, as is the fact that both Nigeria and Britain have a way to go in claiming safety and justice for all. Far from being a patronizing glimpse of life in the third world, this is a vivid portrayal of complex people caught in complex webs using their own culture for strength in a time of need. Real-world scary. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
NO TURNING BACK by Beverley Naidoo
Released: Jan. 30, 1997

The bland, uninvolving story of Sipho, 12, who flees his drunken stepfather's brutality to live on the streets of Johannesburg. Sipho finds a gang of street children but is with them barely a week before Danny Lewis, a white shopkeeper, offers him steady work, paid for with new clothes, regular meals, and a room of his own. What Lewis does not offer is respect; that and his sullen son's antagonism soon drive Sipho back to the streets for one night, after which he settles in with his friend, Jabu, in a children's shelter. Not only is Sipho always able to find help with relative ease, but he encounters more discomfort than danger on the street: A botched experiment with glue-sniffing leaves him feeling ill; a midnight roundup by disguised police ends with a cold but anticlimactic dunk in a lake; food, money, even soap and water are not difficult to come by; incidents of violence and predation are implied, anecdotal, or offstage. The plot doesn't develop but proceeds until it stops, trailing off after a vaguely described peace rally and a brief visit home. Naidoo, with the acknowledged help of a corps of contemporary observers, effectively captures the mixed feelings with which South Africans are viewing the changes rapidly taking place in their country, but the story lacks the fire that made Journey to Jo'burg (1985) so compelling. (glossary) (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >