A STONE IN MY HAND by Cathryn Clinton
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 11 & up
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“Someday I may fly away for good, but for now I watch and wait.” Malaak Abed Atieh, an 11-year-old Palestinian girl lives in Gaza, spending her free time on the roof with her birds. Her father has disappeared, her brother Hamid wants to be a fighter with the militant extremists, and older sister Hend thinks of marriage, but, as mother says, “How can we have wedding celebrations when there have been so many funerals?” Dreams of peace and threats of war are symbolized by the birds on Malaak’s roof and the stones in Hamid’s hand. As the tensions between Palestinians and Israelis escalate and Hamid edges closer to the violence of the intifada, Malaak knows she can no longer dream her days away on her rooftop sanctuary. Her mother tells her that her father, along with other Palestinians and Israelis, has died in a bus bombed by an Arab terrorist. Malaak must do what she can to steer Hamid away from a similar fate. Father believed in a Palestinian homeland but not in terrorism, yet he was killed by Islamic Jihad; Hamid’s friends have been killed by Israeli soldiers. And mother cries, “No son of mine will ever be a member of Islamic Jihad.” The complexities of the situation—of families wanting peace, of dreams of a place to call home, and the allure of militant groups to fighters such as Hamid—are woven into this powerful portrayal told in spare, poetic prose. Clinton takes her readers seriously and presents history and politics in an engaging, human story of one young girl and her family. There are no neat resolutions here, only a fully realized account, told with compassion and hope. The beautiful writing and timely subject warrant a wide audience for this must-read. (author’s note, glossary) (Fiction. 11+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7636-1388-6
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2002


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