cover image OUT OF BOUNDS: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

OUT OF BOUNDS: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

Beverley Naidoo, . . HarperCollins, $16.99 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-06-050799-2

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.)