Children of the Stone City

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Book Review, Fiction

Children of the Stone City (cover)

Book Details

Children of the Stone City
Beverley Naidoo. London: HarperCollins Children’s Books, hb. 978 0 0084 7174 3, 2023, £12.99, 272pp.
Fiction, 9+ years

Adam and Leila live in the Stone City, a city with its own rules. 

In their society, the world is divided into Permitted (those who are allowed to do everything freely, who would be seen as middle class) and Nons (those who live restricted lives and who are seen as substantially less than the Permitted). Permitted and Nons are not supposed to mix.

The first problem Adam and Leila face is that their Mum needs a permit to stay with them in the Permitted section of the city. As a Non, this permit must be renewed every year. If it isn’t, their mother will have to leave. Can she get a new permit?

Then tragedy strikes the whole family when the children’s father dies. With everything changed, will Adam and Leila who are both talented musicians, he on the violin and she on the flute, have to leave their beloved music school? Or can Adam use his talent to help save his Mum?

This book both entrances and challenges the reader as one would expect from Naidoo. The reader is also encouraged to question societal norms and the idea of justice. The bravest thing this novel accomplishes is to shine a light on the plight of unfairly detained children, a very dark and troubling subject which Naidoo tackles unflinchingly and with great empathy.

A must-read for secondary school and above.


Review by Becky Butler