Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Sixteen-year-old D.J. awakens from a coma with no memory of who he is or what happened to him. All he knows is that he was severely beaten and his face is disfigured. D.J.'s grandmother places an unearthly stone necklace around his neck and he begins to recover at a rapid pace. When D.J. has visions about a boy named Jeff and his friend Tim, he starts to piece together the events that landed him in the hospital. The Stone Gift is a tale about standing strong in the face of gang violence while embracing friendship, love, family, and even magic, in order to heal.
About the author
I am compelled to create something that I consider â??beautiful.â? My only hope is that a reader will find what I have created beautiful, too. ~ Deborah L. DelarondeAs a child, Deborah attended Duck Bay School, where she learned to read with the Dick and Jane books. When her family moved to The Pas, she was pleasantly surprised to discover that schools had libraries â?? and books that were far more interesting than Dick and Jane! â??I remember a plain light blue book with no pictures, even on the cover; just the title, â??Beauty and the Beast.â?? I loved that story back then and still do today.â?Deborah says that while a lot of her stories are based on childhood memories, some are based on sleeping inspirations, meaning that the idea for the book developed while she was sleeping. â??When those kind of inspirations occur, I am compelled to get up and follow through with writing all the ideas and feelings associated with those ideas before I can go back to sleep again!â?Métis author Deborah L. Delaronde was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, in 1958. She grew up in the Métis community of Duck Bay, Manitoba, and has worked in Duck Bay School as a childrenâ??s librarian for the past 20 years. As a result of writing and promoting literacy, Deborah was awarded the Lieutenant-Governorâ??s Medal for Literacy.
Excerpt: Stone Gift, The (by (author) Deborah Delaronde)
The bandaged fingers shifted slightly over the bed sheet."Good morning," a soft-spoken voice said. "Are you awake?""I can't see," he said, his voice barely above a whisper."I wouldn't be able to see either if I had all those bandagescovering my face," she teased.The young man became agitated. He struggled to draw a fewshallow breaths."You're in the ICU at the Regent General Hospital," the friendlyyoung woman's voice said. "I'll notify Dr. Ritter that you're awake. He'llbe relieved and will want to speak with you.""What happened?" he asked.His throat was dry. The words sounded brittle. His head pounded.He could feel his face pulsing."I believe that your parents and Dr. Ritter had better answer thatquestion," she replied.An overwhelming urgency to know gripped him."I have to get out of here," he said, straining to get up. "I'm notsure why but I know I have to leave.""Please don't try to move," she said. "You might rip your stitches."The voice had a calming effect. It made him feel safe."Thirsty," he said and licked his lips."I'll be right back," she said. Her voice faded as she walked out thedoor.2 Deborah L. DelarondeHe sensed that he's alone in the room. He could even hear theintercom paging Dr. Ritter and the muffled drone of far-awayconversations.He could taste bile rising at the back of his throat. He couldn't seebut he could still feel so before the doctor arrived, he decided to checkif he was missing any of his body parts. He wiggled his fingerscounting first on his right and then left hand. He raised his right arm.Then his left arm. He wiggled the toes on his right foot and lifted hisleg. He could feel and hear movement on the bed sheet. When he triedto wiggle his toes and move his left leg, he felt nothing. He strainedto hear the sound of his leg moving over the starched sheet. He heardnothing.Panic set in again when he heard a woman's voice, "Oh, ThankGod, D.J., we've been worried sick and thinking the worse.""Water?" he said, this time, a little more forcefully."There's a jug of water on the bed stand but you're going to needa straw," the woman said.He could hear the soles of her shoes squeaking as she left theroom.Why did she call me D.J.? he wondered."Well, young man," a deep male voice interrupted his thoughts."You had us very concerned.""I'm Dr. Ritter," the male voice said. "I just need to ask you a fewquestions and then we'll wait for your mom to return.""First question, do you know where you are?" Dr. Ritter asked."In a hospital?" he answered with a scratchy voice."Great," Dr. Ritter said, then continued his questioning. "Can youremember your name?"The Stone Gift 3"The woman that you said was my mom just called me D.J.," hereplied."What happened that brought you to the hospital?" Dr. Ritterasked."I don't know," he mumbled his answer. "I can't remember.""Here's your water, dear," his mom said, her shoes squeaking tohis bed. He felt a straw placed between his lips.His lips grabbed at the straw. He hungrily drew in the water."You don't recognize your mother's voice?" Dr. Ritter asked."No," he replied, pushing the straw away with a bandaged hand."I didn't even know my own name until a few minutes ago."First things first, he had to know."What happened?" he asked. The gripping panic threatened tooverwhelm him again. "Why can't I feel my leg?""I'm here," another man said, breathless. "Hannah told me he wasawake.""Do you recognize this man's voice?" Dr. Ritter asked."No," he replied. "What's going on?"Who am I? was his last thought.