Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Powerful historical literary fiction set in South Africa during the Boer War that follows a girl's struggle to survive after she and her family are interned in a British concentration camp.
Corlie Roux's farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter. Despite this, Corlie finds solace in her friend, Sipho, and in Africa itself and in the stories she conjures for her brothers.
But Corlie's world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms. Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy. The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.
Will Corlie's resilience and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and squalor she finds in the camp at Kroonstad? That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamed she had. . . .
About the author
Trilby Kent, PhD. read Modern History at Oxford University and Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. She has written for The Guardian, The National Post, and The Globe and Mail and has taught in Canada and England. A winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Prize and shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award, she lives in Toronto with her family.
- Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
Winner of the 2012 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award
“A riveting book about the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the last century and Canada’s place in it… Kent draws her characters and the landscape around them in penetrating prose… Today’s children will develop heartfelt admiration and respect for Corlie Rioux. Though this young heroine struggles with the loss of parental love, a special friendship, and her home, she holds steadfast, brave, and true and emerges a survivor… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”
– Jury Citation, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award
“…Trilby Kent reveals the way South African Boers were targets for large-scale extermination during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), and how Africans were maligned and oppressed by the Boers. Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Corlie Roux, the narrator, we trace the suffering of Boer farmers….”
—2012 Children’s Africana Book Awards Committee
“The more prominent review media seem to have completely missed this gem from a Canadian-Brit. In quickly evocative prose, Kent creates an immediate and scintillating [story]. Kent has a keen craft and understands her audience, and the U.S. children’s literature world would do well to start paying her more attention.”
“… This book is particularly unique … its human rather than historical elements are what make this thread of the story the most compelling element in Stones for my Father. As is so often the case with historical fiction, the relationships, rather than the history, are what bring the tale to life; Kent performs this trick with impressive dexterity.”
—Recommended, CM Magazine
“… The descriptions of time and place in the novel are mostly strong and the language vivid … [an] entertaining story. Corlie is an excellent role model, and many young readers will be able to relate to her trials.”
—Quill & Quire
“In her powerful and compelling novel set during the Boer War, Kent explores friendship, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit… Corlie Roux is a fascinating, complex heroine, and Kent’s willingness to present her and her situation unblinkingly is a gift to us all… At times raw, but always gripping, this novel packs an emotional punch.”
—TD Canada Trust Canadian Children’s Literary Award Jury Comments
Stones for My FatherCorlie Roux lives on a farm in the Transvaal in South Africa. When her father dies, she is left with a cruel mother who is devoted only to her sons. The British invade, and Corlie ends up in an internment camp at Kroonstad. How will a soldier from Canada help Corlie find the inner resources she needs to survive?
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.