A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The book offers one perspective on life under military occupation in 1989, a period of active rebellion, and the history of the major Middle East conflict. Contains a glossary of Arabic words.
A Stone in My Hand offers insight into the Palestinian experience in the occupied Gaza Strip in 1989. Malaak's parents believe in nonviolent methods of protest as they wait for restoration of their own land.
Positive Role Models
Malaak's family is very loving, and both her parents both taught their children nonviolent attitudes. Malaak is deeply grieved when her father disappears, but she finds the courage to act as her father would have wanted when further tragedy hits.
Violence & Scariness
Children see soldiers firing on men and children; some children and teens are "young activists" who taunt soldiers and throw stones at them; some participate in retaliatory bombings; Malaak's father is killed in a terrorist attack in Israel when he leaves Gaza City; her 12-year-old brother is shot when he throws stones at soldiers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Stone in My Hand is a historical novel that portrays the life of a Palestinian family in the occupied Gaza Strip in 1989. Descriptions of 11-year-old female protagonist Malaak's grim experience of living under occupation is intense and may be difficult reading for anyone under 14. Children see soldiers firing on men and children; some children and teens taunt soldiers and throw stones at them, and some participate in retaliatory bombings. Malaak's father is killed in terrorist attack in Israel, and her 12-year-old brother is shot when he throws stones at soldiers. Little historical context is offered, as the story is told purely from the perspective of a refugee child whose entire life has been dominated by soldiers and fear. A Stone in My Hand succeeds in putting a human face on one side of the conflict, but parents should be prepared to talk about the Israeli perspective and the history of the conflict.
Is It Any Good?
A Stone in My Hand is a powerful story of one family struggling to survive life as refugees. The American author does a wonderful job of creating a portrait of a warm, loving Arab family struggling to survive under siege-like conditions and the tragedy of childhood lost to religious conflicts and violence.
Being true to Malaak's young perspective, a stone in the hand is the only weapon available to children who feel that they, too, must rebel against the soldiers on their streets. This may be a sad read for many young readers, and parents should be prepared to answer questions about the political realities in the Middle East.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.