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Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and…
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Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope

by Beverley Naidoo

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Naidoo, B. (2001). Out of Bounds: Seven stories of conflict and hope. London: Puffin Books.

9780060508012

Organized chronologically, these seven short stories explore different events and conditions of Apartheid through South African children’s perspectives. With varying degrees of hope, the protagonists face difficult choices and risk when deciding on what they believe about Apartheid depending on their various class and racial backgrounds. By remaining focused on issues among family members, friends and school all of the stories remain child-centric. Despite this, students may have some difficulty understanding the historical contexts of the stories (despite the presence of a timeline at the end) without the assistance of a teacher.

While Naidoo provides a complicated and emotionally striking view of apartheid, one perspective is missing—that of someone who supported the laws. While a few secondary characters in several of the stories are supporters, most of them are placed in the roles of villains. I think showing the justifications that those in power tend to make to maintain their power would have been a complicating view to trigger discussion and a challenge to Naidoo as a writer.

Activities to do with the book:

After going through the stories him or herself, a teacher could decide to read one or two aloud to children. (My personal recommendation is to start with “The Playground” since it is closest to the experience of school desegregation in the United States and could provoke more immediate conversation)

This book would be good to use alongside lessons on the history and evolution of Apartheid.

Students could also create drawings in response to some of the images and scenes described in the book, or could examine American art for comparable images. (A good starting point would be Norman Rockwell’s “A Problem We All Live With”)

Favorite Quotes:

“The oppressors opened their prison doors and sat down with those they had oppressed…people they had locked behind bars for years or driven out of the country. They exchanged words instead of bullets” (xiii, introduction).

“The year I turned ten, apartheid gripped me fully by the throat for the first time. Of course its fingers had been there all along, but I had been too busy to take much notice” (p. 18).

“When I was six, policemen snatched Daddy away in the middle of the night. They came to our house with banging, thumping, and shouting. Their flashlights swooped over the garden through the dark” (p. 50).

For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.
  SJKessel | Apr 7, 2009 |
FROM LIBRARY CATALOG:
"Seven stories, spanning the time period from 1948 to 2000, chronicle the experiences of young people from different races and ethnic groups as they try to cope with the restrictions placed on their lives by South Africa's apartheid laws."
  UWC_PYP | Oct 27, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060508019, Paperback)

We are the young people, We will not be broken!

For almost fifty years, apartheid forced the young people of South Africa to live apart as Blacks, Whites, Indians, and "Coloreds." This unique and dramatic collection of stories—by native South African and Carnegie Medalist Beverley Naidoo—is about young people's choices in a beautiful country made ugly by injustice. Each story is set in a different decade during the turbulent years from 1948 to 2000, and portrays powerful fictional characters who are caught up in very real and often disturbing events.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Seven stories, spanning the time period from 1948 to 2000, chronicle the experiences of young people from different races and ethnic groups as they try to cope with the restrictions placed on their lives by South Africa's apartheid laws.

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