A Stone in My Hand by Cathryn Clinton

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The year is 1988 in Gaza City, and it has been a month since eleven-year-old Malaak’s father left to seek work in Israel, only to disappear. Every day Malaak climbs to the roof and waits, speaking little to anyone, preferring the company of the little bird she has tamed. But her twelve-year-old brother, Hamid, has a different way of coping. He feels only anger, stoked by extremists who say violence is the only way to change their fate. Malaak’s mother begs him to stay away from harm, but Malaak lives in fear of losing her brother as well. What will it take for her to find her voice—and the strength to move past the violence that surrounds her?

About Cathryn Clinton

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Cathryn Clinton received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Iowa and her master of fine arts degree from Vermont College. Her first novel, THE CALLING, was published in 2001. AboutA STONE IN MY HAND she says, "While in graduate school in 1998 I had a writing assignment: choose a picture of someone and write about that person. In an article about Gaza in National Geographic, I saw a picture of a young Palestinian girl holding a bird in her hand. There was a look of strength in her face. This intrigued me, and I wondered how this girl had survived both internally and externally when the conditions of her growing up years were so harsh. So I sat down and began writing the story of Malaak."
Published August 9, 2011 by Candlewick. 208 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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And mother cries, “No son of mine will ever be a member of Islamic Jihad.” The complexities of the situation—of families wanting peace, of dreams of a place to call home, and the allure of militant groups to fighters such as Hamid—are woven into this powerful portrayal told in spare, poetic prose.

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Publishers Weekly

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PW said in a starred review of this novel set in a Palestinian community in Gaza City during the intifada of 1988 and 1989, "The harsh portrayal of the Israeli occupation will be painful for many readers, but the author's overall message is transcendently humane."

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Publishers Weekly

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Contrary to their family's principles, Malaak's older brother, Hamid, and his friend, Tariq (who saw his own father killed by Israeli soldiers), secretly become shabab (defined here as "youth activists"), throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and even joining in terrorist activities.

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Teen Reads

Eleven year-old Malaak Abed Atieh lives with her mother, her older sister Hend and her older brother Hamid in Gaza City.

Oct 01 2002 | Read Full Review of A Stone in My Hand

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