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Stones In Water (Stones in Water #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  1,750 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
Roberto and Samuele are prisoners in a Nazi forced labour camp in Italy. They share a secret - a secret that, if discovered, will mean death for them both. Roberto is Jewish. Escape becomes Roberto's only chance, but can he survive the brutal winter cold, with only the gift stone from the Jewish girl in the camp to give him hope that he will ever see his home again?
Published (first published June 30th 1997)
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Luann The first two labor camps were in Germany. Then he was sent to a place in the Ukraine.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 03, 2010 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It gave a perspective on WW2 that I hadn't known of before (Germany kidnapping Italian boys and forcing them into work camps). The prose was well-written and the story flowed nicely. I thought it very age-appropriate and would like to read something else by Napoli in the future.
Cami Beath
May 10, 2012 Cami Beath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stones in Water
By Donna Jo Napoli

I love this book. I went through the last 150 pages without even realizing it, and then I just wanted more. The protagonist, Roberto, is fantastic. Napoli has a real talent for creating life-like characters. Roberto made me want to spend a month in Italy. His boyishness is so tangible and so believable, I just want to meet him. This story is tragic and grim because it is about World War II, but it is also beautiful and important. Napoli finds the humanity in the
Kaelyn Grant
Nov 01, 2012 Kaelyn Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I am grateful to this author for showing another view of the war with the Nazis. Showing that more than Jews suffered during the tyrannical reign of Hitler.
Mar 20, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This compelling and original YA historical fiction novel details the conditions of forced labor camps in Eastern Europe during World War II. The novel begins with a mass kidnapping where a group of Italian school boys viewing a Western cowboy film are rounded up by soldiers and forced to board a train headed for a labor camp. The teen protagonist Roberto is separated from everyone he knows except for Samuele, a Jewish friend who must keep his religious identity a secret in the work camp. The nov ...more
Jan 22, 2017 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s a few things I liked about this novel before I even opened it up. First, the cover caught my eye as I was scanning books at the library for inventory last week. The pain and the emptiness that is etched onto his face, the clothing that is fastened onto his body and those shoes, his shoes that are way too big for such a young child. It was Donna Napoli’s name on the cover that struck another chord in my mind, for I had read another one of her novels, one that I will never forget. It was T ...more
Angie Orr
Stones in Water. Napoli, Donna Jo.

Rating: ***

Summary: Roberto and his friend sneak off to go see a movie in a small town. During the movie German soldiers take all the young boys to a camp. The boys witness shootings and many other graphic situations. The two boys try to stick together as the boys are separated. Luckily the boys stay in the same group. However, Samuel has a dark secret that could get him killed if the soldiers find out. Roberto sneaks food across lines since food is scarce at th
Heidi Jensen
Jun 16, 2010 Heidi Jensen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: section-2
Roberta is a young Italian boy, relatively unaffected by WWII, that just wants to see a good old Western with his friends. It is a little bit of a concernt obe going with his best friend Samuele since he is a Jew, but not a big enough deal to change plans. The four boys, including Roberto's older brother are enjoying their movie when the lights come on followed by a bunch of German soldiers. No need to worry, they are on the same team, probably just sendin them home for watching an American film ...more
Billy Newman
Jan 31, 2017 Billy Newman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Roberto sneaks off to see a movie in his Italian village, he has no idea that life as he knows it is over. German soldiers raid the theater and pack them onto a train. After a terrifying journey, Roberto and his best friend Samuele find themselves in a brutal work camp, where there is very little food and hard life is everything. The boys vow to stay together no matter what. But Samuele has a dangerous secret, which, if discovered, could get them both killed. Lovers of historical fiction wi ...more
Jun 08, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of how bad people really had it during World War 2. It's crazy what starvation and the cold can really do to people. People were really strong during that time. I don't know if I could have handled all that most of the prisoners went through.
Nov 06, 2007 Cassie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good I was actually dreaming i was Roberto during WWII.
Sep 21, 2015 Felix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books, ever.
Alex Baugh
Jun 28, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
I picked up this book in a library book sale because it was about another one of those little known events that occurred during World War II: the snatching of Italian boys by Nazis and used as forced labor. And also because the setting, at least in the beginning, was in Venice, Italy in the early 1940s, an unusual setting for most MG or YA novels. The story centers on the friendship between 12 year old Roberto, a Catholic, and Samuele, a Jew. It begins with the lure of seeing an American western ...more
Jerry Nemec
Mar 04, 2013 Jerry Nemec rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Guess Jeans

Stones in Water in a great book written by Donna Jo Napoli. In short, during World War Two, a young Italian Boy named Roberto goes to see an American film with some friends and his older brother. Before the movie starts, Nazi's fill the theater and usher them out and on to a train, headed for Germany. The boys must now live in a brutal work camp and keep Roberto's friend Samuele's secret, that he is Jewish, and in the middle of a work camp.
I think the best thing about the book is that Roberto an
Apr 27, 2008 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stones in Water By: Donna Jo Napoli Book Review Brian Bredemann
Reading 8-McG
Book Review 4/27/08

If you love historical fiction and World War II, then you will love Stones in Water. This book is about a fourteen year-old named Roberto, who lives in Venice, Italy during the time Italy was part of the Axis forces in 1942.
The story begins with Roberto, his friends Memo and Samuele and his brother, Sergio, getting captured in a movie theatre and sent on a train into Germany. Memo and Sergio separa
May 22, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kaley wainwright
Stones in Water is a thrilling book written by Donna Jo Napoli. When a young Italian boy by the name of Roberto gets captured from a movie theatre in Venice with his brother Sergio and two friends Memo and Samuelle, they are taken to a concentration camp in Germany. At the camp Robert and Samuelle get separated from Memo and Sergio, they must help each other survive. but Samuelle has a life threatening secret and they are both dying to keep it.

The best part about this book was the end because it
Nov 16, 2011 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-15-30
In "Stones in Water" starts out in Venice, Italy. Memo, Roberto, Sergio and Samuele, who is Jewish, all go to the next city over to watch a American Western during the time of WWII. Right before the movie starts German soldiers come in and force everyone out of the theater and force them onto trains. They travel there for a while and then they get off at a train station and are forced into groups to follow the soldiers. Sergio who is much older gets put with the older boys. Memo, Roberto and Sam ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Daven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Two of my 8th grade kids chose to read this as an alternative to Elie Wiesel's graphic Night as part of a Holocaust study. I knew quite a bit about this historical fiction novel, but had not read it cover-to-cover until now. Offering an original perspective of WWII and the Holocaust, it is a narrative of an Italian boy forced along with hundreds of other boys into slave labor to support the failing Nazi war efforts. In the first half of the novel, the protagonist, Roberto, struggles to keep his ...more
Angela Watts
Aug 05, 2016 Angela Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stones In Water.... This book... Is one of my favorites. It isn't long, but it packs such a punch...
It was a raw story. Deep, strong, and throbbing. It set the story and you knew the characters... Like you were the one standing there, seeing the Jews behind wires and cages. Like you were the one standing beside Roberto, all the while. The story telling matched the story, and I was left basically crying.
This time of history, World War II, is one of the most interested to me. I'm intrigued by th
Alison Levie
Aug 22, 2012 Alison Levie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2015 Scotty.Smithy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of the book is called stones in water,which is by donna jo napoli. The book grabs the readers attention by adding some intense action,and is based mostly around soldiers. The good example of this is when there are kids these group of kids in this movie theater seeing a movie that they shouldn't see,and the soldiers come into the scene and take the kids away. The second element that the book showed,would be the book showed a lot of the character main reactions to all of the things that ...more
All Roberto and his friends, Memo and Enzo wanted to do was see an American movie at the theater that afternoon. However, WWII and Hitler are marching through Venice and are intent on rounding up young boys to be their manual labor under some of the cruelest conditions. They are boarded onto a train, taken away from their families, and work nearly the whole day with little to eat or drink. Conditions are brutal, but not as bad as the plight of the Polish Jews who are penned within barbed wire ne ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Kat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I can't say i liked this book... like at all. I hated Roberto and thought he was really stupid. I think the story would have been better told, had it been Samuele/Enzo telling it. The only reason I gave this book two stars was because the ending wasn't that bad. The plot would've been better, had there been a better main character. Of course, seeing as this book takes place during WW2 it was sad. There were many heart-breaking moments. And i'm not saying the reason i didn't like this was because ...more
An almost surprisingly poignant book set during WWII, told from the point of view of an Italian boy forced into labor by the Nazis. Despite being a childrens' book, the author gives an honest view of the cruelty of Axis forces toward those they considered both friends and enemies.

There's nothing truly graphic enough in the horrors described that would be too much for young readers, though those especially sensitive to the suffering of others at the hands of ordinary men behaving like monsters m
David  Despain
I love it when those books come along that open to eyes to things you had not before considered. I really want to know if this sort of thing actually happened. Did the Nazi's really kidnap children and force them into manual labor. This book really opened my eyes to the plight of the Italians during the second world war. I had always thought Italians were the "Bad guys." But I was most certainly wrong. This book was a part of my WW2 book marathon, and it was definitely worth it. I would not cons ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Dacia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, second-half
This book was a good book! I especially loved the angle it came from. It is told from the eyes of a 14 yr. old boy, and it is very touching. It is about the Holocaust, and him having to survive it as an Italian. I love learning about the Holocaust, and even though this wasn't a true story, it was still a wonderful read.

I would recommend this book to young adults ages 13-15. It was pretty easy to read and understand, and I would think it would be easy for young adults, both males and females alik
There are so many sides to the story of WWII and the Holocaust. I had no idea that Germany took young Italian boys against their will, transported them to other countries (in this case Germany and the Ukraine), and forced them to do hard labor with very little food, clothing, or shelter. Supposedly Italy was one of Germany's allies, but they sure didn't treat them like they were on the same side. Boys who tried to escape were either shot or beaten severely.

This was quite the story! I wanted to
Miss Amanda
gr 4-9 209 pgs

WWII Italy. 13 year olds Roberto and Samuele walk to the movie theater with another friend and Roberto's older brother. In the middle of the movie, they are shocked when German soldiers appear and force them onto a northbound train. Their confusion turns to fear as the train crosses the border and leaves Italy. After seeing how badly the Nazis treat the boys, they are determined that no one should discover that Samuele is Jewish. Separated from the rest of their group, Roberto and
Feb 08, 2017 Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, but depressing.
May 08, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. This book may seem like a middle school aged book, and while it's fine for middle schoolers to read this book, it also has a lot of things that might be very painful for them as there were for me. When I was reading this, I thought about all of the things that I was taught in middle school and early high school about WWII. I thought about all of the people who lost some one and how they must have felt. This book takes a different approach. It takes the view of ...more
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...

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Stones in Water (2 books)
  • Fire in the Hills (Stones in Water, #2)

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