Jackie's Reviews > Stones in Water

Stones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli
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's review
Mar 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: children-fiction, historical, italy, caudill-2000, survival, wars-wwii, holocaust
Read from March 08 to 10, 2011

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 near their work site.

It is survival at all costs in the bitter cold and once Enzo loses his struggle with a boy over boots, Roberto weeps, for his friend, his family, and his dire circumstances. He escapes into the countryside, willing himself to march forward towards Italy... and home. Stones in Water is a historical work based on truth. Even though Italy and Germany were on the same side during WWII, German soldiers regarded these boys as dispensable...everything they've known is lost. Innocence has died and the brutal days of war are staring them in the face every day. The human will to survive pushes Roberto on...when hope is all but a dream. A dream that sustains him while honoring Enzo's memory.

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