Sometimes they give you nothing and you can starve,’ said the other abruptly.
Tilting his head back, he looked at Sipho through half-closed eyes and added, ‘Do you like to eat cats?’
Escaping from his violent stepfather, twelve-year-old Sipho heads for Johannesburg where he has heard that gangs of children live on the streets. Surviving hunger and the bitter-cold winter nights is hard enough but Sipho also has to learn, in the ‘new’ South Africa, whom to trust. What kind of friendships can he have with the other homeless streetchildren? Or with Judy, a white girl who pressurises her father to offer Sipho help? Set on the eve of South Africa’s first democratic elections, against a background of political upheaval, what hopes can Sipho carry for his personal future?
…valuable insight, gritty but optimistic… a totally believable, absorbing read.
– The Guardian, UK
…so absorbing I wouldn’t be surprised if you read it in one sitting.
– The Times, UK
…as compelling as all of Naidoo’s books.
–The Times Educational Supplement, UK
…a rare and moving glimpse into the hidden world of the malunde.
– Publishers Weekly, USA (Starred review)
Rooted as the story is in the Johannesburg streets, it is also about children anywhere who are on the edge.
– ALA Booklist, USA (Starred review)
Josette Frank Award (Child Study Children's Book Committee Award), USA 1998 – Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, USA 1998 International Reading Association Teachers' Choices, USA 1998 African Studies Association Children's Book Award for Older Readers, USA 1998 Book Trust 100 Best Books, UK 1997 The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, UK shortlist 1996 Smarties Prize for Children's Books, UK shortlist 1995