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Like Water on Stone


Like Water on Stone

While it seems contradictory to describe a book about the Armenian genocide as beautiful, LIKE WATER ON STONE is just that…a beautiful book about a terrible event. Walrath writes in haunting and lyrical free verse about three siblings who, in 1915, flee their village in order to escape the horrifying fate of the rest of their family.

Shahen --- who has been forced to dress as a girl in order to protect himself from those that would kill all able bodied men and boys --- and his twin sister, Sosi, are pushed from their village by their parents, only carrying with them their younger sister Mariam and their mother’s black cooking pot. Shahen, who has been yearning to leave his village for a life in New York City with his uncle, is unprepared to become the “man” of the family by protecting his two sisters. But following his father’s directions, he leads his sisters through the woods and the mountains to Aleppo, where they hope to find protection and possibly even a way to reunite with their uncle in New York City.

Walrath writes in haunting and lyrical free verse

Although the children are without any other family members or grownups, they are not entirely alone; an eagle, Ardziv, watches over them day and night. Eagles keep track of lost feathers, and because Sosi once gave one of Ardziv’s dropped feathers to her father to play the oud, he has watched over the children ever since. He brings them gifts of food and guides them about which areas to avoid. The children are generally unaware of his watchful eye, but are grateful for his help.

Because of some of the violent episodes described in LIKE WATER ON STONE, this is not a book for young readers. However, everyone else is encouraged to read it. Not only will readers gain further understanding of the Armenian genocide, but they will also feel like they are wrapped in Walrath’s beautiful language.

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on December 12, 2014

Like Water on Stone
by Dana Walright