A Single Stone

Meg McKinlay (Author)

A Single Stone
Walker Books Australia
1 May 2015

A Single Stone

Meg McKinlay (Author)

Winner of the Queensland Literary Award 2015 for Best Children’s Book 


Every girl dreams of being part of the line - the chosen seven who tunnel deep into the mountain to find the harvest. No work is more important. Jena is the leader of the line - strong, respected, reliable. And - as all girls must be - she is small; her years of training have seen to that. It is not always easy but it is the way of the things. And so a girl must wrap her limbs, lie still, deny herself a second bowl of stew. Or a first.

But what happens when one tiny discovery makes Jena question everything she has ever known? What happens when moving a single stone changes everything?


When a girl is born into the village everyone holds their breath for the announcement of her measurements. If she is small enough she will be treated like royalty, training to become part of the line, a select group of seven girls small enough to travel into the mountain that surrounds the village to bring back the harvest, supplies upon which the town survives. The mothers, governors of the village, bind their limbs and monitor food intake to make sure each girl doesn’t thicken.

Jena is the leader of the line, born tiny and trained to be strong and reliable. When her foster mother gives birth early to one of the smallest girls ever, Jena starts to wonder if the mothers might have something to do with the early births.

A Single Stone is a beautiful and delicate novel that tackles some big questions about gender and power in an interesting manner, entertaining the reader. With body image, women’s roles in society, and government corruption all part of this powerful novel hopefully this book gets young adults talking about these important issues. Perfect for ages 11 and up.

Katherine Dretzke

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