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Stone Faces

Alice’s life is thrown out of kilter by her parents’ separation until some new friends she meets on a Cape Cod beach help her learn about love and friendship.
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STONE FACES is the story of a ten-year-old girl named Alice who notices one day that her parents’ faces have turned to stone. Soon afterward, they tell her they are going to get divorced and, in reaction, she allows her own face to turn to stone because she doesn’t want anyone to know how much this hurts her. It is easier to deal with her friends when her stone face is in place, but she also begins to find herself alone more and more.

While on her summer vacation at her aunt’s house on Cape Cod, she sees a stone on the beach in the shape of a laughing man’s face (called Mr. Happy Man). She soon discovers that this stone can talk and that it has friends among the other beach stones, who play games in the sand when people aren’t around.

Together with Mr. Happy Man and his friends, Alice develops an ingenious scheme to help her parents resolve their differences. Their plans are thrown awry when a woman finds Mr. Happy Man in the sand and walks off with him. Alice decides to rescue the stone and sneaks into the woman’s house where she learns that the woman is actually a witch.


Stone Faces


An Alice and Friends Book


Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks


Middle Grade Fantasy


July 12, 2016


Charlotte Volnek


60 pages






Divorce, stones, Provincetown, Herring Cove Beach, beaches, friendship, collage, fantasy, New York City, dreams, love.


I put on my stone face when my mom told me that my dad alone would be taking me to visit my aunt that summer. Aunt Bess was my father’s sister, so it would be awkward if Mommy brought me. And of course we couldn’t all go as a family. Of course.

“Then I’ll go by myself.” I said (okay, maybe I yelled), and I ran out of the room and slammed my bedroom door behind me and wasn’t nice to either of them until they agreed.

Even when they said I could go myself, I cried. Not in front of them, of course. I waited until I got back to my room and then the tears started rolling. I don’t think I ever cried that much in my entire life. It was a really bad day.

After that, I just did not want to talk to anybody because it seemed to me that everyone knew about my parents, and I didn’t want to hear that stupid lie that it would be all right. I didn’t want to go to dance class or soccer practice anymore. I didn’t care what I got on tests at school.

One day at recess, my friend Samantha came up to me.”

“I’m sorry your parents are living in different apartments,” she said.

I glared at her and mumbled something like, “Yeah, okay.”

“What’s it like to have two bedrooms?” she asked then.

“What’s it like to be so nosy?” I shot right back. She ran away.

That afternoon, my teacher, Mrs. Hamel, asked me to stay after class for a few minutes.

“You know it’s not unusual to be angry at your parents over a divorce,” she said. “And sometimes we’re even angry at our friends.”

I said nothing.

She paused. A sad sort of smile crossed her lips.

“If you would like to talk about it, I would be happy to listen. I might be able to help.”

Guess whose face was hard as stale saltwater taffy?

“Thank you, Mrs. Hamel,” I said and clamped my lips together.

After a few more minutes she let me go. My report card in June was not pretty.

The only good part of being a stone face was that it made it easier to get prepared for being on my own in Provincetown. When the day arrived for my trip, I was ready. Both my mom and my dad came to the bus station with me. My dad carried my bag and gave me two new comic books to read on the bus. My mom brought water and snacks, including my favorite cookies.

“Thank you, Mother,” I said. “Thank you, Father.”

When it was time to get on the bus, they each kissed me on the cheek.

I didn’t kiss them back.

“I’m going to miss you, Honey,” my mom said.

“Me, too, Sport,” said my dad.

“Goodbye,” I said in a small, cold voice that I imagined a stone-faced girl would use.

I climbed up the stairs to the bus and found a seat by a window. I did not cry. I breathed in and out and concentrated because I had read somewhere that monks who live in mountain caves practice breathing and can withstand cold and heat and wet and any kind of pain. My mom cried and my dad’s eyes got all red like he was going to cry too. I sat on my hands and stared at them out the window as the bus started to pull away. Then I saw my dad put his arm around my mom to comfort her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. A tear slid down his cheek too. I felt like my heart was being torn in half. Still, not one tear came out of my stony eyes.









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