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It was first published in 1989, but this historical novel set in South Africa is as relevant today as then.

A five-year-old English boy is sent to a boarding school and the cruelty against him and the blacks who serve them there is almost unimaginable. The boy learns he must be independent (the power of one), learn to think, and with help from the local librarian, a musician/scientist, a teacher, and others along the way, easily rises to first in his class.

The underlying theme of apartheid's injustices and the dramatic events of a boy's growing up make this a powerful story.

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay ($16.00, Ballantine Books), recommended by Nancy, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh NC.