The Wrong Stone

Celebrating diversity and inclusion—a truly delightful classic!

$39.95 inc. GST

Product Code: 6050

‘I want you to build me a wall with only perfect stones,’ the big architect said. 

All the stones tried to put their best faces forward. They hid their ugly bits. But there was one stone that didn’t seem to fit. He was the ‘Wrong Stone’ and all the others laughed at him. Was he destined for the crusher!?

This much-loved picture book features exquisite full-colour illustrations throughout. Enjoy the pebbly jokes and flinty drama of this heart-warming story, in which the Wrong Stone finds his special place in the world and everyone is valued.

Many of our customers have used The Wrong Stone in conjuction with the Pocket of Stones and the Stones …have feelings too! card set. It is an ideal picture book for children and adults to read together and can be used to open conversations with children about differerence, self-esteem and finding one’s niche in life.

Teachers, chaplains, school counsellors, welfare officers and social workers, here’s a book that every school library should have. Use this book in pastoral care, the counselling room or the classroom. Use it as the basis for games, group discussions, anti-bullying activities and much more!

Published by Innovative Resources, 2002.
Reprinted 2004, 2008 (new edition)
ISBN: 978 0 9580189 0 6
Author: Russell Deal
Illustrations: Ray Bowler
Softcover, 280mm x 210mm, 32 pages

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Stories and Reviews

St Leonard’s News, vol. 16, no. 1,  February 2014.

‘At our first assembly for the year last Friday, I began by reading a picture story book called The Wrong Stone by Russell Deal. This is a beautiful book with a subtle message that reinforces that we are all unique and have special talents. I shared this story to link this message with the theme of respect. The aim was to encourage the children to respect that we are all unique and special and to begin the year by setting some goals for the year to help develop those unique talents and skills. Goal setting is an important part of the learning process and in the next few weeks the children will be involved in developing their goals for the year.’

Pat Kenny, Head of Junior School, St Leonard’s College (Brighton, Victoria)


The Wrong Stone in school chaplaincy

My name is Dianne Stevens. I am the Chaplain at Haileybury College, Berwick. I work with children between Prep and Year 9. My role includes teaching religious education, leading chapels and providing pastoral care in small group situations and to individuals. I have enjoyed using The Wrong Stone and Captain Grumpy in my role as chaplain.

The Wrong Stone is a great story about the need for us to find ways to make everyone feel as if they are part of the class and the school. I re-wrote the story to present as a play at a Middle School Chapel (Year 5-8). Everyone participated and had at least one line to say. As the students presented the story, I turned the pages of the book. The book helped students realise that everyone sometimes feels like they are the ‘wrong stone’ when in fact they are part of a community that cares about them. The book also highlighted the need for the students to look out for other students who might be feeling that they are the wrong stone and to find ways to make them feel included.

Captain Grumpy is also a fantastic story. The illustrations really bring the book alive. I have used this book a number of times looking at the theme of friendship. I used the book during a session with Grade Twos. I read the book and then got the students, in groups of four, to discuss how they are a good friend, how they could be a better friend and three things friends like about them. They then divided into pairs and had to do a role play about how you could help turn someone from being grumpy into being happy again. The students came up with a variety of ideas including being a clown, asking them to join in with a group and asking them what they would like to play. The students responded well to the story and shared lots of ideas about ways they can help people to be happy.

I look forward to continuing to use these books in a variety of situations—the power of a story, at any age, can never be underestimated!

Dianne Stevens, chaplain, Haileybury College, Berwick (Australia)


In the classroom with Stones and Happy Pants

Grade 4/5 teacher and author, Bev Harvey, shares some creative ideas for using picture storybook The Wrong Stone to teach some valuable lessons about inclusion, honouring difference and mathematics:

There was a buzz in the classroom that day. It was Literacy and Numeracy Week and they were celebrating in Bev Harvey’s Grade 4/5 class at Big Hill Primary School—celebrating with a colourful guest and an exciting new picture book. The guest was part-time pirate (and author, social worker and full-time grandfather) Russell Deal, complete with multi-coloured, pointy-toed suede boots and boldly patterned happy pants. No doubt a few children’s eyes boggled as they asked themselves, ‘Are adults really allowed to dress like that?’

Thankfully, the answer is ‘Yes’ and their teacher Bev Harvey matched the colourfulness of her guest with some equally colourful activities for her students. Bev is one of those very special people who fills her work with passion. She is also the award-winning author of 44 books and is particularly well-known for her Aboriginal series written with Sue Briggs as part of the Reading Discovery Collection published by Scholastic Books.

Bev had just picked up a copy of The Wrong Stone and decided to call the pirate in from the stormy seas of social work to make the book the focus of her lesson.

This picture book tells a quirky and humorous story that celebrates difference and ends in triumph for one small stone who thought it was the end of the road and the crusher for him! Bev was drawn to the themes of inclusion and difference and decided to create a lesson that built an understanding of these values, while also providing some maths outcomes.

Each student was given a copy of a stone wall jigsaw printed on coloured paper. There were 7 different colours but each student only had one colour. The goal was to create a mosaic of the stone wall using different coloured paper ‘stones’, BUT the stones sitting next to each other on the wall must be different colours. You could not have a yellow stone touching another yellow stone. This meant that each child needed to swap with others to get a maximum complement of colours.

To begin with, Bev asked the children to form into groups, reminding them that the more colours in their group the better. Only three colours (members) in the group were not enough; four were better and five were even better.

‘It was such a great thing to do,’ said Bev. ‘At one point I noticed a child asking if she could join a group. Initially one of the children in the group refused until another child in the group quickly said “Yes, we need them in our group!” It was so good to see the children having the experience that the more people we include, the more we can be enriched and strengthened. There were also valuable lessons in how to share and to care about somebody else’s task. And of course, the mathematical challenges were there too.’

We were so impressed with Bev’s idea that we have asked her to create some teaching notes for us. We will let you know when these are available. But Bev-here is another idea: What about the mathematical learning outcomes of a mosaic of those happy pants?


Book for the Week,’ St. Thomas the Apostle Primary School, Greensborough North, newsletter 14, May 2014.

The Wrong Stone by Russell Deal:  This little story is about a broken stone and the tale finally concludes with this little stone being needed to support a large wall. It is a story about difference and what may not be the perfect fit can sometimes become what is actually needed. This story is helpful to read to children who are feeling somewhat isolated and different from their peers. It is suitable for all ages at the primary level.


Book for the Week,’ St. Thomas the Apostle Primary School, Greensborough North, newsletter 7, March 2014.

The Wrong Stone, Russell Deal: This book teaches children about difference and elements of prejudice and intolerance. Often our students feel vulnerable when they are not coping and find difficulty in understanding how we are all different and capable in various areas. This book is an excellent read if you wish children to learn more about difference and tolerance in our society.


Stone Therapy for Special Siblings (SOON 54)

During September, our collection of ‘stony’ resources inspired lots of fun and creativity at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Art therapist, Belinda Ryan, selected our picture book, The Wrong Stone, as her starting point for some ingenious workshop activities for siblings of children in the hospital’s Paediatric Palliative Care Unit. Children identify with the stony characters immediately, and there are so many ways you can play with stones!

Siblings of children who have a life-limiting illness can often feel isolated and alone. So we developed a pilot program for 8-12 year olds to help them connect with one another, have some fun and feel special. The Wrong Stone was the perfect story to use for a series of art-based activities. Children identify with the stony characters immediately, and there are so many ways you can play with stones!

After reading the picture book, each child chose their own special stone to carry with them. Then the stones were used to frame a beautiful mandala created from colourful sand and pebbles. At the end of the two-day workshop, children collected some of the mandala to take home with them. They also painted a symbol on their ‘perfect stone’ as a reminder of their own gifts and special place in the world.

For another activity, we created a spectacular stone wall (based on the one in the book) and used it as a setting for a puppet show. The children used the puppets to express what it’s like to have a brother or sister who has (or had) a life-limiting illness. Surrounded by all the stones celebrating difference and uniqueness, the puppets were able to ‘speak’ freely from their places along wall.

Innovative Resources’ Stones …have feelings too! and Pocket of Stones provided us with a brilliant barometer of how the children were feeling over the two days. Each child was also presented with a copy of The Wrong Stone and some of the Stones…have feelings too! stickers. The book presentation was a real highlight of the workshop, and we followed it by re-reading the story together (with gusto!) to reiterate its messages. It was satisfying to give the children these permanent mementos, to remind them of their special place in the world and all that they learned during the program.

Thank you to Russell for his clever, insightful story and for the other stony resources. I have used The Wrong Stone with various client groups because it communicates an important message and is easily accessible to readers. The stones theme worked tremendously well and had a real impact on the children. They won’t forget that they all have unique qualities, and there is a perfect ‘spot’ for each of them, no matter what else goes on in their lives.

Belinda Ryan
Art Therapist
Paediatric Palliative Care Unit
Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide.


Mark Smith, ‘The Wrong Stone’ reviewed, Bendigo Advertiser, 9 November 2002.

The Wrong Stone is a heart-warming tale of a wrong stone’s struggle to find acceptance within his peer group of stones.

When a stonemason is employed to build a wall with only perfect stones, the wrong stone’s self-belief is tested while he watches the stones around him be selected for the job. When all seems lost, he discovers he has been saved for the most important job of all and realises it’s okay to be different and, more importantly, that he can make a difference.

The book is a stunning debut for the Bendigo author Russell Deal and the themes of acceptance and self-belief are cleverly portrayed in this simply, yet effective story.

The book carries on from the success of St Luke’s Strength Cards and gives parents, grandparents and teachers a valuable resource to encourage discussion with their children or class.

Beautifully presented with emotive illustrations by Ray Bowler, the book is also packed with hidden extras to keep young children engaged. A tiny mouse and lizard are hidden on each page for children to find and each page also features well-known sayings involving stone.

Not only will the story capture your heart, it will capture all those to whom you read it.


Review by Neena Evans, ‘St Luke’s Innovative Resources,’ Generate Ministries blog, posted April 2009

The following resources I have used with primary, secondary and adults. They are not only useful for identifying how they are feeling now, but also how they would like to feel in the future. This provides a platform for change and growth.

  • Cars ‘R’ Us ….
  • The Wrong Stone by Russell Deal, illustrated by Ray Bowler, tells the story of an architect who has requested that a wall be built using only perfect stones.“All the stones tried to put their best faces forward. They hid their ugly bits. They tried to climb to the top of the pile. But there was one stone that didn’t seem to fit … anywhere” This story has been particularly helpful for those children who see themselves as different, who don’t seem to fit in or are being bullied or laughed at. It provides a message of hope, that each child has an important role to play.
  • A Pocket of Stones ….

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very beneficial in engaging children in conversation, getting their attention and providing a safe environment for exploring, identifying and expressing their feelings.

Neena Evans, Chaplain at Matong Public School (NSW, Australia)


I really like The Wrong Stone. I think the book teaches people that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from and what you look like, there is always a fit in this world for everyone. It shows us that everyone can be special in their own way and that we are all different.

Cristina Gay