Bone Talk

Candy Gourlay

David Fickling Books

January 2019

$19.99 AU

248p hc

ISBN: 978-1788450171

fp August 2018

from David Fickling Books...

More than a hundred years ago, a boy named Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows the mountains he lives in. He knows his people. He knows his blood enemy, the Mangili. And he wants to become a man, to be given his own shield, spear and axe to fight with. His best friend, Luki, wants all the same things – but she is a girl, and no girl has ever become a warrior.

But everything changes when a new boy arrives in the village. He calls himself Samkad’s brother, yet he knows nothing of the ways of the mountain. And he brings news of a people called ‘Americans’, who are bringing war and destruction right to his home . . . 

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Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay is a novel written from the perspective of a young Filipino boy, Samkad. The story is set in the Philippines in 1899 and is focused on Samkad’s transition from a boy to a man, and the challenges that he and his loved ones face during the American invasion.

Even though Bone Talk is more of a fictional novel than an historical one, the story still teaches the reader about life in 19th century Philippines. Some of these educational aspects include daily life and chores, rituals, duties and beliefs.

Throughout the story, Samkad learns that there are more important things than becoming a man, such as friendship and fighting for those you love. I thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced storytelling and action in this book and would recommend it for children aged 10+. The story is easy to read, but there are some mildly graphic battle and death scenes that may scare younger children.

Bone Talk is an exciting and beautifully written novel that deserves a place on all bookshelves.

Freya, age 13, Canberra

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