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Bone Talk

Written by Candy Gourlay

Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults

LoveReading View on Bone Talk

Evocative, universally resonant adventure set among a remote Filipino tribe

?Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019

This immersive coming-of-age epic is set in the late nineteenth century, when an age-old Filipino culture first encounters the brutal warmongering of white men.

Samkad cannot wait to become a man through undergoing the ‘Cut’ rites of passage observed by his Bontok tribe (later ignorantly mispronounced by American occupiers as “Bone Talk”), though he fears losing his best friend Luki as a result, for Luki is a girl and their relationship will be forbidden, even though they share the same ambitions - to become a warrior, to fight the Mangili. Samkad’s absorbing journey to manhood is intensified when a white stranger arrives in his village claiming to be his brother, a stranger who tells tales of a people called Americans. Then, when the Americans arrive, bringing war and destruction to the Bontok’s remote mountains, nothing will be the same again. Not for Samkad, nor for his family and culture.

By turns universal and unique, historically enlightening and emotionally powerful, this relatable, resonant coming-of-age adventure boasts an abundance of heart, atmosphere and action.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

The Costa Judges said; ‘A powerful, complex and fascinating coming-of-age novel.’

Find out more about the UKLA Book Awards here

Bone Talk Synopsis

The Philippines, 100 years ago. A boy called Samkad wants to become a man. He is desperate to be given his own shield, spear and axe. His best friend, Luki, wants to be a warrior too - but she is a girl and that is forbidden. Then a new boy arrives in the village and everything changes. He brings news that a people called 'Americans' are bringing war right to his home . . .

Bone Talk Press Reviews

'One of the standout titles of the year' The Independent

'Very special' The Times

'Gourlay's evocative writing grips from the outset' The Guardian

'A master storyteller' The Scotsman

'Vividly drawn ... mesmerising' The Observer

'Exciting and action-packed' National Geographic Kids

'A soulful coming-of-age story rich in Filipino myth and tradition, combined with a thrilling adventure of headhunters and invaders, asking powerful questions about community, colonialism and what it means to be a man' Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

'Utterly engrossing. This sumptuously realised, age-old story of colonisation transports in time, culture, landscape and history. It will lodge deep in the bone long after these pages have been turned' Sita Brahmachari, author of Artichoke Hearts, winner of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize

'A wonderful novel ... will stay with me for a long time' Elizabeth Laird, author of The Garbage King

'I loved Bone Talk. A really thoughtful and wonderful piece of storytelling' Catherine Johnson, author of Sawbones

'I was enthralled by Bone Talk' Teen Librarian

'A gripping adventure story and a fascinating piece of historical fiction but you never, ever forget that it's the story of Samkad, a boy you believe could be your friend. Highly recommended' Jill Murphy, The Bookbag

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781788450188
Publication date: 13/12/2018
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781788450171
Publication date: 02/08/2018
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781788450188
Publication date: 13th December 2018
Author: Candy Gourlay
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 252 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers

About Candy Gourlay

Candy Gourlay was born in Manila during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos; afterworking as a journalist for some years, she moved to the UK in her twenties. Candy isnow a full-time writer across a range of medium; short stories, blogs, websites,journalistic features and radio programmes. TALL STORY is Candy’s first full-lengthpublished novel.

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