Bone Talk

Bone Talk

Candy Gourlay,

Bone Talk

David Fickling Books, 2018

ISBN 9781788450171

11-14 Shortlist 2019

 

On this shortlist:

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out of 5
 

 

 

Who Wrote It?

Candy Gourlay was born in the Philippines and grew up with 2 sisters and 3 brothers. She always loved reading and knew from being very young that she wanted to be an author.

Candy became a journalist covering an important time in the Philippines – the people overthrew a cruel dictator in what came to be known as the ‘People Power Revolution’. In the midst of the revolution, she met her husband, who was English. With him, she moved to London and had 3 children.

When her children were older, Candy finally fulfilled her dream of becoming an author – she entered a competition called Undiscovered Voices, and she won! This led to her books being published, and she has now written several books for children.

What's It About?

Samkad dreams of becoming a mighty headhunter like his father, carrying his own weapons and etching tattoos across his chest to proclaim his greatness as a warrior. His best friend is a girl his age, Little Luki, and Little Luki wants to become a mighty warrior too... except in their culture, girls don't grow up to become warriors. The two friends have no idea about the world outside their isolated mountain village until a boy from the Lowlands turns up... a boy who can speak many tongues and who tells stories about the world outside that seem ridiculous and unbelievable especially the part about invaders called ‘Americans’ who are coming to take over the village.

Fact File

Candy wanted her books to represent her own past and heritage – she never saw herself reflected in the books she read as a child, so she set about changing that when she became an author.

Candy’s debut novel, Tall Story, was nominated for many prestigious prizes, including the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Book Prize.

While she was at school, Candy became famous for decorating the teachers’ blackboards with chalk drawings.

Before becoming an author, Candy had lots of other jobs – including drawing a weekly cartoon strip for a women’s magazine.

She knew from being 6 years old that she wanted to be an author, and read every book she could get her hands on.

To find out more about Candy, check out her website https://candygourlaybooks.wixsite.com or follow her on Twitter @CandyGourlay.

Your Reviews

Kyra from John Smeaton Academy:

I really liked the plot of this book. It was about Samkad, a young boy who is ready to become a man and his bestfriend Luki who is disappointed with her role as a girl.

I liked this book because of the exciting adventures and plot twists that happen throughout the story. I felt like these were exciting and made the plot a lot more interesting. This is also what helped me to keep reading as I feel like a lot of this book was quite boring.

What I didnt like about this book was it wasnt the best start and until I got to around chapter 5, I found it hard to pick up as it wasnt a book that I was particularly interested in.

Altogether, it was a good book with a good story but I would have liked it to be a little more interesting at the start.

Kyra gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Ethan from Corpus Christi:

This book was about Samkad who is becoming a man by getting the cut. This book was good but it didn't suit my type of genre.

Ethan gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Lauren from Roundhay School:

It was good, however at first I didn't really like the main character, but grew to tolerate him over time. Also, at one point, a character was angry at his father for lying, but then later he did the same thing, which infuriated me! The ending didn't really make sense and felt a little unresolved. Finally, I felt like the father character existed just so bad things could happen to him.

Lauren gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Hamza from Southfield Grange Trust:

This book is about a boy called Samakad who want to get 'the cut' so he can prove he is man. I was interested in the tree of dead bones where people went to pray and to ask for things.

Unfortunately this book didn't suit me as it's not the sort of story that I enjoy.

Hamza gave Bone Talk 1 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Sana from Southfield Grange Trust:

I enjoyed reading bone talk because it is a very good book.

100 years ago there was a boy called Samkad who heard that a new boy was going to arrive in the village and then everything would change.

I enjoyed reading the beginning of Bone Talk because it was interesting but then the excitement tailed off.

Sana gave Bone Talk 2 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Malachy from St.Marys menston:

this was a well written book that would be very exiting for someone who likes that sort of stuff. Unfortunately i am not into this genre so it wasn't my sort of book however it was a good book.

Malachy gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

B from Manor CE Academy :

I think that this is an excellent book as I love the attention to detail with the historical accuracy. I think that reader feels immersed in the book with the level of detail and how all the senses are used, almost making it feel like VR with the vivid imagery and the first-person perspective. One criticism of the first-person writing is that if the main character is in grave danger then you know they must survive unless it is at the very end of the book. Although, many would say that you become so encompassed by the book that the reader does not think of this.

Another strong factor of the book is that the description of the “lowlanders” seems just like anyone who had never seen the outside world would see it, as a strange person in foreign garments of clothing and with different weapons. You really begin to build up a level of intimacy with the other characters, loving the father and hating the Mangili. This, again, adds to the immersion.

B gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Jacob from corpus christi catholic college, Leeds:

Surprisingly good with a great plot - great read!

Jacob gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Caitlin from Abbey Grange Academy:

It was very interesting and informative and told a good story. It was accurate and explained everything from the native’s point of view instead of the American’s, which is nice for a change. It was a great story and I would recommend it.

Caitlin gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

ANNABEL from ROUNDHAY HIGH:

I like how it sets the scene and then goes into the story. Everything seems to happen at a steady pace except when something important happens. Its interesting to see what they do in that culture.

ANNABEL gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Marek ? from St Marys Menston:

This book was set for 100 years ago in the Philippines. Its about a young boy named Samkads who is about to become a man. I love this book and this is my favorite so far in this collection. There are some drawbacks but its not massive so its OK.

Thank you for reading see you later!

Marek ? gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Anisa from Southfield Grange Trust:

Bonetalk isn’t a very good, I wasn’t enthusiastic about it, well out of the ones I’ve read so far. It wasn’t as adventurous as memorable as the other books in the competition.

It is about a boy called Samkad who is a boy that wants to be just like is father who is a brave warrior. Samkad also has a good friend called little Luki who is a girl who also wants to be a warrior but can’t because most girls aren’t strong enough to be a true warrior.

A boy turns up though, a lowland boy who can speak many tongues. He tells the two about the life outside of their village and how he lives and what it is like and what you can do there. How you can even change sometimes. Is very complicated for someone like me though.

Anisa gave Bone Talk 2 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Samantha from Southfield Grange Trust:

Samkad lives deep in the Philippine jungle, and has never encountered anyone from outside his own tribe before. He's about to become a man, and while he's desperate to grow up, he's worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki, who isn't ready for the traditions and ceremonies of being a girl in her tribe.

I personally do not like the book because it is too gruesome. I think it is for a older age.

Samantha gave Bone Talk 2 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Jack from Corpus Christi:

I found this book very boring and it took a long time to get to the plot of the story. The characters and the setting were unique which was the only good part of the story. I didn't really enjoy the ending either. Overall I think this book is boring and I wouldn't recommend it.

Jack gave Bone Talk 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Skye from John Smeaton Academy:

This book was set for 100 years ago in the Philippines. Its about a young boy named Samkads who is about to become a man.Then i would say its a plot twist of how he had a blood brother.His father felt bad and set off to find him.When they do find him they head back to bontok wear some people trick them in doing some work for them.

I really liked it and found it very different to what the front cover makes you think its about.I would defiantly recommend this book.

Skye gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

SAFFY from JOHN SMEATON ACADEMY:

This book is about a boy named Samkad's rite of passage but just when he is about to become a man his father upsets the spirits. Then when the elders check to see how the elders were upset they found that Samkad had a blood brother. Feeling that he has failed his son, Samkad's father set off on a journey to find his son's blood brother. A little while later Samkad and Little Luki ,his best friend, run into Sam's blood brother, his aunt and a man who claims to be something called an American. When they finnaly get back to their village called Bontok they find a suprise set of guests who trick them into doing their dirty work. This book is a good read but the ending could be better and that is why i rate it a 3 . if you are looking for a book that will take you for a ride through a childs problem filled rite of passage.

SAFFY gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Areeba from Southfield grange trust :

This book gives us a taste of what is was like 100 years ago it educates on the culture and religion of the Philippines I think this book was a great idea I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it some things about it I love somethings I absolutely hate I thought this could be improved but overall it was a decent book

Areeba gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Miles from Royds:

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the mysterious feel behind the thought of there being spirit's watching over them and deciding their future. It was also interesting to learn about the facts behind how the American's attacked smaller villages. My favourite character is Luki because I think even though she is a girl it's very cool how she still wanted to help out and be a warrior. Very well written.

Miles gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.

Alfie from Corpus Christi:

I found this book to be an interesting read and I think it does a great job at telling the sad truth of the atrocities committed by the American people in the late 19th Centaury. The protagonists were interesting and fun. My problems with this book stem from the villains, for a form of media with a hero and villain to be good it has to have a relatable villain with clear motives, in this book the villains are quite forgettable and we don't get told the reason for them acting violently towards Samkads' people other than that 'they are evil'. However I did enjoy the narrative and the main characters.

Alfie gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Ogonna from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School:

Honestly this is just one of the best books I have read. I have never read a book by a filipino author and now that I have I plan to read more. The book just gets better and better.

Ogonna gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Sophie from Allerton High School:

I thought this book was different to anything I have ever read before, but in a very good way. It is a lovely book about coming of age and friendships but it wasn’t as simple as that. It includes lots of twists which are very unexpected and I enjoyed the aspect of mystery which surrounds it. My favourite character is Luki and I liked seeing her develop and mature throughout the book. I hope there be a sequel as I can’t wait to read more ?

Sophie gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Cherry from Allerton high school:

This book starts off very innocent however it suddenly turns and becomes very real. It shows a young boy turning man trying to understand how people work/nations of people and discovering that the world is not black and white.It is very well written and has history incorporated in it which makes even more real.

Cherry gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Michaela from Abbey Grange Acedemy:

It was very gripping and it incorporated history and literature. If you want to learn new information and have a gripping story at the same time, this is made for you!

Michaela gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Jemima from Abbey Grange Academy:

I enjoyed the way this was written, but I would have enjoyed a more exciting and adventurous plot line.

Jemima gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Irmante from Leeds East Academy :

This book defines the meaning of religion and it gives some kind of feeling to the reader and how it gives a kind of touch in the heart.

Irmante gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Mrs Blashill from Southfield Grange Trust:

Set 100 years ago in the Philippines the story deals with a young boy who is ready to go through the ceremony to become a man and receive his weapons.

Fate intervenes and he discovers so much about himself, his family & friends and his tribe as the story progresses. It is a real coming of age novel.

I found the book to be really interesting, I knew nothing of the history of the Philippines and although the author says she’s had to rely on tenuous historical details I would love to hear more from her.

Mrs Blashill gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Amirah from Allerton Grange :

This book is more than just a book. It's about how humans effect each other from different cultures and religions. It defines the meaning of equality.I loved how I learnt lessons throughout the book. This book was lovely to read.

Amirah gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Elisha from Cardinal Heenan:

This book gives a slice of history on subject of conquering land for an empire. I would recommend this book to people who like history but don’t really want to know the real facts, only to know what it was like. I really enjoyed reading this book even though I thought I wouldn’t like it at first as it isn’t really part of the genre I usually read.

What I don’t understand is why the book ended in the way it did because I found it really confusing. It suddenly goes from a lot of action to a happy ending so I think it could have been a bit more less confusing if it wasn’t so sudden.

Overall it is a good book that you should definitely read.

Elisha gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Mara from Benton Park School:

Personally, I felt that this book was not for me, although I loved the way that Candy Gourlay incorporated her culture in to the book. I definitely thought that this book was aimed at older audiences, simply because of the tricky concept to understand. Altogether, I would rate this book 3/5.

Mara gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Ben from crawshaw:

this book looked interesting and I thought it didn't live up to my expectation and ended up being not very interesting though the setting was an interesting idea

Ben gave Bone Talk 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Shannon from Corpus Christi Catholic College:

It is a good book with lots of action and adventure, the characters showed a lot of different personality and the plot told you a lot of history and what Americans did 100 years ago, good book would recommend for people who like action

Shannon gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson.

Aya from Southfield Grange Trust:

The book is about a tribe who lived in the Philippines 100 years ago. Samkad has just become a warrior and wants to earn his shield, spear and axe.

I enjoyed it because it was interesting, I didn’t know about the Philippines before. The story is about families protecting each other.

Aya gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Rain from Southfield Grange Trust:

This novel is about a young boy called Samkad and his tribe in Bontok. His tribe lives in the mountains and they are very religious, they would often sacrifice animals to their god Lumawig. One day Samkad was called by the ancients and his Father to the House of Men, the ancients told him he is going to become a man. They received a news that Americans had invaded.

I kind of like this book because I never knew there were tribes in the Philippines before and I didn’t know they could be that religious. But I kind of dislike this book because it really wasn’t by type. Overall it is pretty good.

Rain gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Harry from Leeds East academy:

Really good book but sadly not for me. I love how she used tribal culture as inspiration and enjoyed reading the book but overall I just couldn't get the plot

Harry gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Violet from Benton park:

I think that the book was exhilarating and 10-16 year olds could read it with pleasure(although I personally wish that I had read it sooner.

It is about a young boy called Samkad who simply wants to grow up but when his father kills a snake(a messenger warning them of danger) all hell breaks loose. Can his friend,Luki,and his ancestors save him and will he have to make a few sacrifices along the way.

This is a wonderful story that will touch even the toughest of hearts. As it is from Samkad's perspective it shows how he feels along his journey: loss, fright and regret are just a few of many examples. My favourite character is definitely Luki as she is determined not to be forced to act like a 'lady'when almost The whole village is determined to make her. The only negative thing about it is that it nearly made me cry on more than one occasion.

If there are any of the older children reading this then I would suggest that after reading your books you should definitely try it.

Finally, I would like to say that I wondered how, in such tough times, Samkad and most of his friends and family stuck to their religion.

Violet gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Edith from Cardinal Heeenan Catholic High school:

This book was really got and I could not put it down so I ended up reading it in a day! I really enjoyed it and I think this book is one of the best! I also liked the fact that it was set in the olden days. I felt all the feelings that the characters felt and I also now like the name Samkad!

Edith gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Claire from St.Mary's Menston:

I didn't enjoy this book to start with but I started to enjoy it from about half way through when the pace quickened.It is a really interesting account of how a sleepy village with it's own rituals and beliefs can have that turned upside down when Westerners arrive. I think it brings up some interesting questions about whether this is right or not? It is based on fact so if you wanted to find out more about this point in history then I would recommend it.

Claire gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Hamza from Southfield Grange Campus:

Bone talk is about a boy that’s called Samkad who lives in the a small village in the middle of nowhere. Once you reach a certain age you have to get a cut which makes you become a man. So Samkad really wants to become a man however something really upsetting happens which means Samkad has to wait to become a man.

The story is in first person which creates a good effect because we can see how the character feels and his emotions throughout the book.

Personally I disliked the book because it didn’t have the greatest ending which made me dislike the book. However in the book there is a some really fascinating parts of the book which can make you laugh and be upset. This book is a rollercoaster.

My favourite character was Samkad, purely because of his strength and bravery.

The story was good for my age group because it didn’t have and graphic or scary bits of the book.

Hamza gave Bone Talk 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Child I by Steve Tasane.

Rakia from Southfield Grange Campus:

Young Samkad is desperate to become a man. His father is a valued and respected warrior within the Bontoc community, and, to Samkad, the epitome of what it means to be a man. If only Samkad could prove to the elders that he too possesses such physical and inner strength. However, when a spiral of events prevents the ceremony that would establish Samkad’s manhood from taking place, the protagonist can only feel rage and bitterness at the injustice. But, with passing time and impending danger, Samkad learns that he must put others before himself, that the security of his culture and people is of far higher importance than his manhood.

This book is thrilling shows the human instinct to protect what is yours really well, it keeps you lurking for more and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It shows how a strong heart can be put before an iron fist. This book was absolutely thrilling, had the perfect balance of adventure and moral, I think lots of people could learn from this book what it’s like to be a leader, with a good heart, rather than a leader with a lust for blood.

I really liked it as it is more of a fantasy book, I would say though, that if you don’t like adventure and fantasy this book is definitely not for you. Although, you should give it a try because it has a captivating storyline and an important message is written in this book.

Rakia gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Diana from Southfield Grange Campus:

I personally really loved Bone Talk! It definitely showed a completely new side of storytelling and different backgrounds which I fell in love with more and more with each turn of a page.

I loved the different characters’ personalities and beliefs; it really pulled the entire story together into one big masterpiece. I really liked the entire new culture introduced which sparked a real interest in me. The book really intrigued me and has definitely inspired me to read more about the history behind the story. It is something I think is worth reading about because it will allow me to understand more of the story as well as gain a deeper understanding of the time period, which would enable me to empathise with the characters and storyline even more.

My favourite character definitely would be Samkad’s father. He really had his personality shown off in 3D. I saw his tough side, loving side, brave side, and ruthless side which really made me empathise with his character. However, every single character had their characteristics presented in such a way where I really understood how they felt at each moment, and could really build a bond with each one. Gourlay’s words simply engulfed me into the world of Bone Talk.

Candy Gourlay’s methods of finishing a chapter were really what kept my head in the book. Each chapter ended so smoothly and perfectly that it made me addicted to turning each page and being swallowed by Gourlay’s majestic words.

Diana gave Bone Talk 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.

Miss Busby from Corpus Christi Catholic College:

This lovely book covers the spiritual rituals, traditions and primitive ways of the tribe living in the Philippines at the time of the American invasion in 1899.

Samdak is a ten-year-old boy who is desperate to become a man and prove to his father that he is ready to be a true warrior. He soon learns the difference between being a boy and being a man when he puts his tribe at risk by putting himself first.

It's a great coming of age story about trust, faith, hope and friendship.

Some parts of the story are a little graphic for younger readers but it's a real eye-opener into the life of the Bontoc tribe.

A great historical adventure!

Miss Busby gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Mud by Emily Thomas.

Anna from corpus christi catholic college:

This book opened my eyes to see life in lots of different ways and to more truly notice different types of religions and cultures, and how humans effect each other. In addition to this, the book shows equality and is packed full of language features, and is crammed full of emotion high and low. I enjoyed the fact of mystery and the unknown in this book. A great book!

Anna gave Bone Talk 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Below Zero by Dan Smith.