Bone Talk

Bone Talk

Candy Gourlay,

Bone Talk

David Fickling Books, 2018

ISBN 9781788450171

11-14 Shortlist 2019


On this shortlist:

We have received 5 reviews of Bone Talk. You can add a review or scroll down to read reviews.

Write a Review

To send in your review of Bone Talk, please fill in the info below and click the button labelled Send Review Now. Reviews will be checked by our team before they appear on the website. Your last name will not appear on the site, but we need to know who you are in case you win a prize!

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 or follow her on Twitter @CandyGourlay.

Your Reviews

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.