Nominated for the Costa Children’s Book prize for 2018, Bone Talk is set over 100 years ago in the Philippines, during the Philippine-American War. Samkad and his best friend, Luki, want to become warriors, but whereas this is an expected rite of passage for Samkad, for Luki, as a girl, this is unlikely to happen. When a face from the past returns to their village, bringing news of a war that only the elders seem to know about, we sense that great change is afoot.
I really enjoyed this book. The tale is gripping and the theme is universal: what will you do when change and responsibility is thrust upon you? Candy Gourlay’s evocative descriptions of the landscape and atmosphere make you feel as if you are there, walking the paths behind Samkad and Luki.
I also want to highlight the amazing book cover. There is so much attention to detail, drawing upon the key narrative threads. I will definitely be seeking out more books by this author in the future.