Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Sometimes when we lose someone we love to death, part of us hopes, or maybe even knows that that person is still, somehow here. Maybe they come in a dream, or maybe out of the corner of your eye as you are combing your hair in the morning. Some may not believe, and shake their head. They believe their mind is just playing games with them. But what if its real? What if our passed away loved ones are sent to watch over us? What if there really are ghosts?

In The Graveyard book, Nobody Owens, or Bod for short, believed ghosts really do exist. He believed it, because he had proof. Bod’s foster parents were ghosts, his friends were ghosts, and his home was a graveyard, at least ever since he could remember. The Graveyard Book follows Bod through his childhood, and his adventures in the graveyard. Bod learns the secrets of the graveyard through his mentor, who is not yet dead, but not yet living. Bod also explores the graveyard and encounters a witch, a suspicious indigo man in the hill, and a group of dangerous ghouls. The only rule: Bod cannot go out of the graveyard. The rule never bothered Bod until he finds that the reason he can’t go beyond the graveyard fence is because his real family was murdered and the murder is still out after him. The graveyard was keeping Bod safe. As Bod grows and becomes a teenager, his curiosity starts to get the better of him. He wonders who he really is, what his real name was, and who was his real family. The home that Bod thought he always belonged to may not have been his home at all. Could he find out who he really was or will he accept who he is?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, can be used in middle-school classrooms as an independent read book or for English book reports. Its use of morals and adventure can help any middle-schoolerthrough those awkward stages of adolescence. Bod goes through the challenge of finding where he really belongs. Every pre-teen, as they come into adulthood, goes though a stage of belonging and finding who they want to become. Just as Bod finds the truth of his past and where he really belongs, so do teenagers entering adolescence. The book is a little young for the older high school teenagers, and may not have the depth for a whole class book and discussion, but it does have a great young adult literature moral. Sometimes growing up is hard to cope with, but with a little understanding and knowledge, it is not as bad as it seems.


Tom Philion said...

sounds like a great book--i'm putting this one on my reading list, as I've wanted to read others by Gaiman for some time.

The plot here reminds me of The Book of Lost Things, an award winner from a few years ago, Alex Award, I believe. It was written for adults, but features a child protagonist. Learn more at

ok. now the big question: who are you, averch? :)


Amy said...

I just have to say I'm so jealous you got to pick this book. I LOVE Gaiman - American Gods is one of my favorite books. This is definitely one I plan on reading sometime as well.

I'm glad you mentioned it might be good for middle school students. I'm student teaching 7th grade in January so I will keep this book in mind. It sounds like it has a good "middle-school message."

averch said...

Whoops forgot to put my name
~Amy Vercillo

Donna N said...


I enjoyed your post. Belonging is such a big part of teens life. It's nice for them to be able to read about issues that really pertain to them at this time in their lives. They mystery and adventure is sure to capture their attention.


Mallory Umar said...

This book sounds interesting, it definitely seems like a personal book rather than a class assignment. It questions the world we know and live in. Everyone, in a sense, is enclosed in some fence and only knows the reality of their own world. It is scary to think of and step into other worlds, but it helps to give us a full picture view.