The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Dave McKean
Publisher: Harper Collins, New York
Year: 2008
ISBN- 978-0060530921
pages: 312
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Topics: paranormal, family
Media Type: Book

Grade level: 6-adult

Reader's annotation: A normal boy is raised by ghosts in a graveyard protected from the man from who murdered his family.

Summary: After his parents are coldly murdered in the night, the toddler wanders outside, up the road, and into the graveyard. There he is protected by the dead who are buried there and looked after by Silas - someone who lives both in the world of the dead and the living. Bod, short for Nobody, Owens is a sweet innocent boy who is open and caring. He makes a friend when he is 5, a girl named Scarlett whose parents think he is an imaginary friend. At this point the reader realizes that Bod has abilities that are a little out of the ordinary. When Silas has to go away for a while Miss Lupescu comes and takes care of him. Bod doesn’t appreciate what she is teaching him until he makes the mistake of trusting the wrong characters who visit the graveyard. However, Miss Lupescu comes to the rescue and Bod learns his lesson. There are several interesting characters in Bod’s life to keep him occupied but the knowledge that a man is out there who wants to kill him weighs on Bod’s mind. When Scarlett returns as a 15-year-old she brings danger as well as a chance for retribution.
After I read the book I listened to the audio version which is read by Neil Gaiman and it was even more engaging the second time around. The CD has great music at the beginning and end of each CD by Bela Fleck.

Evaluation: Winner of the 2008 Newbery Award this book definitely deserves it. Story is engaging and charming with memorable characters. Although the story is built on some creepy events it doesn't feel like a horror story.

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.