Bibliographic information: The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins, 2008. $17.99. 312p. ISBN-13: 978-0060530921.
Summary: After his mother and father are murdered by a Jack of all trades, a baby climbs out of his crib and wanders into the night to escape the vicious killer. This is unfortunate for Jack, because the baby was his prime target. Although, the baby ends up in the graveyard where a nice ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens who had no children of their own, takes him in. It is decided among the other graveyard attendants that the Owenses will raise the baby and they all name him Nobody, or Bod for short.The mysterious Silas helps sponsor Bod’s upbringing and education. Being in the graveyard helps protect Bod from Jack for a good long time, but Jack eventually finds out where Bod is staying and will try anything to get to him. His graveyard family protects Bod as much as they can, but will Jack get to him after all?
Reading level and interest level: RL: grade 6 and up IL: age 10 and up
Review: This is a captivating book about a little boy named Nobody (aka Bod). After his parents were killed by a dangerous murderer, Bod, being a baby, crawls to the graveyard and is taken in by a nice ghost couple. He is raised in the graveyard and sponsored by a mysterious man named Silas. The murderer, Jack, who killed Bod’s parents when he was a kid is still after him and will do anything to find his target, Bod. The other members of the graveyard lend Bod their help and keep him protected as much as they can, being ghosts, but Jack is relentless. This book is a wonderful story filled with a delightful cast of ghosts for the characters. Told in a narrative that is sure to reel you in. It may hold a few horrors and dreadful scenes, but the story is a happy one about hope and life. Children will love reading about the little boy named Nobody and discovering the mystery of his past and future. This book is a great choice for all teen readers.
Readers’ annotation: You were raised in a cemetery by ghosts and witches. Will you be able to face the real world?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: The ghosts in this book will show young adults that they do not need to be afraid of them. They will be able to use this book as a tool to fight their fears.
Issues present: This book has violence and ghosts. Both of which people would object to. Some may think it is too scary for children to read, but it is a good scapegoat for children. They can read the book and be able to face their fears.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Nobody “Bod’s” character.
Discuss life as being raise by ghost.
Genre or subject: Fantasy: ghosts, death
Readalikes: Hallow, Anya’s Ghost, The Name of the Star, Paper Valentine, Anna Dressed in Blood
Author’s website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/
Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (2009), Newbery Medal (2009), Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel (2009), World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (2009), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Children’s Literature (2009) Cybils Award for Middle Grade Fantasy & Science Fiction (2008), Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year (2009), An ALA Notable Children’s Book for Middle Readers (2009), ALA Teens’ Top Ten (2009), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2009), Indies Choice Book Award for Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction): (2009), Carnegie Medal in Literature (2010), British Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (2009)
Reviews: School Library Journal: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6652617.html; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Graveyard-Book-Neil-Gaiman/pid=2835797; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-053092-1; Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/neil-gaiman/the-graveyard-book/
Why I chose it: This is a long loved book of mine and after working on a topic project about paranormal spiritual beings I thought this would be a good addition to my collection.