Candy Gourlay
Bone Talk

David Fickling Books (11+)

978-1788450171 (hardback)

Samkad lives in a tribe deep in the Philippine jungle at the end of the nineteenth century, and has never encountered anyone from outside his own tribe before. He’s about to become a man, and while he’s desperate to grow up, he’s worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. However, Samkad’s world is about to change utterly. A strange man with white skin arrives in his village, and Samkad discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of people called ‘Americans’. Americans who are bringing war, and burning, to Samuel’s home.

Powerful, often poetic writing immerses the reader in an authentic sense of a different time and culture and wonderfully evokes the physicality of a very different place. At the same time very relatable characters and universal themes of coming of age and fear of the different make this a gripping historical adventure. Well researched, convincing and written with respect, this is a book that takes the reader on a memorable journey and stays in the mind for a long time.


Candy Gourlay is of Filipino heritage, and began her career as a journalist for the opposition press during the People Power Revolution before becoming an author. Her debut novel Tall Story won the Crystal Kite Award in 2011 and was shortlisted for a further 13 awards including the Blue Peter Prize, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Branford Boase. Candy is fascinated by colonialism and travelled to her book's remote mountain setting whilst writing Bone Talk. She is a positive force within the BAME movement in the publishing world and has spoken with wisdom and compassion about cultural appropriation. Candy now lives in North London.

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