Bone Talk is Candy Gourlay’s third novel that features a coming of age story set within the mountains of the Philippines during the Philippine-American War.
Samkad lived 100 years ago in the Philippines. He has never met anyone from outside his tribe. He’s desperate to go through the ceremony where you become a man, but he’s worried it will take him away from his best friend, Luki, as men and women aren’t allowed to mix. But then his long-lost brother returns, telling him that these strange people called Americans have arrived, they’ve attacked the lowland towns, and they’re heading for Samkad’s village….
Citation from The International Youth Library:
Filipino-British author Candy Gourlay’s third book for children is a compelling piece of historical fiction with a special setting. At the end of the 19th century, Cordillera, a highland region of the Philippines, is the home of the Bontok people, who live a traditional life unaffected by western civilization. Boys and girls are striving to fulfill (or break out of) their gender-specific roles to become brave warriors and caring house wives respectively, and decisions are discussed with the elders, and guided by the assistance of the ancestors’ spirits. When one day, a light-skinned, blue-eyed, tall stranger – an American – appears in their remote mountain village, the daily routine of ten-year-old Samkad and his best friend, tomboy Little Luki, is turned upside down: Foreign languages, guns, deceit, exploitation, and war enter their world. This gripping novel imagines what living in a country on the brink of colonisation might have been like. Told from the point of view of a courageous indigenous boy, the book whisks readers away into a fascinating, unfamiliar world.
AWARD: The International Youth Library 2019 White Raven
AUTHOR: Candy Gourlay
PUBLISHER: Anvil Publishing
DATE PUBLISHED: 2018