11 June 2011

The Graveyard Book

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 6-10
Pages: 312

Nobody Owens. Gaimen names his protagonist Nobody. This allows the character to become everyone and no one all at the same time. His entire life, the “adults” around him try desperately to keep him safe. His danger is all too real and far more tangible than most young people fact today. This book really can speak to adults in a way that kids may not understand though. Parents understand the fear for their children more than children every seem to. Although, one does hope that a more mature reader can understand this aspect of the book and perhaps understand their own parents a little bit more.  In the end, Bod must go out into the world as an adult and seek his own fortune; his parents cannot follow. The parallel to parenting today is strong. Although parents can watch over their kids more in the “real” world because well, they are alive, unlike Bod’s parents who are confined by the walls of the graveyard being ghosts and all, but that reality that in order for a child to really become an adult, the adults must let them go completely is something both children and parents can really relate to. 

This book really lends itself to a book talk. The song Mrs. Owens sings to her son in the beginning and finally completing at the end truly tells the ultimate story of the novel. 

“Sleep my little babby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken. . .
Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure. . .
Face your life
Its pain, its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.” (Gaimen 306)

The person giving the book talk should be a woman and a mother. Why? Simply put, with the knowledge of what it is to be a mother, this song could actually be sung to the audience with real heart. Afterall, what mother doesn’t want her child to be safe and also have the world? Any librarian could do the talk, but to really make it count, one would really have to put oneself in a mother’s shoes. A mother that could never follow or watch over her child again; this would simply be easier if the person giving the talk was already a mum.

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