Thursday, January 24, 2008
Bone by Bone by Bone
Johnson, Tony. 2007. BONE BY BONE BY BONE. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. ISBN 9781596431133 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
It is the 1950s and David, who is white, has a new best friend, Malcolm, who is black. In fact, they are “blood brothers.” David’s father, the town doctor is racist and most likely a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He forbids their friendship, but the ties between the two boys are too strong and David disobeys his father. David’s father finally says they can play together but that he will shoot Malcolm if he ever steps foot in their home.
As the boys grow older, his dad’s threats to Malcolm grow stronger. And, when in a moment of danger, Malcolm enters the house, the shotgun is pointed at him.
The book is a contrast between the seemingly idyllic small town life of the 50s and the realism of racism. Johnson, in writing the book, seems to be trying to come to terms with her own father’s racist views.
Not only would this book be useful in a historical study of racism, but it would also work for lessons in prejudice, friendship, loyalty, and family relations. The subject matter is dark but it is beautifully written novel in its powerful simplicity.
For books on the civil rights movement, see the annotation for Draper’s FIRE FROM THIS ROCK ISBN 9780525477204.
Books on friendships and race-relations:
Bernard, Emily. SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE: WRITINGS ON INTERRACIAL FRIENDSHIPS. ISBN 9780060082772
Coleman, Evelyn. BORN IN SIN. ISBN 978-0689838330
Draper, Sharon. ROMIETTE AND JULIO. ISBN 9780689821806
By Janet Hilbun