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Bone by Bone

David is nine. He knows all the bones of the human body. When he was born, his father hung a skeleton in his room and taught him the names, bone by bone by bone. David is going to be a doctor like his father.

David’s best friend is Malcolm. He knows the bone names too.

But this is Tennessee in the 1950s—the deep South of America, and a time of brutal racial intolerance and tension. It’s the territory of the secret society of white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan–and Malcolm is black.

Drawing on her own childhood memories, Tony Johnston, one of America’s most revered writers, brings us a universal story of the innocent purity of friendship amidst the bone-chilling horror of racism.

About the Author

Tony Johnston lives in San Marino, California, where she writes full time. She is the author of more than eighty books for children, and Bone By Bone is her first Young Adult/crossover novel. In it Johnston draws on her own childhood experiences growing up in the 1940s and 50s in a family where racial intolerance was ingrained.

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208 pp
Text publication date:
4 August 2008
AU Price:
racism, friendship, family, identity
Reading age:
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Praise for Tony Johnston
andBone by Bone

‘Johnston refuses to sacrifice the humanity of any of her characters in this explosive tale.’

‘A fierce little gem of storytelling.’