Do you remember warm summer nights that you spent reading when you were a teen? Can you remember being in a nice soft chair or a hammock and losing all sense of time as you read a wonderful story? The pages turned, almost without you being aware that it was you doing this. This is how I spent part of last week. I was reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, exactly the kind of book I might have read all those years ago as a teen.
The Graveyard Book is distinguished by the fact that it won both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals, the medals for the best children’s books in the United States and the United Kingdom respectively. This is a young adult book, but it was recommended to me by someone who is thirteen as well as by s friend for my book club. It would be a great book for a family to read aloud.
Without giving anything away, this is the story of Nobody Owens – called Bod for short. Bod is growing up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts, because his own family were murdered by a man named “Jack”. Bod is as normal as you can be in his circumstances and, of course, you can have lots of adventures in a graveyard. In fact, if you do think of reading this, a graveyard might be a nice shady place to read on a hot summer day. I spent a few hours reading this book on the bench pictured above. To the best of my knowledge, I was not near a graveyard. You can see that this is a pleasant spot and I recommend that you find a pleasant spot to read this book as well.
I read the 2008 Harper Collins hardcover edition of this book. It contained such extras as Gaiman’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech. It was a great speech. There was also the author’s account of how he came to write this story in this edition. This is inspiring – a reminder that authors work and work until they get their writing just right…and then they work some more.