The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Book Info
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
©2008 Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0060530921

Plot Summary
When Bod was a toddler, his entire family was murdered. Being too young to understand what happened, Bod crawled out of his crib and wound up in the graveyard near his house. It was then that he became the only living resident of the graveyard, to be raised by the ghosts, werewolves, and other occupants of the cemetery. When he is 14, it is discovered that the murderer is looking to find Bod and finish off the family he had set out to obliterate so many years before. Bod must use his courage, strength and the skills he’s learned from his ghostly teachers to face the terrors of both the living and the dead.

Reader’s Annotation
Orphaned as a toddler, Bod’s childhood was less than conventional, being raised as the only living resident of a cemetery by the ghosts, werewolves and other graveyard occupants. Now 14, Bod learns that the man who murdered his entire family wants to finish the job. Bod must use his courage, strength and the skills he’s learned from his ghostly teachers to face the terrors of both the living and the dead.

Critical Evaluation
Mostly specializing in adult literature and a love for the macabre, Gaiman has only taken a few forays into children’s and young adult literature. The Graveyard Book is one of his more recent contributions and probably the most well executed. The book is a dark coming of age tale of an orphaned boy who is raised by ghosts and other inhabitants of a cemetery. Through Bod’s somewhat morbid tale is a story that is rich in power and profundity with underlying lessons to be gleaned. I thoroughly enjoyed The Graveyard Book and found Gaiman’s writing to be impeccable. He combines the perfect mix of fantasy and magic, with vivid descriptions and valuable lessons and morals to be learned.

Information about the Author
Neil Gaiman is an English author, though he now calls the United States home. As a child, he was a voracious reader which paved the way to a career in writing. In his early 20s, he pursued journalism by conducting interviews and writing book reviews as a means of taking steps towards eventually getting published. His first published books were a couple of biographies before journeying into the world of comics and graphic novels. Starting in the early 90’s Gaiman began writing more novels and prose for adults, children and young adults.

Gaiman currently resides in Minnesota in close proximity to his first wife and their three children. Gaiman recently married Amanda Palmer of the punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, and is also well known for his ongoing friendship with singer/songwriter Tori Amos, who has mentioned him in a number of songs, and been written into a few of his stories. Gaiman is also very active and interactive with his fans through the mediums of Twitter and his blog.

Visit the author’s website.

Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Curriculum Ties

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss Bod’s graveyard family. Is it as unconventional as it may seem?

Reading Level/ Interest Age

Challenge Issues

  • Violence
  • Murder

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.

Why Included?
It is a magical and exceptional story that everyone should read. This was another book that I couldn’t imagine not including in the blog project.


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