E .L. Konigsburg’s Silent to the Bone is a great book for older middle grade readers (grade six and up). Connor’s friend Branwell is in custody for hurting his baby sister, and Connor is sure Branwell didn’t do it. And Branwell can no longer speak to defend himself. As Connor struggles to be the friend he wants to be, he reaches out to his own half-sister. Connor discovers silence can be a helpful tool, and it says more than one might think.
“I had to say something, but I didn’t know what, and that became probably the seventh time since Branwell went silent that I wished that I was, too, because the truth is that if you don’t say anything, you can’t say anything wrong.” p. 90
“And maybe I was learning that sometimes saying nothing is a very good choice.” p. 156
The book effectively explores fear, shame, trauma, divorce, family and friendship–what a list–in a real-to-life, page-turning story.
- http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/simonschuster/SilentBone_TG.pdf This one has some good, thought provoking questions to aid classroom discussion.
- http://www.tcnj.edu/~masciol2/Lesson%20Plans.htm A New Jersey teacher’s complete unit for grade eight with objectives, lessons and assignments included.