Silent to the Bone

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.

Discussion guides:


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
This entry was posted in Character-driven, Children's novels, social issues, strong characters, Voice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.