Ghosts of Ordinary Objects Bone's gift

Book 1: Bone's Gift

Boyd's Mill Press (2018)

In this supernatural historical mystery, twelve-year-old Bone possesses a Gift that allows her to see the stories in everyday objects. When she receives a note that says her mother's Gift killed her, Bone seeks to unravel the mysteries of her mother's death, the schisms in her family, and the Gifts themselves.


In a southwest Virginia coal-mining town in 1942, Bone Phillips has just reached the age when most members of her family discover their Gift. Bone has a Gift that disturbs her; she can sense stories when she touches an object that was important to someone. She sees both sad and happy--the death of a deer in an arrowhead, the pain of a beating in a baseball cap, and the sense of joy in a fiddle. There are also stories woven into her dead mama's butter-yellow sweater--stories Bone yearns for and fears. When Bone receives a note that says her mama's Gift is what killed her, Bone tries to uncover the truth. Could Bone's Gift do the same? Here is a beautifully resonant coming-of-age tale about learning to trust the power of your own story.

The Setting: Southwest Virginia, 1942.
Bone lives in a coal mining camp along the New River. From top left, (a) view of the New River near McCoy, Virginia, (b) tipple loading coal onto the train, (b) typical mine interior from early twentieth century, (d) miners carrying their dinner buckets (also called lunch pails).


It's 1942. The US entered World War II at the end of 1941, and now folks are beginning to feel the effects of the war. (1-2) Goods like sugar and coffee are being rationed, (3) people are holding scrap drives to find metal to build ships and tanks, (4) fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands are joining up or getting drafted, and (5) ships are sinking--and soldiers are dying.
The Ordinary Objects (and their ghosts)
Bone touches a number of ordinary objects, each with their own story. (1) a simple rock tells the story of drowning boy, (2) a fiddle reveals happy times and sad, (3) a miner's dinner bucket tells of tragedy, (4) toy whispers of hope and loss, (5) a baseball cap shows her both violence and courage, and (6) her mother's butter yellow sweater reveals the biggest story of all.
The Stories

Bone loves a good story--as long as it's not true. She particularly loves Appalachian and other folktales.

Above, the Jack Tale Players from Ferrum, Virginia tell the story of "Hardy Hardhead."

The Raleigh Little Theater puts on "Jack Tales: Appalachian Adventures!"


Created By
angie smibert


Created with images by skeeze - "mountain sunset silhouette" • theSOARnet - "outdoors park landscape" • jasonwoodhead23 - "TIPPLE WEST COLEMAN" • Yorkshire Reckless & Proud - "Old Pilley (51)" • j3net - "Miners" • Cassowary Colorizations - "V8 rationing" • Archives New Zealand - "WWII Ration Books" • dok1 - "World War 2" • Rob React - "i've got no context for these six guys" • roberthuffstutter - "TO BE BRIEF, IT IS ADVICE TO THE MILITARY TO KEEP INFORMATION ABOUT BATTLE PLANS SECRET..." • benscherjon - "coal cabbage burned" • Rosmarie Voegtli - "stone" • j3net - "Miners" • Andrew J. Sutherland - "Many a good tune" • Loreak Mendian - "FERRAN YELLOW KNIT SWEATER" • smoorenburg - "What a front porch should be"

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