Reading the Bones Teachers’ Guide


Short-listed for the 2009 Silver Birch Award, commended for the 2009 Best Books for Kids & Teens

Due to circumstances beyond her control, 12-year-old Peggy Henderson has to move to the quiet town of Crescent Beach, British Columbia, to live with her aunt and uncle. Without a father and separated from her mother, who’s looking for work, Peggy feels her unhappiness increasing until the day she and her uncle start digging a pond in the backyard and she realizes the rock she’s been trying to pry from the ground is really a human skull.

Peggy eventually learns that her home and the entire seaside town were built on top of a 5000-year-old Coast Salish fishing village. With the help of an elderly archaeologist, a woman named Eddy, Peggy comes to know the ancient storyteller buried in her yard in a way that few others can – by reading the bones.

As life with her aunt becomes more and more unbearable, Peggy looks to the old Salish man from the past for help and answers.

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I think kids should read this book because it is quick, easy-to-read, fun and interesting I enjoyed the variety of personalities in the characters. The pictures that I envisioned were vivid, there was lots of details given. The conclusion left me satisfied and it seemed original.

... centers its fascinating - and informative - plot on a middle-schooler who uncovers a human skull in her backyard. With help from an archaeologist, she learns her town was built on top of a 5,000 year-old fishing village.

It's an entertaining read that also manages – in its story twists relating to the potential fate of precious artifacts – to nudge the reader subtly towards an understanding of the importance of modern cultural resource management.

Black Press (March, 2008)

... it is an interesting read and certainly presents some of the enigmatic allure of archaeology in enticing terms.

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Reading the Bones is an excellent story that shows the importance of the past to the present, but also the importance of learning who you are.

CM Magazine

About the Authors

Gina McMurchy-Barber

Posted by KathrynB on December 6, 2014

Gina McMurchy-Barber

Gina McMurchy-Barber is the author of three previous books in the Peggy Henderson adventure series: Reading the Bones (shortlisted for the Silver Birch Award), Broken Bones, and Bone Deep. Her novel Free as a Bird was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. She is also a recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. Gina lives in Surrey, British Columbia.