A Box of Bones

Once open, this box can never be closed… 

Twelve-year-old Kallie despises nonsense. She believes there’s a rational logical explanation for everything. Grandpa Jess, however, has other ideas and insists on taking Kallie to frivolous wastes of time like their town’s local Festival of Fools.
There, Kallie meets a faceless man who gives her a strange puzzle box. Intrigued, Kallie sets to work at unlocking its secrets and unwittingly lets something out. From here Kallie’s life begins to entangle with another world–a world where a young bone carver journeys with her master to sell wares to a wicked Empress.
The sights, sounds, smells, and spells of this other world are beginning to leak into Kallie’s. If she can’t decipher the meaning of her own story, “the end” might be far from happy.


A suspenseful mystery with haunting touches of fairy-tale magic. — Kirkus Review
A clever story about stories… — Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books
A compelling portrait of Kallie’s grief and her struggle to understand herself. —Publisher’s Weekly
Written by a master storyteller, A Box of Bones is all about truth, lies, and the stories we tell each other in order to survive. —CM Magazine

Awards and Nominations

Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Teacher’s Guide

Click to download a copy the teacher’s guide!

Book Trailer

Click here to view a book trailer created by librarian Karen Upper!