The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Dave McKean
On Sale: 9/30/2008
Buy It
Hardcover   |   Library   |   Paperback   |   Adobe eBook Reader   |   Gemstar eBook   |   Audible   |   Microsoft Reader   |   MobiPocket   |   Palm Reader   |   WMA   |   Sony   |   CD

“The boundaries are always there—between the graveyard and the world beyond, between life and death, and the crossing of them.” - Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. . . .

“The boundaries are always there—between the graveyard and the world beyond, between life and death, and the crossing of them.” - Neil Gaiman

Play The Games

Graveyard Sudoku
Cryptic Connection
Cryptic Connection
Eternal Words
Eternal Words
Reader Reviews

“This book is wonderful with an appreciation of all life – dead and not – and celebrates differences and likenesses. Gaiman’s characters are strong, believable, and very interesting. The quirky sense of humor, the unusual setting, and everything else was wonderful. I loved this book! “
   — Susan (North Little Rock, AR)

“This is one of the most thrilling, and enchanting books I have read in some time. A charming tale that will keep readers young and old turning the pages to find out what happens next.”
   —  Daniel (Fall River, MA)

“Bod is an unusual boy…this only touches on the adventure and odd nature of this story. Neil Gaiman takes an idea that could go well beyond horror and haunting and creates a compelling story. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the dangers of the living world? Read this book and find out!”
   —  Susan (Saint Paul, MN)

The Graveyard Book is an excellent book, full of adventure and mystery. Neil Gaiman skillfully creates a world where the dead sleep and dream in solitude, oblivious to the outside world until a tiny baby crawls in their cemetery to stay. The line between living and dead blurs in the baby’s eyes as he is re-named Bod and grows up amongst the tombstones, fed by a vampire (who is also his guardian) and taught lessons by ghosts and a werewolf. Fast paced and highly enjoyable, I did not want to put this book down.”
   — Suzi (San Jose, CA)

“I read this book on a stormy night and shivered as I turned each page. I can’t wait for another stormy night to read it again.”
   —  Victoria (Brooklyn, IN)

Critic Reviews

“Gaiman has a true gift for narrative and a delightfully light touch, and there are humorous details along with spine-chilling ones. YAs will race through this fine tale and enjoy every magical, creepy moment.”
   — KLIATT (Starred Review)

“Wistful, witty, wise—and creepy. This needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child.”
   — Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)

“Gaiman writes with charm and humor, and again he has a real winner.”
   — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)

“An utterly captivating tale…this is a rich story with broad appeal and is highly recommended for teens of all ages. ” 
   — Booklist (Starred Review)

“This is, quite frankly, the best book Neil Gaiman has ever written. How he has managed to combine fascinating, friendly, frightening and fearsome in one fantasy I shall never know, but he has pulled it off magnificently - perfect for Halloween and any other time of the year.”
   — Diana Wynne Jones, author of The Chronicles of Chrestomanci

“I wish my younger self could have had the opportunity to read and re-read this wonderful book, and my older self wishes that I had written it.”
   — Garth Nix, author of The Abhorsen Trilogy

“It takes a graveyard to raise a child. My favorite thing about this book was watching Bod grow up in his fine crumbly graveyard with his dead and living friends. The Graveyard Book is another surprising and terrific book from Neil Gaiman.”
   — Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife

“After finishing The Graveyard Book, I had only one thought — I hope there’s more. I want to see more of the adventures of Nobody Owens, and there is no higher praise for a book.”
   — Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter novels

The Graveyard Book is endlessly inventive, masterfully told and, like Bod himself, too clever to fit into only one place. This is a book for everyone. You will love it to death.”
   — Holly Black, co–creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Graveyard Book manages the remarkable feat of playing delightful jazz riffs on Kipling’s classic Jungle Books. One might call this book a small jewel, but in fact it’s much bigger within than it looks from the outside.”
   — Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn

The Graveyard Book is everything everyone loves about Neil Gaiman, only multiplied many times over, a novel that showcases his effortless feel for narrative, his flawless instincts for suspense, and above all, his dark, almost silky sense of humor.”
   — Joe Hill, author of Heart–Shaped Box

The Graveyard Book confirms what I’ve always thought: Neil Gaiman is a literary genius!”
   — James Herbert, author of The Secret of Crickley Hall


Newbery Medal

Carnegie Medal

Hugo Award

Locus Award

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book

Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book

Audiobook of the Year

ALA Notable Children's Book

ALA Best Book for Young Adults

ALA Booklist Editors' Choice

Horn Book Fanfare

Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book

Time Magazine Top Ten Fiction

Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice

New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

New York Public Library Stuff for the Teen Age

Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (Vermont)

Q&A with Neil

Q: Did you know all along what kind of creature Silas was, or did it come to you as you were writing? Miss Lepescu?
A: I knew them, and what they were, pretty much before I knew anything else. Originally I thought that Miss Lupescu would be there from the start, but when I wrote the book she didn’t turn up until Chapter Three.

Q: Besides Bela Fleck’s “Danse Macabre,” what other songs would be on your Graveyard Book playlist?
A: What a great question. Here’s another nine songs for a ten-song playlist:

  • “Walking After Midnight,” Cowboy Junkies version, or Patsy Cline original
  • “Born on a Train,” Magnetic Fields
  • “City of the Damned,” Gothic Archies
  • “We Are the Dead,” David Bowie
  • “Graveyard,” Tori Amos
  • “She’s in the Graveyard Now,” Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band
  • “My Death,” David Bowie (again)
  • “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” Amanda Palmer’s cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s song
  • “Cemetery Polka,” Tom Waits

Q: Besides the ghoul gate, are there other special passageways to be found in a graveyard?
A: I think every graveyard, and every grave, will take you somewhere.

Q: When you made the 33rd President of the United States a ghoul, did you know it was Harry Truman? If so, then why Harry Truman of all the American Presidents?
A: It’s not that the ghouls actually were the people they call themselves after. Each ghoul names itself after its first meal, once it has become a ghoul, and they like to make it someone important, so they can boast about it.

Q: Now that it’s been several years since you wrote The Graveyard Book, what are the events or characters that stay with you the most? What parts of the book do you find yourself re-visiting, either on the page or in your imagination?
A: The last few pages. I wonder what happens next.

Q: I always cry when I read the end of The Graveyard Book. Do you ever cry when you read your own books? Is there any other book that makes you cry?
A: I got pretty sniffly on the last few pages of The Graveyard Book, when I wrote the first draft in longhand, late at night down at the bottom of the garden in the February cold.

I used to get angry when books made my eyes sting, as if the author or the book had somehow taken advantage of me. Now I think it’s wonderful that I can be made to care.

Q: What is Silas in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK?
A: Silas is a Very Important Character in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Also, he is Bod’s Guardian.

Q: Could you write a sequel to THE GRAVEYARD BOOK? I just finished it and I want more!
A: I will, yes, but it will go to very different places—and it may not get back to the Graveyard.

Chapter Excerpt

The Graveyard Book

Chapter 1

How Nobody Came to the Graveyard 

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in, and wisps of nighttime mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door.

The man Jack paused on the landing. With his left hand he pulled a large white handkerchief from the pocket of his black coat, and with it he wiped off the knife and his gloved right hand which had been holding it; then he put the handkerchief away. The hunt was almost over. He had left the woman in her bed, the man on the bedroom floor, the older child in her brightly colored bedroom, surrounded by toys and half-finished models. That only left the little one, a baby barely a toddler, to take care of. One more and his task would be done.

He flexed his fingers. The man Jack was, above all things, a professional, or so he told himself, and he would not allow himself to smile until the job was completed.

His hair was dark and his eyes were dark and he wore black leather gloves of the thinnest lambskin.

The toddler’s room was at the very top of the house. The man Jack walked up the stairs, his feet silent on the carpeting. Then he pushed open the attic door, and he walked in. His shoes were black leather, and they were polished to such a shine that they looked like dark mirrors: you could see the moon reflected in them, tiny and half full.

The real moon shone through the casement window. Its light was not bright, and it was diffused by the mist, but the man Jack would not need much light. The moonlight was enough. It would do.

He could make out the shape of the child in the crib, head and limbs and torso.

The crib had high, slatted sides to prevent the child from getting out. Jack leaned over, raised his right hand, the one holding the knife, and he aimed for the chest . . .

. . . and then he lowered his hand. The shape in the crib was a teddy bear. There was no child.

The man Jack’s eyes were accustomed to the dim moonlight, so he had no desire to turn on an electric light. And light was not that important, after all. He had other skills.

The man Jack sniffed the air. He ignored the scents that had come into the room with him, dismissed the scents that he could safely ignore, honed in on the smell of the thing he had come to find. He could smell the child: a milky smell, like chocolate chip cookies, and the sour tang of a wet, disposable, nighttime diaper. He could smell the baby shampoo in its hair, and something small and rubbery—a toy, he thought, and then, no, something to suck—that the child had been carrying.

The child had been here. It was here no longer. The man Jack followed his nose down the stairs through the middle of the tall, thin house. He inspected the bathroom, the kitchen, the airing cupboard, and, finally, the downstairs hall, in which there was nothing to be seen but the family’s bicycles, a pile of empty shopping bags, a fallen diaper, and the stray tendrils of fog that had insinuated themselves into the hall from the open door to the street.

The man Jack made a small noise then, a grunt that contained in it both frustration and also satisfaction. He slipped the knife into its sheath in the inside pocket of his long coat, and he stepped out into the street. There was moonlight, and there were streetlights, but the fog stifled everything, muted light and muffled sound and made the night shadowy and treacherous. He looked down the hill towards the light of the closed shops, then up the street, where the last high houses wound up the hill on their way to the darkness of the old graveyard.

The man Jack sniffed the air. Then, without hurrying, he began to walk up the hill.

Ever since the child had learned to walk he had been his mother’s and father’s despair and delight, for there never was such a boy for wandering, for climbing up things, for getting into and out of things. That night, he had been woken by the sound of something on the floor beneath him falling with a crash. Awake, he soon became bored, and had begun looking for a way out of his crib. It had high sides, like the walls of his playpen downstairs, but he was convinced that he could scale it. All he needed was a step . . .