Bonechiller Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Civil Society
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Bonechiller / Author: Graham McNamee This guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12-17

This literature guide was created as part of an English 11 literature project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read and wrote the questions and project ideas below to stimulate thought and action about real issues.



  1. What is it like to have a very short time to resolve a very tough issue/situation?
  2. When faced with a problem, do you tend to want to face it or run from it?
  3. Describe a time you had to overcome adversity?


During Reading



  1. What differences exists between Danny and Ash in the early chapters?
  2. What thoughts were going through Danny’s mind when he was being chased by the beast?
  3. How is Danny similar to his father?
  4. Who or what do you think the beast is? Explain why you think this.
  5. What symptoms did all of the kids have when they disappeared?
  6. What is the story Nick tells Danny?
  7. What does Howie's graph tell them about their situation?
  8. When they go to show the police officer the cave to the monster's home, what do they find?
  9. What age group does the monster go after?
  10. How did Mason survive, even though he was marked?
  11. What are some changes Howie and Danny experience after they were marked?
  12. Why does Ash think the thermometer Danny uses is broken?
  13. What excuse does Danny give his dad as to why as Ash is wet and freezing cold after they defeated the beast?
  14. What is the tattoo they all get at the end of the story to remember the impossible thing they encountered?




After the officer talks to the class about Ray Dyson going missing, Pike sees a guy in the baseball diamond in his tighty-whities. This incident is similar to the one in "The Christmas Story" when one of the boys gets his tongue stuck on a pole. All of the teachers rush out to him and the kids are all looking out the window. What is the role of this embarassing situation in the storyline?

After Reading


The whole gang is preparing to kill this beast, and Danny is the bait. His job is to lure the beat to the “kill zone.” Danny’s get-away is a snowmobile. When he positions himself in front of the cave, he keeps the engine idling. He says he doesn’t want to be one of those dumb people in a horror movie who can’t get their engine started. Why does this always seems to happen in a horror movie? What effect is the author trying to create? Is it effective?


  1. How do different people react to impossible-seeming situations?
  2. In what ways did working together make the problem less challenging? Did the problem have to be solved by kids? Why or why not?
  3. Was the gang working for the common good of the community or their own safety?


  1. The reason Danny and his father end up where they are is because they are running from the memory of Danny’s mother and her death. Yatooma's Foundation for the Kids is a foundation that helps kids who have lost a parent cope with their tragic loss. Yamoota is asking for donations for the kids. You may organize a collection for some of the donations they need: backpacks, pencils, pens, and other basic school supplies (see  
  2. Research an urban legend. Present your findings to the class.
  3. Research missing children. Create a service-learning project around that issue. You might work with local law enforcement to host a child ID kit drive in your area.