Dem Bones

Last updated Thursday, October 4, 2018

Author: Bob Barner
Date of Publication: 2016
ISBN: 0811808270
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2018

Synopsis: Sing along with a colorful skeleton band in this exuberant rendition of a beloved and traditional African-American spiritual, passed down by word of mouth for generations. Today, it's usually sung by children as a way to learn anatomy, rhyme, and language. With its vibrant paper collage illustrations and rollicking read-aloud verse, this perfect introduction to the human body makes a wonderful addition to both home and classroom libraries, and is a fun treat for Halloween!

Note to readers:
•  Look up and play the song, "Dem Bones," during or after reading the book.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have each kid pick a bone or set of bones, such as a toe, foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip backbone, shoulder, neck, head. Have them stand up when you start the page with their bone.
•  Ask the kids if they know how many bones does a human have.
•  Mention that humans are born with 450 bones but by adulthood we only have 206.


•  Swivels: a device that allows the object fastened or mounted to it to turn freely
•  Remnant: a remaining trace of something

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Make a skeleton out of white construction paper and connect at the "joints" with brads.
•  Make a skeleton by gluing Q-tips and/or cut out white pieces of paper on black construction paper.

Craft ideas:
•  Make a skeleton made of cotton swabs on a black sheet of construction paper. Kids can draw the skull of the skeleton.
•  Make a witches face with cut pieces of egg cartons. Hair can be made up of string and hats made up of paper.
•  Construct a flying witch on her broom out of different colored construction paper.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
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•  Game of Simon Says focuses on touching the bones that the kids just read about.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!