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Written in Bone

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About the Author

Sally M. Walker has been a children's book writer for over 20 years. Most of her books are nonfiction and present various science topics to young readers. Fossil Fish Found Alive is the story of the hunt for the elusive fish called the coelacanth. Sally also enjoys combining science investigation with historical topics. Her book Secrets of a Civil War Submarine, which won the 2006 Robert F. Sibert Medal, tells about the history, loss, and re-discovery of the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in battle. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland takes readers on archaeological expeditions, where the forensic analysis of colonial settlers' bones helps us to understand their lives. Sally especially enjoys writing narrative nonfiction that captures the reader's attention with a true story.


Gr 6-10-Sally M. Walker's remarkable work of nonfiction (Carolrhoda Books, 2009) explores how archaeology and forensic anthropology reveal secrets written in the bones of people who lived in Jamestown and Maryland during the 1600s and 1700s. When James Fort was excavated in the 1990s, over 30 graves were discovered. Using skeleton JR1225B as an example, Sally Walker describes how scientists examine teeth and bones for particular characteristics to determine age, sex, and ethnic ancestry. Isotope analysis of teeth is used to learn about a person's diet and birthplace. This kind of forensic analysis is applied to several other skeletons. Scientists identify a body found in the basement of a Maryland tobacco plantation as a teenaged indentured servant. Three bodies found in unusual lead coffins beneath St. Mary's City chapel are identified as a prominent citizen, his wife, and their infant daughter. Remains that probably belonged to Maryland slaves reveal clues about their lives of hard labor. The final chapter touches on how facial reconstructions are crafted. The science is meticulously but clearly explained and balanced by the human drama of each skeleton's story. Greg Abbey's narration is pitch-perfect and his tone and pacing capture the painstaking nature of work that leads to heart-pounding discoveries. This first-rate listen is enhanced by a bonus disc that includes photos with audio captions, a time line, the author's notes, and a thorough bibliography. A worthy addition to every audio collection for young adults.-Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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