Silent to the Bone

Silent to the Bone

Audio Other(Other - Unabridged, 4 cassettes, 5 hrs.)

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Connor is sure his best friend, Branwell, couldn't have hurt Branwell's baby half sister, Nikki. But Nikki lies in a coma, and Branwell is in a juvenile behavioral center, suspected of a horrible crime and unable to utter the words to tell what really happened. Connor is the only one who might be able to break through Branwell's wall of silence. But how can he prove Branwell didn't commit the unspeakable act of which he's accused -- when Branwell can't speak for himself?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807261651
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Edition description: Unabridged, 4 cassettes, 5 hrs.
Product dimensions: 4.47(w) x 7.08(h) x 1.15(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

E. L. Konigsburg is the author of a number of successful children's books, including two Newbery Award winners and one Newbery Honor Book. Her output is diverse: including novels, short stories, picture books (including illustrations), and biographies. Each book sees the world from her own highly individual perspective. She is a sought-after speaker and is widely known in the children's book world. She lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

It is easy to pinpoint the minute when my friend Branwell began his silence. It was Wednesday, November 25, 2:43 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. It was there -- or, I guess you could say not there -- on the tape of the 911 call.

Operator: Epiphany 911. Hobson speaking.


Operator: Epiphany 911. Hobson. May I help you?

SILENCE. [Voices are heard in the background.]

Operator: Anyone there?

A woman's voice [screaming in the background]: Tell them. Tell them.

Operator: Ma'am, I can't hear you. [then louder] Please come to the phone.

A woman's voice [still in the background, but louder now]: Tell them. [then, screaming as the voice approaches] For God's sake, Branwell. [the voice gets louder] TELL THEM.


Operator: Please speak into the phone.

A woman's voice [heard more clearly]: TELL THEM. NOW, BRAN. TELL THEM NOW.


A woman's voice with a British accent [heard clearly]: Here! Take her! For God's sake, at least take her! [then, speaking directly into the phone] It's the baby. She won't wake up.

Operator: Stay on the phone.

British Accent [frightened]: The baby won't wake up.

Operator: Stay on the line. We're transferring you to Fire and Rescue.

Male Voice: Epiphany Fire and Rescue. Davidson. What is the nature of your emergency?

British Accent: The baby won't wake up.

Male Voice: What is your exact location?

British Accent: 198 Tower Hill Road. Help, please. It's the baby.

Male Voice: Help is on the way, ma'am. What happened?

British Accent: He dropped her. She won't wake up.

Male Voice: Is she having difficulty breathing?

British Accent [panicky now]: Yes. Her breathing is all strange.

Male Voice: How old is the baby, ma'am?

British Accent: Almost six months.

Male Voice: Is there a history of asthma or heart trouble?

British Accent: No, no. He dropped her, I tell you.


British Accent [into the phone]: They're here. Thank God. They're here. [then just before the connection is broken] For God's sake, Branwell, MOVE. Open the door.

The SILENCES were Branwell's. He is my friend.

The baby was Nicole -- called Nikki -- Branwell's half sister.

The British accent was Vivian Shawcurt, the baby-sitter.

In the ambulance en route to the hospital, Vivian sat up front with the driver, who was also a paramedic. He asked her what had happened. She told him that she had put the baby down for her afternoon nap and had gone to her room. After talking to a friend on the phone, she had started to read and must have dozed off. When the paramedic asked her what time that was, she had to confess that she did not know. The next thing she remembered being awakened by Branwell's screaming for her. Something was wrong with the baby. When she came into the nursery, she saw Branwell shaking Nikki, trying to get her to wake up. She guessed that the baby went unconscious when he dropped her. She started to do CPR and told Branwell to call 911. He did, but when the operator came on the line, he seemed paralyzed. He would not give her the information she needed. He would not speak at all.

Meanwhile the paramedic who rode with the baby in the ambulance was following the ABC's for resuscitation -- airway, breathing, and circulation. Once inside the trauma center at Clarion County Hospital, Nikki was put on a respirator and wrapped in blankets. It was important to keep her warm. A CAT scan was taken of her head, which showed that her injuries could cause her brain to swell. When the brain swells, it pushes against the skull, and that squeezes the blood vessels that supply the brain. If the supply of blood to the brain is pinched off, the brain cannot get oxygen, and it dies.

The doctor drilled a hole in Nikki's skull and put in a small tube -- no thicker than a strand of spaghetti -- to drain excess fluid from her brain to lower the pressure. Nikki did not open her eyes.

Later that afternoon, a police car arrived at 198 Tower Hill Road and took Branwell to the Clarion County Juvenile Behavioral Center. He said nothing. Nothing to the doctors. Nothing to his father, to his stepmother. Calling to Vivian was the last that Branwell had spoken. He had not uttered a sound since dialing 911.

Dr. Zamborska, Branwell's father, asked me to visit him at the Behavioral Center and see if I could get him to talk. I am Connor, Connor Kane, and -- except for the past six weeks or so -- Branwell and I had always been best friends.

When Dr. Z called me, he reported that the pressure in Nikki's skull was dropping, and that was a good sign, but, he cautioned, she was still in a coma. She was in critical condition, and there was no way of knowing what the outcome would be.

I was not allowed to see Branwell until Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. On that first visit to the Behavioral Center and on all the visits that followed, I had to stop at a reception desk and sign in. There I would empty my pockets and, when I had my backpack with me, I would have to open it as well. If I had nothing that could cause harm to Branwell or could let him cause harm to someone else (I never did), I was allowed to put it all back and take it with me.

That first time the guard brought Branwell into the visitors' room, he looked awful. His hair was greasy and uncombed, and he was so pale that the orange jumpsuit he wore cast an apricot glow up from his chin just as his red hair seemed to cast the same eerie glow across his forehead. He shuffled as he walked toward me. I saw that his shoes had no laces. I guessed they had taken them from him.

Branwell is tall for his age -- I am not -- and when he sat across the table from me, I had to look up to make eye contact, which was not easy. His eyeglasses were so badly smudged that his blue eyes appeared almost gray. It was not at all like him to be uncombed and to have his glasses smeared like that. I guessed the smudges were to keep him from seeing out, just as his silence was to keep him from speaking out.

On that first awful, awkward visit, a uniformed guard stood leaning against the wall, watching us. There was no one else in the visitors' room, and I was the only one talking, so everything I said, every sound I made, seemed to echo off the walls. I felt so responsible for getting Branwell to talk that I asked him a bunch of dumb questions. Like: What happened? And: Was there anything he wanted to tell me? He, of course, didn't utter a sound. Zombielike, he slowly, slowly, slowly shook his head once, twice, three times. This was not the Branwell I knew, and yet, strangely, it was.

Dr. Zamborska had asked me to visit Bran because he figured that I probably knew Branwell better than anyone else in Epiphany -- except for himself. And because we had always seemed to have a lot to say to each other. We both loved to talk, but Branwell loved it more. He loved words. He had about five words for things that most people had only one word for, and could use four of five in a single sentence. Dr. Z probably figured that if anyone could get Bran to talk, it would be me. Talk was like the vitamins of our friendship: Large daily doses kept it healthy.

But when Dr. Z had asked me to visit Branwell, he didn't know that about six weeks before that 911 call something had changed between us. I didn't know what caused it, and I didn't exactly know how to describe it. We had not had a fight or even a quarrel, but ever since Monday, Columbus Day, October 12, something that had always been between us no longer was. We still walked to the school bus stop together, we still got off at the same stop, and we still talked. But Branwell never seemed to start a conversation anymore. He not only had less time for me, he also had less to say to me, which, in terms of our friendship, was pretty much the same thing. He seemed to have something hidden.

We had both turned thirteen within three weeks of each other, and at first I wondered if he was entering a new phase of development three weeks ahead of me. Was something happening to him that would happen to me three weeks later? Had he started to shave? I looked real close. He hadn't. (I was relieved.) Had he become a moody teenager, and would I become one in three more weeks? Three weeks passed, and I didn't. Then six weeks passed -- the six weeks between Columbus Day and that 911 call -- and I still had not caught the moodiness that was deepening in my friend. And I still did not know what was happening to Bran.

After that first strange, clouded visit, I decided that if I was going back (and I knew that I would), nothing good was going to come out of my visits unless I forgot about our estrangement, forgot about having an assignment from Dr. Z, and acted like the old friend I was.

* * *

Once on our way to the school bus stop in the days when Branwell was still starting conversations, he asked me a famous question: "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" When he asked me, I couldn't answer and neither could he, but when I left him that first Friday of his long silence, I thought that Branwell could answer it. On that day and for all the days that followed when he made no sound, my friend Branwell was screaming on the inside. And no one heard.

Except me.

So when Branwell at last broke his silence, I was there. I was the first to hear him speak. He spoke to me because even before I knew the details, I believed in him. I knew that Branwell did not hurt that baby.

I won't say what his first words were until I explain what I heard during the time he said nothing.

Copyright © 2000 by E. L. Konigsburg

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Silent to the Bone 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Silent to the Bone is a spectacular book written by the two time Newbery medal winning author, E. L. Konigsburg. Silent to the bone is the author¿s 13th book. The author is writing in the perspective of a young teen who is on a mission to prove that his friend did not commit a crime and nothing will make him give up! So who was at fault for putting Nikki Zamborska into a coma? Was it Branwell who Vivian the au pair says it was, or was it really Vivian? What actually happened on November 25 at 2:43 p.m.? Branwell dials 911 thinking he is going to be able to tell the operator on the other end of the phone what happens. But when he tries to open his mouth nothing comes out. What is this mysterious boy really trying to say? Was he going to say that Vivian Shawcurt dropped the baby and the infant¿s breathing was funny or was he going to say that he was at fault for putting his baby sister in a coma? So Branwell¿s best friend, Connor is on quest to find out what really happened the day that Nikki was put in a coma. Even though Branwell was unable to speak to Connor, Connor finds ways to communicate with out talking. Is Connor¿s help going to make Branwell Zamborska¿s life back to how it was, or is he going to stay speechless for ever? Accelerated Reader level: 5.4 Accelerated Reader # of points: 7.0 # of pages: 261
luckybks More than 1 year ago
Silent to the Bone is a suspense filled story about a 13 year old boy caught in a web of secrets, shame, and silence. While his baby sister has been gravely injured and he is blamed, his best friend loyally speaks for him and asserts that the incident is more complex than the adults around him initially believe. While the writing is good and the discussion points many, the pivotal plot point of the boy who is struck silent by his shame is that he was sexually used by an older au pair living in the home. This mature material is well handled but is not appropriate for most 10-12 year olds. At earliest 7th grade and probably 8th grade would be best for this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awsome. It makes you think, and I couldn't put it down. However, it does seem to take a certain maturity level that some people don't have (including stupid 5th grade boys in my class). But anyone who can read it should.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book and i cant put it down it drags me into the bool and i cant stop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book sucks the lollipop of awsomeness!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Silent To The Bone= A mysterious tale of friendship, care, and being to quiet for what you've done. This book is a fun to read story for most ages. Once you start reading this book, you will not want to put it down. It is a fantastic mystery on top of entertainment. In this book, two best friends Bran and Connor are just turning thirteen. Connor sees a change in Bran, but doesn't know what it is. One day news of Bran's half sister Nikki being almost dead comes about. She was dropped and got brain damage. Bran is blamed for the situation, and taken to jail. He becomes silent, and no one can find out if he really was the one, or not? This book is very thrilling and every time you pick up the book, you find out another clue. There is only one person that can get Bran to talk, and that happens to be his best friend Connor. I really enjoyed this book and would defiantly recommend this book to anyone of all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, Silent to the Bone, is a mystery story. It¿s about a boy, named Connor, who has to solve the mystery of who put a baby in a coma. The suspects: the baby¿s older brother, the baby sitter, and the pizza man. And how did it happen? Did the baby fall? Was it dropped? The baby¿s older brother, Branwell, made the 911 call, and goes into shock. He won¿t talk to anyone now. Now Connor has to interview everyone present at the scene, and those who know the people suspected to be involved. The book goes through several turns, and suspects are then dropped out, and put back into perspective. Finally, good news with the baby comes. This helps the brother in his state of shock. Meanwhile, Connor shows him note cards to help him find the right person. The cards have words between the two of them that only they would understand. As the story unravels, secrets are told, and questions are answered. I would recommend this book for people of all ages. It¿s more targeted at the teen audience. It¿s a nail biter with a spin of humor, and a pleasing ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a fun to read story for most ages. A mysterious tale of friendship, care, and being to quiet for what you've done. Branwell Zamborska has just turned thirteen and lately his friend, connor has noticed changes in him. Why was he changing and wasn't connor. One day everything changes when Connor gets the news of Nikki, Branwell's half-sister, being purposely dropped and the blame was put on Branwell himself by his au piar, Vivian. With that Branwell has stopped talking and not said a word since the 911 call. Now Branwell has one hope left, Connor. But Connor also has his suspician on Branwell after he has met Vivian for the first time. Now Connor must find a way to communicate with Branwell and prove him falsley accused to set him free. But will the story take a twist when a man's voice is heard on the 911 tape. This book caught my attention on the firat page and E.L. Konigsburg left no room for insults in this suspence and mystery filled book. With a side story of friendship that keeps filled thourgh the whole story. this book i will not recomend for kids 7 and under. Who really did it read to find out!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this not to long ago for a report in my seventh grade english class. everyone asked me, after my presentation, where themselfs can find this book. because my recommedations were somehow outstanding. For example: 1-It starts with suspence and mistery right from the beggining. 2-It will always keep you guessing after the chapter. 3-After you make your presiction about what will happen next and you read the next chapter...most of the time your predictions might be wrong, thats how much of a turning point book it is! And just because I am in seventh grade doesn't mean that old persons can't read it either!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I compare this to the famous To Killl a Mockingbird. Both are books that you want start again as soon as you've finished. Both are reflections on society, injustice and the difference of children from adults. They are not alike in all respects, but they are both outstanding books. You don't think you want to read a powerful, slow-moving book? Well, first of all, this is NOT slow-moving. It is full of suspense and even mystery. I guarantee that you will not put this down until you reach page 261. I am a fantasy lover, and I do not usually enjoy 'real-life' books. Yet I had no problems with this story. Do I sound like a commercial? Does it seem too good to be true? Probably. However, this is because it is very good. And I never said it was perfect. It's not. Nothing is. Doubtless you will find parts you do not enjoy when you read it. There is something mediocre in everything. However, I am confident that you will not find too many problems. I only have one last thing to say. THIS IS NOT A SIMPLE BOOK. There are underlying meanings and difficult analogies. But Konigsburg explains all as well as one can explain such pensive reflections. And this is not a boring book either. It is a story you will treasure for a long time to come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ok i gotta admit i did not understand this book at all the first time i read it but i read it a second time and then i realized wat e.l. konigsburg was tryin to tell me this book is awesome and it mite be confusing but go for it
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a great book. And It is true life, this kind of stuff does happen!!
Kaydence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Silent to the Bone is about a child named Branwell Zamborska who stops talking after his baby sister is hurt. Nikki, Branwell's sister, is not breathing and Branwell calls emergency services, but he stops talking. His English au pair Vivian comes on the line and screams that Branwell has shaken the baby. Nikki ends up in a coma and Branwell is taken into custody. Branwell goes to a juvenile behavioral center because he refuses to talk, which does not help him if Nikki dies and criminal charges will be brought against him. Branwell's best friend Connor comes to visit him while he is detained and devises a plan that allows Branwell to communicate with Connor without speaking. Through this code, Branwell sends Connor out to discover the truth of what happened on the day that Nikki stopped breathing. The mystery of what really happened on that day unravels as Connor finds himself saving Branwell.This was surprisingly darker than what I am used to by Konigsburg. The manipulation of the culprit is intense. I loved going through the mystery with Connor. It was always interesting to find out where Branwell was going to lead us. It also gave a very empowering feeling to younger readers because they ultimately are the only ones that can communicate and save the day. All of the adults are missing too many clues. On the negative side, I never felt compelled to read this book. There were quite a few times that I put it down in order to read something else. It is not exciting and gripping. For the most part, it is a slow moving novel that has a lot of entertaining parts that don't need to be read right away. As a teacher, this makes me nervous because I feel like a child would not be as patient as I am. They will probably put the book down and forget about it rather than pick it back up a few days later and continue. There is a lot more thinking and talking about thinking than actual action within the whole story. I guess that is what happens when one of the main characters does not speak.All in all, I gave this a 3/5 stars. I liked it, but I will probably not push it towards my students or read it again.
smheatherly2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastic mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat as your trying to figure out the clues Branwell gives you. You race with his friend, Connor, to find out all that happened in time to make sure that his baby sister, Vikki, is safe. Who really hurt Vikki? Do you need to speak to talk about what you know? The great tale of how friendship can be held together by simple understanding of another person and what you will do for them when the time comes.
annekiwi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting book about selective mutism (although it doesn't seem so selective to me). A young boy's half-sister is injured in a home accident and he loses the ability to speak. His best friend figures out a way to communicate with him and get to the bottom of the mystery. It held my interest, but I thought the boys were too adult and did not sound very authentic.
ERMSMediaCenter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When he is wrongly accused of gravely injuring his baby half sister, thirteen-year-old Branwell loses his power of speech and only his friend Connor is able to reach him and uncover the truth about what really happened.
mcgarry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yr 9 - Yr 10.Branwell's baby sister, Nikki, lies in a coma. Vivian, the au pair, blames Branwell, and he is placed in a juvenile detention centre. Though Connor is sure his friend would never hurt Nikki - or anyone - how can he get Branwell to communicate? And what does Morris, Vivian's pizza-delivery boyfriend, really know?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've probably read the book at least a dozen times. In the book, you catch the 9-1-1 call, where Branwell Zamborska won't (or can't) say anyhing. The reason behind the 9-1-1 call is simple. His young half-sister, Nikki, was dropped on purpose. Branwell's best friend, Conner, uses flash cards to spark interest in Branwell. He only uses key words, words that have a special maning to his friend. He goes to his older half-sister, Margaret. She invites Vivian over, and Conner stays. Vivian has him light a cigarette, although technically, she's supposed to be "clean", accordinh to her job. She is an au pair, or a foreign baby-sitter. But what happens when Conner play back the tape, and hears a strange man's voice? Did Branwell really harm his young sister? If so, how could he deliberately drop her? You'll have to read the book to find out more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a book for ages 7+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt keep my eyes off my nook. Questions, theories, and exclaaims raced through my head! This book brought a lot of excitement and i hope to read more books like this. It will be hard for any book to top this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vivian did it good book
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