Skeleton Tree


Learn more about my middle grade novel, Skeleton Tree.

Cover art by Lisa Perrin.

There are lots of things that grow in backyards. Bones aren’t one of them.

Twelve-year-old Stanly knows the bone is a little weird, but that’s okay, because now he’ll have the perfect photo to submit for the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see.

There’s just one person who doesn’t find any of this weird—Stanly’s little sister. Mischievous Miren adopts the skeleton as a friend, and soon, the two become inseparable playmates. When Miren starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible, and does everything in his power to drive the creature away. However, Miren is desperate not to lose her friend, forcing Stanly to question everything he’s ever believed about life, love, and the mysterious forces that connect us.

Praise for Skeleton Tree

💀 “Skeleton Tree is a powerful and tender story. Kim Ventrella knows when to be playful and when to break your heart.” —Cassie Beasley, NYT-bestselling author of Circus Mirandus

💀 “Like Markus Zusak’s The Book ThiefSkeleton Tree upends the myth of the Grim Reaper. Scary, sad, funny and always so, so sweet, Skeleton Tree will haunt me and remind me that life is miraculous when it’s rooted in hope and empathy.” —Paul Griffin, author of Burning Blue and When Friendship Followed Me Home

💀 “Ventrella’s comforting storytelling reveals a magical world where a skeleton can grow and where a family’s love for each other can provide healing.” —School Library Journal

💀 “[An] emotional roller coaster tempered by a touch of magic and a resilient, likable protagonist.” —Kirkus Reviews

💀 “Quietly powerful; dark yet whimsical . . .” —Booklist

💀 Nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019 in the UK.

Order Your Copy

Order your copy today from your favorite retailer. My two favorite options are Bookshop.org or my local indie, Best of Books. When you order from Bookshop.org, a portion of your money goes to support me and independent bookstores everywhere. And if you order from the link below, I will send you a signed bookplate upon request. If you would like a signed and personalized copy, order from Best of Books. Make sure to put “signed copy” along with any personalization details in the order comments section.

Watch the Book Trailer

Skeleton Tree Has a Flip Book!

Book Clubs

Is your class or school book club reading Skeleton Tree? If so, I would love to join you for a 30-minute book club chat. If you’re interested, fill out the form below. And don’t forget to download the Book Club Guide.



In the News

🕯️  Read my interview about Skeleton Tree in the Daily Oklahoman.

🕯️ Read my interview in the Oklahoma Gazette entitled “Processing Death.”

🕯️ Listen to my interview from April 2019 on the Reading With Your Kids podcast.

A Peek at the UK Edition

I adore the artwork by Victoria Assanelli featured in the UK edition of Skeleton Tree, published by Macmillan. Purchase a copy from your favorite retailer to see all 50 black-and-white illustrations.