Cover of Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen

Mapping the Bones

Philomel Books 2018
ISBN-10: 0399257780

ISBN-13: 978-0399257780

My third and last (I swear) Holocaust novel, hung on the armature of Hansel and Gretel, about twins Chaim & Gittel who are 14 when the Holocaust begins and they and their parents are moved from a lovely cozy house with a front and back yard to the Lodz ghetto in a small apartment with very little food. And like the Hansel & Gretel story, there is starvation in the ghetto and their parents leave them in the woods in the care of (they hope) the partisans. And in the end, there is the House of Candy, and a witch and an oven. But I will not say anything more about what happens. Except, well—it’s the Holocaust. A very long novel. And since Chaim is a stutterer who writes poetry, there are some poems as well.


  • Junior Literary Guild selection 2018
  • Top ten finalist 2019 Locus Awards
  • Selected for Notable Social Studies 2019! @CBCBook @NCSSNetwork #Notables2019
  • On the Bank Street College List of Year’s Best Books

What reviewers have said:

  • “Jane Yolen’s Mapping the Bones is a swift and deadly drama with overtones of dark fable we all wish we could forget. But this book, a shining star held in a trembling palm, requires us to remember.” — Gregory Maguire, internationally bestselling author of Wicked
  • “Mapping the Bones is spare and beautiful and haunting. Jane Yolen has created a masterpiece.” — Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of The War That Saved My Life
  • “Master storyteller Jane Yolen has outdone herself. This is a compelling, important, necessary, and timely book that deserves the widest audience possible.” — Lesléa Newman, award-winning author of Still Life with Buddy
  • “In the hands of the superb Jane Yolen, folklore and fact connect in a harrowing testimony to horror and to love. Brutal, relentless, prophetic, and full of truth.” — Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity
  • “A compassionate, unflinching, unforgettable Nazi labor camp Hansel & Gretel tale woven by America’s finest spinner of Holocaust stories for young readers.” — Julie Berry, author of the Printz Honor Book The Passion of Dolssa
  • “[An] expansive, eloquent novel.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “Yolen does a superb job of dramatizing the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust, bringing vivid fear and suspense to her captivating story. It makes for altogether memorable and essential reading.” — Booklist
  • “[A] breath-taking and heartbreaking look at the horrors of war and the lengths people go to overcome.” — Voice of Youth Advocates
  • “Fans of Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic will be engrossed in this story until the last page.” — School Library Journal
  • “[A] well-rounded story of a very difficult time that shows the resiliency of these young people.” — School Library Connection
  • “Cruelty, terror, random kindness and the faint hope of redemption all have their place in this harrowing yet ultimately compassionate novel.” — Moment Magazine