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February 12, 2019

Ghosts in Youth Fiction

Ghosts in Youth Fiction

Review by: Angela Dubinger

During Black History Month, the library is featuring displays in the Teen Zone and in the Youth department that highlight black lives and experiences.

In the midst of honoring this rich and important history, I wanted to highlight books for kids with black main characters. I found several some great kids fiction featuring ghosts. If you like things a little spooky and dramatic, you’ll want to check these out!

Ghost Boy by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jerome tells his story as a ghost beyond the grave, after he was shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes a toy gun for a real one. He meets other ghosts as well, including Emmett Till, a black boy murdered in 1955. Jerome observes how his family is destroyed and how they work through the events of his death; his story provides space to talk about racial injustice and implicit biases. Geared towards kids in grades 4-8.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Being born during a hurricane can give you bad luck. Not only has her mother left her and her father alone, but Caroline’s bad luck continues when she starts to see a spirit – a woman in black – that no one else can see. Caroline feels lonely at school on Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands; but her life changes when she meets a new girl from Barbados, who befriends the bullied Caroline and helps her search for her mother. For kids in grades 4-6.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

What if the ghost story in your life was like the classic A Christmas Carol? Fifteen-year-old Will’s big brother has been shot and killed. The only way Will has ever known is to seek vengeance for his death, so he finds his brother’s gun and gets in the elevator to do just that. During this elevator ride, he’s visited by the ghosts of his past, each of these people is already dead. As they share their tales, the history of violence is clear to the reader, and Will’s choice to seek revenge is unclear. Will he do it?

Share this with teens who liked The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. For teens in grades 8 and up.