Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ghostly Adventures

Ghosts have been on my mind lately. Just one ghost, really. The one I'm moving in with this summer. He (it?) haunts the halls of Thurber House, James Thurber's childhood home in Columbus, Ohio where I'm lucky enough to be spending the better part of June and July as their Children's Writer-in-Residence this year.

He's a not a malevolent ghost, it would seem from all reports--the most famous (and hilarious) one coming from James Thurber himself. I should be able to handle some heavy running footsteps and creaky cabinets, right? After all, I'm a ghost story fan--and Lisa Yee assures me he's gentle (though can she be sure this injury was really an accident?). Still, I find myself pausing before picking up any potentially creepy reads lately.

Maybe you'd like to pick up the slack for me? Ghosts haunt some of my very favorite middle grade reads. And ghost stories and mysteries are a match made in--well, I suppose I can't say heaven, exactly--but they certainly do go well together. 

Since there are plenty of newer ghostly titles floating around the Twittersphere these days, I thought I'd share a list of some of my favorite bone-chilling reads from the past. (Click the images to see full synopses.)

Hope you enjoy. Keep the lights on! Wish me luck in Ohio---and if you know any enthusiastic young writers in the Columbus, Ohio area, tell them all about Thurber House's fabulous summer writing camp and Young Writers' Studio! I'll be dropping in to work with the fourth and fifth graders for several sessions. I can't wait.


  1. I adore John Bellairs!! I remember reading all that our public library had when I was younger. Picked up one a few years ago and it still gave me chills. He was a true master who was under appreciated!

  2. I read them all, Jana! Recently I reread The Letter, The Witch, and The Ring and was amazed to discover I'd actually memorized sections of the scariest moments. I love that in Bellairs books he managed to push things enough to where it felt that things might not actually turn out well at all. It was thrilling -- and just a bit terrifying. If you love Bellairs, definitely read The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki. It's a sort of homage, even. You'll love it.


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