Ghosts (paperback)

by Raina Telgemeier

AR Level 2.6, 1 point

I was so excited to finally get my hands on this graphic novel!  I follow the author on Twitter, and I’ve been hearing about the hype for months now.  I am truly becoming a big graphic novel fan and it was exciting to get to read in her voice again.  I’ve gotten my students hooked on graphic novels (especially my reluctant readers), and I know there will be a fight over Ghosts.

Ghosts follows a family who moved from Southern California to Northern California for the sake of their youngest daughter’s health.  Maya has cystic fibrosis and receives a breathing treatment and extra nutrition through a GI tube.  They believe the foggy weather will help Maya’s symptoms.  Cat is her older sister, and together they learn the history of their town, including a strong belief in ghosts and Dia de los Muertos, which is quickly approaching.  They make friends with a neighbor named Carlos, and come face to face with some of the spirits they’ve welcomed, despite Cat’s fear of the ghosts and desperate desire to have something of her own (her friends).  Cat has to come to terms with the possibility that Maya will someday become one of the ghosts, as well as her emerging feelings for Carlos.

What I liked about this book is what I like about Telgemeier’s other books.  There is always some underlying theme or lesson to it, whether it is acceptance or respect for others.  In Ghosts, the theme of family and friendship shines through.  I also love the way she taught about Dia de los Muertos, something I didn’t previously know much about, but I can now understand a bit better.  I think my students with families from Mexico will be able to relate to Cat’s traditions.

What I didn’t like about this book was that we didn’t see more of the blossoming relationship between Cat and Carlos, which I think a lot of my sixth grade girls would like to see.  I would also have liked to see more of a connection between what Cat’s mom said about not having a good relationship with abuela due to her desire for Americanization, and the strain on Cat and her mom’s relationship, which I believe was meant to parallel each other.  It is a great book!

Book 2 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)


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