Elementary: Trends Older

, Middle School

Ghost

Jason Reynolds
2016

Acceptance

Resilience

Teamwork

Racial Diversity

Castle (“Ghost”) Cranshaw remembers the night he learned how to run…

“The sound was big, and sharp enough to make me feel like my brain was gonna pop in my head, enough to make my heart hiccup. But the craziest thing was, I felt like the shot – loudest sound I ever heard – made my legs move even faster. I don’t know if that’s possible, but that’s definitely what it seemed like.”

That’s in Chapter One of Ghost. The story starts fast and keeps on going.

Author Jason Reynolds takes Ghost (and readers) on a run from one altercation to the next as Ghost attempts to navigate the triggers of middle school life while learning to keep his anger in check.

Ghost is obsessed with world records, sunflower seeds, and hoops. Not organized hoops where everyone gets to be on the team, but the serious ball that happens in the park. He has a silent secret he harbors that keeps him running solo. When he finds himself spontaneously challenging a sprinter who Ghost thinks is overrated, he opens himself up to an unexpected possibility – being on an actual track team.

Ghost brings to light issues that, sadly, are a part of life for some middle schoolers – domestic abuse, crime, and incarcerated family members. These issues provide a backdrop reminding readers how one event can affect all aspects of a teen’s life.

Readers will also find the lighter side of middle school in Ghost – the all-important haircut, the right clothes, the beginnings of a crush, and team drama.

Reynolds provides an emotion-laden starting point for debate and dialogue. Our resource materials will help your readers find a host of ways to deliberate the gray areas in discussions that are far more complex than black and white.

Ghost is the first book in Reynolds’ popular Track series, with each of four books centering on one of the members of the track team. The three books that follow add a new perspective to the time we spend with Castle in Ghost, much like each story in Reynolds’ Look Both Ways adds a new perspective to a walk home from school. For many young people, Jason Reynolds is the author that turns them into readers. And Ghost is a great introduction to his groundbreaking work.