Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Publisher: Scholastic, Graphix
Catrina doesn’t believe in ghosts. Or that’s what she thought, until her family decided to move to northern California due to her sister Maya’s Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that affects breathing and digestion. The small town of Bahia de la Luna is full of ghosts, particularly around an abandoned Spanish Mission. The two sisters, along with their new friend Carlos, go explore and talk to the ghosts, but Maya’s health keeps on declining so she can’t attend their annual celebration for the dead. Catrina decides to go to the party, where she meets Jose, an eight-year-old ghost, and they decide to go home to talk to Maya. After Maya realizes that life after death is not too bad, and that her loved ones will always remember her, Maya's fears go away and she happily embraces the future.
Ghosts is a great graphic novel for children. The color and illustrations make it easy to read and attractive to the eye. Young readers can identify with the characters and learn from their experiences as they deal with their different struggles. The biggest takeaway is that two sisters overcome the fear of the unknown as they face sickness and death. The book also mentions some Mexican traditions, like the “Day of the Dead”, and “La Catrina.” Although some of the cultural representations in Ghosts might not be completely accurate, it’s a great door for people to try to understand different cultures and traditions. Catalina struggles to adjust at first, since she was born in a different culture, but after combining some aspects of both cultures, she realizes she can get the best of both worlds. Overall, it has a great message of overcoming the fear of the unknown, and adapting to new situations with a good attitude.