The Ghost Library by David Melling

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about The Ghost Library saving our week. After dropping my daughter to school today, full of smiles and eagerness to get back to her friends and beloved teacher after half term, I felt like a milestone had been reached. She is settled and happy and full of the joys of learning. I am settled and happy and full of the excitement of writing and passing on the joy of books. We have all settled in to this new life of school and new friends and new routines (for all of us). And we are happy. Books have played an enormous part in this settling in period, for me as well as for my daughter, and I am so thankful that they have been there to comfort us, inspire us, excite us and give us a hug after a long day.

The book that we keep coming back to, especially over hallowe’en half term, is The Ghost Library. It’s a book that makes me smile on so many levels and it feels like the perfect book to share on this milestone day. So without further waffling, here it is:


It’s a beautiful glow in the dark reissue of a book that’s been loved by children since 2004. This version is the first time I have come across the story and I am in love! I love the glow in the dark cover that stands out on a front facing bookcase so beautifully (particularly at night time). I love the concept of a ghost library and the many ways that Melling plays with those images. I love that this is a book about a girl who loves books, it celebrates books and shouts out about the importance of reading and sharing stories. I love that this book appeals to everyone. Girls, boys, parents, teaching assistants, said teaching assistant’s junior school aged son. The cover hooks everyone in and the story, and the inventive way that it is told, entertains and delights all ages.

A book that celebrates reading and appeals to EVERYONE. What more could you want?

How about a book that also gets children actively involved with telling the story, helping them understand story structure and how to read and comprehend a story. Ok, no problem. The Ghost Library has that covered. The story centres around a girl called Bo who is happily reading in her room when her book is grabbed by a ghost and whisked away, with her still holding it. She is delivered to the ghost library where the ghosts explain that they have no books in their library so must borrow them from children while they are asleep. Bo reads them her book.

Melling has used this double page spread to tell Bo’s story. The reader gets to tell the story themselves using the illustrations. This beautifully smashes down language and reading ability barriers, giving the children the power to interact with the book and tell the story in their own words. But wait, there’s more!

The Ghost Library also encourages children to tell and create their own stories. Bo finishes her story and when the ghosts want more, she tells them to make up their own, that stories are everywhere around you. Imagine using this book in a classroom, imagine the stories that children could create with this as a starting point.

So The Ghost Library is a book that appeals to everyone, is accessible, is interactive, celebrates and supports reading, and encourages children to imagine and tell their own stories. And it is FUN!

Are you still reading this? Shouldn’t you be off to the library or bookshop by now? The Ghost Library is waiting for you!

Source: kindly sent for review by those lovely folk at Hodder Children’s Books.

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