Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini
First Line: “Ghoulia was no ordinary child.”
Summary: Meet Ghoulia, a young (well, she’s a zombie, so who’s to say how young she actually is) zombie who lives in a spooky old manor with her lively assortment of dead family members. The narration explains how our protagonist passes her days, and some (or most) of the activities are definitely exclusive to members of the undead community. But, as Cantini puts it, “. . . to Ghoulia, her life seemed perfectly normal.” While spooks abound at home, the scariest obstacle Ghoulia faces is making friends with the living and breathing children who live in the nearby village.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I definitely recommend checking this one out! I enjoy reading younger grade fiction, so I can better recommend stories for the kids who come by to ask for recommendations, and while this book is definitely aimed at kids who are ages 6-8, it can be a fun and quick read if you’re a grown up, too!
My Thoughts: This is a book for anyone who’s ever felt a little different (which, I think, is probably everyone). At one point, Ghoulia plays dress up, and she disguises herself as a living, human child. You can take this story literally, and watch as a lonely zombie tries to find friends, and still enjoy the story. But if you look at Ghoulia long enough, you’ll start to see yourself, and the wonderful part is, nearly anyone can relate to her, even if you’re not a member of the undead community (although many of us are before coffee). Whatever part of you that makes you feel so different from other people, that’s the Ghoulia side of you, and it’s something we all share. Maybe when you see Ghoulia, you won’t relate to her now, but you’ll remember when you did. Maybe you’ll remember how you felt after someone you loved hurt you and how you had to learn to trust that people can be kind. Maybe you’ll remember how you felt in high school or middle school, or whenever you were most unsure about what would happen if someone met “the real you.” I know there are so many, but I love books that teach kids it’s okay to just be yourself. It’s a trope that I’ll never tire of, honestly.