Ghost  by Jason Reynolds


Ghost has had some troubles in life, and he is running from them. First, he had to run from an abusive father that chased him and his mother down the street with a loaded gun. After that, Ghost caused his own problems,mostly at his middle school,  trying to escape the memories of his past. When he stumbles upon the Elite track he finds a way to put his running ability to good use. Ghost just doesn’t know if he is quick enough to leave his past behind him to try for a new start. With the help of a track coach, who knows as much about adversity as he does about running, Ghost might have a chance.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Text Structure: Novel

Lexile: 730L

Themes: urban life/community, overcoming obstacles, identity/fitting in, choice/consequences, having hope, sports, family, friends

Rings of Culture Represented:

Ethnicity: Black
Socioeconomic: working poor
Gender: boy
Age: Middle School
National: USA

Why it’s VABBulous -

  • Once again, Reynolds, delivers authenticity in both surface and nuanced elements of culture.

  • Black culture, and socio-economic culture in particular are represented as complex and layered

  • Surface elements of language, food, games and celebrations are displayed consistently and are connected to deeper unspoken/unconscious cultural rules.

  • Story and characters are developed with consistent attention to nuanced cultural rules such as, rules of conduct, patterns of handling emotions, tone of voice, preference for competition or cooperation,  nature of friendships, concept of past and future, self-concept and notions of leadership to name a few.

Set It Off (into the text)

Thinking On Your Feet

  • McDonald’s or  Burger King?

  • Basketball or Track?

  • LeBron James or Kevin Durant?

  • Which is better, winning the Olympics or breaking a record?

  • Which is better, playing a team sport or an individual sport?

  • Candy or Sunflower Seeds?

Journal Prompt  + Turn and Talk + Pass It On

Choose ONE of the following prompts

  • What is it like, or what do you think it would be like to lose,  or be last place?

  • What things make you nervous about playing a team sport?

  • What do you think it would be like to not be able to play team sports?

Turn and Talk + Train

I gave this a 7-10 on Responsive Dots. What would you give it?