Review of "Ghosts"

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Edit 1/7/2020: I have learned that I am not the only person to have taken issue with this book. There is so much potential here and I was reluctant to give it a total “not recommended” but, after reading reviews of others shared through Dr. Debbie Reese’s posted review of Ghosts (here), I learned that it is even more harmful than I had originally thought. As I state in my original review below, Mexican culture is not my own and I was wrong in thinking that it was represented well. It is not. I thought that MAYBE Telgemeier had done research into at least the Mexican culture she was trying to portray, but she didn’t. I’m disappointed and sad to say that this book about accepting Death, a subject much needed in middle grade books, is not recommended. Take out the Dia de los Muertos and the mission setting. Make it an abandoned logging town or something, keep the ghosts and it could have been great.


Ghosts is a great middle reader graphic novel that can teach children about different views on death. I think that it uses Mexican culture well to express that death does not have to be a sad event and that our loved ones are always with us as long as we remember them. But it is not my culture, so my opinion can change if I receive information to the contrary. I’ve got a big HOWEVER. A good portion of the book takes place at a California Mission. Though Mexican people were also at these Spanish missions, many of the people who lived and worked there were Indigenous peoples. This is completely overlooked. All the ghosts are presented as Mexican. I don’t think it would have detracted from the story to include some Indigenous ghosts or even state in conversation that people from Mexico and Indigenous people from the area were held at the mission.

All in all, I would recommend this graphic novel, especially to a person who is having to face the mortality of a loved one in their life.

Life Stuff!
I have finished my first week working at the Lake Travis Community Library, and I love it there. Everyone I work with is happy to help me as I learn my way around the library. Since the library is only part time, I am still working at Genuine Joe two days a week. It’s nice that I still get to work and enjoy my time there while also working at the library. This does mean that I am working two jobs which can be tough in its own right, but I think I’ll be able to manage as long as I give myself time off when I need it. We had Chris’ birthday parties at the house and they were a ton of fun. The cake was delicious and we bought way too much food.

Halloween and Thanksgiving are around the corner now, and I’m excited. I love the fall holidays, but they are also a particularly tough time for me. There can be a lot of people playing dress up as Natives, and that hurts. There’s also a lot of telling the incomplete story of the “first Thanksgiving”. It would be really great if people could be mindful of the pain that comes from those costumes and incomplete stories. All I can do to help that is educate. Speaking of, on October 3rd at 530PM, I am giving a presentation on Indigenous Representation at Genuine Joe Coffeehouse in Austin. I’m both excited and nervous about giving the presentation, but I think it will go well.

My Library:
Currently Reading: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Currently Playing: Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild/Switch

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