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Ray, Delia.
New York : Clarion Books, 2003
IL 5-8.  RL 5.5
ISBN 0618333770

(3 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

How many of you would like to NOT go to school?  Well, 11-year-old April Sloane has never even been to school.  She lives in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia during the difficult years of the Depression.  Her life is tough:  her little brother Riley was accidentally killed, her mother is understandably depressed, people tease her and call her “ghost girl” because of her light skin and hair.  And she wants to go to the new school that is being built in her mountain community – but her mother won’t let her.   There are some bright spots in April’s life, however:  with her grandmother’s help she does finally get to go to school and meets the teacher, Miss Vest, who changes her life.  To find out how April conquers the demons that haunt her family and creates a new life for herself, read Ghost Girl by Delia Ray.  (Susannah Hogan, South Carolina Book Awards, 2006)

Booktalk #2

Looking for a spooky story to send shivers down your spine? This is not what you’re looking for…  Due to her startlingly pale coloring, 11-year-old April Sloane has been dubbed “Ghost Girl” by the other children in her remote mountain community. When President Herbert Hoover visits the area in 1929 and decrees that a schoolhouse will be built in poverty-stricken Madison County, Virginia, April is thrilled at the prospect of learning to read. She is even more excited when she catches sight of Miss Vest, the sophisticated young teacher hired from the city run the school. However, her bitterly grieving mother has coldly disowned her, blaming her for her little brother’s accidental death, and refuses to allow her to attend school. Despite her mother’s rejection, her lack of self-confidence and her burden of guilt, April is a survivor. With the support of her loving grandmother and the wonderful Miss Vest, she ultimately finds success and her place in the world. This poignant and richly told story is based on fact, and an appendix even shows a photograph of the real Miss Vest with Mrs. Hoover and the class.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face committee, 2005-2006)

Booktalk #3

When President Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou build a school near their summer home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, eleven-year-old April Sloan at last has an opportunity for an education.Called Ghost Girl for her white hair and pale skin and eyes, April looks forward to an opportunity to learn to read and to have a respite from the hard work around their cabin.Her mother, depressed after the accidental death of April’s younger brother Riley, is not in favor of her daughter’s attending school but is persuaded by Aunt Birdy, April’s grandmother, to allow April to enroll.April forges a close friendship with her teacher, the attractive, well-dressed Miss Christine Vest, hand-picked by the Hoovers to be the school’s first teacher.Miss Vest works tirelessly against many obstacles to educate the mountain children, and April’s world begins to expand.When the truth comes out about Riley’s death, April’s depressed, grieving mother removes her from school.April realizes that she must look elsewhere for support and leaves the family home to live with her teacher and pursue her education.It takes the death of Aunt Birdy to bring April and her mother back together and for April to emerge as the independent young woman she has learned to be. Oklahoma Sequoyah Children’s Book Award nominee, 2005-2006

SUBJECTS:     Schools -- Fiction.
                        Teachers -- Fiction.
                        Grief -- Fiction.
                        Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964 -- Fiction.
                        Hoover, Lou Henry, 1874-1944 -- Fiction.
                        Virginia History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
                        Skyline Drive (Va.) -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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