The Bulletin of

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of the Center for Children's Books

The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.

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I See/Hear/Smell/Love Dead People:
A Ghastly Dozen

All Hallow’s Eve is just around the corner, and the protagonists in these books have plenty of advice to offer regarding the appropriate dos and don’ts of dealing with dead people – be it in their corporeal or spiritual form.

--Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Dozens Cover
Crewe, Megan. Give Up the Ghost. Henry Holt, 2009. Gr. 7-10
Turns out ghosts love to gossip, a fact that sixteen-year-old Cass finds highly useful in her crusade to take down the elite A-listers of her high school when she discovers that she can see and chat with the spirits haunting its hallways. (BCCB 10/09)

Derting, Kimberly. The Body Finder. Harper, 2010. Gr. 7-10
Violet’s ability to sense the auras of dead people – and sometimes those of their killers – comes in handy when a serial killer starts targeting local girls in this chilling blend of classic whodunit with the supernatural. (BCCB 4/10)

Falcone, L.M. Walking with the Dead. Kids Can, 2005. Gr. 4-7
Alex must stumble through the Underworld of the Ancient Greeks to help a 2,000-year-old corpse win eternal bliss in this rollicking adventure full of twists and surprises. (BCCB 4/05)

Klise, Kate. Grounded. Feiwel, 2010.  Gr. 4-6
The lively picture of an eccentric small Missouri town remains rich, funny, and touching without becoming campy in this story of sixth-grader Daralynn, who ends up knee-deep in the competition between two family-connected funeral businesses after the death of her father and siblings. (BCCB 1/11)

Kraus, Daniel. Rotters. Delacorte, 2011. 9-12
You don’t need zombies or vampires for a good scare as proven by this wonderfully creepy and downright gruesome tale of graverobbing and family loyalty – but you might want to plug your nose before you dive in, the smell gets downright nasty.  (BCCB 5/11)

Mitchell, Saundra. Shadowed Summer. Delacorte, 2009. Gr. 6-9
“Where y’at, Iris?” whispers a ghost into Iris’ ear, and suddenly fourteen-year-old Iris’ enduring game of spirit-hunting with her friend Collette takes on a frightening reality in this classic yet contemporary ghost story. (BCCB 2/09)

Noyes, Deborah, ed. The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural. Candlewick, 2007. Gr. 7-9
An array of stellar authors offer their takes on the long dead, the undead, and the reluctantly dead in this spooky collection. (BCCB 10/07)

Price, Charlie. Dead Connection. Roaring Brook Press, 2006. Gr. 7-10
A quick pace and accessible prose make this tale of one high school loner and his ability to hear dead people a perfect choice for reluctant readers.

Sedgwick, Marcus. My Swordhand Is Singing. Lamb, 2007. Gr. 7-12
In this tense supernatural story, Peter’s already harsh life in rural seventeenth-century Europe becomes downright dangerous when the dead begin to return to life  and Peter’s family must protect and deploy the weapon that can defeat them. (BCCB 1/08)

Smith, Sarah. The Other Side of the Dark. Atheneum, 2010. Gr. 9-12
History comes to life in this provocative ghost story that has fourteen-year-old Katie and her friend Law working to save a Civil War era mansion that is haunted by ghosts that only she can see.  (BCCB 12/10)

Storrie, Paul D. Made for Each Other; illus. by Eldon Cowgur. Graphic Universe, 2011. Gr. 6-8
Byron and Shelley make cameos here as modern-day high-schoolers in this funny, sardonic graphic novel that has Maria discovering that her perfect new boyfriend is made up of reanimated corpse parts.

Violi, Jen. Putting Makeup on Dead People. Hyperion, 2011. Gr. 8-12
There are a lot of satiric and fantastical literary looks at death, but Violi’s story of Donna Parisi, who after her father’s death decides that her career path is to become a mortician, is a serious, wise, and poignant exploration of the meaning of life and death. (BCCB 7/11)

Zevin, Gabrielle. Eslewhere. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005. Gr. 7-10
Fifteen-year-old Liz wakes up from a car accident only to find herself on a boat headed for Elsewhere, an island where dead people live, in this funny, touching, and ultimately heartbreaking exploration of the afterlife.  (BCCB 9/05)

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This page was last updated on October 1, 2011.