Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ghost Girl : A Blue Ridge Mountain Story

by Delia Ray


Eleven-year-old April Sloane has never set foot in a school before, and now that President Hoover and his wife are building a one-room schoolhouse in the hollow of the Blue Ridge Mountains where April lives, she is eager to attend it. But these are the Depression years, and Mama, who has been grieving ever since the accidental death of her seven-year-old son, wants April to stay home and do the chores around their dilapidated farm. With her grandmother's intercession, April is grudgingly allowed to go. The kind teacher encourages her apt pupil, who finds a new world opening up to her. But at home, April cannot repair the relationship with her mother, and worse, her mother overhears the dark secret April confesses to her teacher regarding the true cause of her brother's death, for which April feels responsible. The author has used her own experience growing up in a rural area of northern Virginia to create the vivid characters and authentic dialogue and background detail that characterize this finely honed debut novel. She has based the one-room schoolhouse on papers in the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, which include letters between the White House and the young teacher who taught at the school.


ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780618333776
ISBN-10: 0618333770
Pages: 224
Publication Date: 09/22/2003
Carton Quantity: 12
Grade Level: 5,6,7,8,9
Age Range: 10,11,12,13,14


Eleven-year-old April Sloane has never set foot in a school before, and now that President Hoover and his wife are building a one-room schoolhouse in the hollow of the Blue Ridge Mountains where April lives, she is eager to attend it. But these are the Depression years, and Mama, who has been grieving ever since the accidental death of her seven-year-old son, wants April to stay home and do the chores around their dilapidated farm. With her grandmother's intercession, April is grudgingly allowed to go. The kind teacher encourages her apt pupil, who finds a new world opening up to her. But at home, April cannot repair the relationship with her mother, and worse, her mother overhears the dark secret April confesses to her teacher regarding the true cause of her brother's death, for which April feels responsible. The author has used her own experience growing up in a rural area of northern Virginia to create the vivid characters and authentic dialogue and background detail that characterize this finely honed debut novel. She has based the one-room schoolhouse on papers in the Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, which include letters between the White House and the young teacher who taught at the school.

Delia Ray

Delia Ray's novel GHOST GIRL: A BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN STORY has been nominated on state lists in Oklahoma, Kansas, South Carolina, Missouri, Indiana, and New Hampshire. Ms. Ray is also the author of three young-adult nonfiction books about American history. Her latest novel, SINGING HANDS, is based on her mother's experiences growing up as a hearing child with deaf parents. Ms. Ray lives with her family in Iowa City, Iowa. Read More



"Nothing is...predictable...April's coming-of-age...is poignant, realistic, and somber, and reflective of the strength April has found within." Horn Book, Starred

"Ray's loving attention to setting, character, and detail makes this debut special...based on real events and a real teacher." KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Ray sensitively captures the atmospheric flavor...treat[s] her characters as real, complex people...A warm but not sentimental coming-of-age story." THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"excellent portrayal...rises to the top....seamlessly incorporates historical facts into the narrative...engaging character...first-rate purchase for all libraries." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOUNRAL, STARRED REVIEW School Library Journal, Starred

"fascinating historical detail...will haunt readers, especially since there's no patched-on happy solution to the poverty, anger and sorrow." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA