Ghost: Running for His Life or From It?
by Jason Reynolds
Publication Date: Aug 30, 2016
List Price: $16.99 (store prices may vary)
Age: 10 and Up
Page Count: 192
Imprint: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
His new book Ghost is the start of a series for kids about an inner city track team and the different things they’re running from. It’s inspired by Black Lives Matter and his own childhood in DC:
Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life.
- Castle Crenshaw, aka Ghost’s, life story actually happened to Jason’s best friend. He and his mother were chased by their father at gunpoint, and they had to hide in a 7-11 down the street. Lu, an albino African American character, is also based on a friend of Jason’s.
- The coach is based on Jason’s own coach, a taxi driver who drove kids to practice in the back of his cab.
- Like Ghost, Jason ran track as conditioning for the sport he REALLY cared about – basketball.
- In communities of color, and low-income communities, kids are always running. From sirens, from guns, from their family, from their mom’s discipline. They’re in constant fear. Running isn’t something they’ve had to learn, they’ve just always done it.
- Track is an “individual team” sport. Everyone is competing with themselves (their own scores/times), as well as being part of the team. This mirrors the black experience in the US—everyone has their own individual experiences, but is a part of the larger African American community that is fighting for justice. Truly, everything Jason writes is inspired by that experience and Black Lives Matter.