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Children’s Literature Shortlist

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Title: Ghost Book

Author: Remy Lai

Publishers: Allen & Unwin

July Chen sees ghosts. But her dad insists ghosts aren’t real. So she pretends they don’t exist. Which is incredibly difficult now as it’s Hungry Ghost month, when the Gates of the Underworld open and dangerous ghosts run amok in the living world. When July saves a boy ghost from being devoured by a Hungry Ghost, he becomes her first ever friend. Except William is not a ghost. He’s a wandering soul wavering between life and death. As the new friends embark on an adventure to return William to his body, they unearth a ghastly truth – for William to live, July must die.

Inspired by Chinese mythology, this resoundingly hopeful tale about friendship, sacrifice and the unseen world of ghosts is a dazzling heir to beloved Studio Ghibli classics.


Photography by Sarah Walker



Judges’ report

Ghost Book is a page turning middle grade graphic novel that tackles huge themes of life, death, destiny and dumplings. Multi-talented Remy Lai has created a high stakes drama with moments of dark comedy, light touches of humour and heartwarming characters. This tale of the supernatural, Chinese mythology and family, deftly explores grief, kindness, friendship, and memory within a fast-paced story that is enjoyably spooky. An original concept that is universally riveting while maintaining cultural specifics, it showed expertise in all areas of the graphic novel form. Pacing, imagery and text flawlessly combine to create a memorable interactive reading experience of wide appeal. Like all good graphic novels, Ghost Book invites us into a world of fascinating characters and complex storytelling told only through dialogue and imagery, which creates appeal and accessibility to a wide range of readers. It is visual and literary storytelling of the highest order, demonstrating that graphic novels for children can be stories of great depth. The multi-layered story is funny, imaginative, and heartfelt and stays with you long after reading.







About the author

Remy Lai writes and draws for kids. She was born in Indonesia, grew up in Singapore and currently lives in Brisbane, Australia. She lives with her two dogs, who sometimes scare her by barking at nothing in the corners of rooms. Remy is also the award-winning creator of Pie in the Sky, Fly on the Wall, Pawcasso and the Surviving the Wild series.


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