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Ghoulia: Making New Friends Can Be Scary

Region: Mediterranean, Italy

Author: Barbara Cantini

Original Language: Italian

Translator: Anna Golden

Illustrator: Barbara Cantini

Genre: Fantasy; Horror

Descriptors: families; friendship; ghouls; Halloween; zombies  

Age: 6-10 years old

Programming: Zombie Slime (Instructional Video) 


“Making friends can be scary…If you’re a zombie.”  


Ghoulia: Making New Friends Can Be Scary is the first book in the Ghoulia series by Italian author Barbara Cantini. Ghoulia, a zombie girl, lives in Crumbling Manor with her undead family and best friend, her albino greyhound, Tragedy. While Ghoulia loves her family, being the only kid at the manor makes her feel incredibly lonely. She wants nothing more than to play with the living children of the nearby village, but Auntie Departed forbids it, fearing that if the villagers knew about their undead status, they would be run out of town. One day, while spying on the village children from afar, Ghoulia learns about Halloween and uses it as the perfect excuse to sneak out and make new friends. Can Ghoulia manage to keep her family’s big secret? Ghoulia is a really cute, not-so-spooky story about friendship and accepting people (and zombies) as they are. It is a chapter book that reads as a picture book, filled with gorgeously detailed, colorful, Tim Burton-esque illustrations on every page. The manor is decorated with all kinds of fun things, like family portraits and visiting attic spiders, which Cantini points out with handwritten captions so children can spot all of the tiny details. Following the story, Cantini includes some fun extra content, like instructions for how to dress up like Ghoulia for Halloween, how to make spooky treats, and a few spot-the-difference puzzles using illustrations of some of the story’s characters.    

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