Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

Here are a few of the reviews we have done last week. We are also inviting everyone to join our Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge. We hosted the AWB Challenge last year and we are thrilled to be able to host it again. Do sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the titles/images below to be taken to our blog posts.

I have also written a post about my thoughts on the Accelerated Reader Program.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 9.19.37 AM

I am inviting fellow teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, authors, artists, parents, fellow book enthusiasts to share their own experiences and ideas about the AR program.

Does the Accelerated Reader Program help develop Lifelong Readers?


I am pleased to find more ghost-related books from the library that I am excited to share with you today. And since I fell in love with New Orleans, I thought I might as well feature a sub-theme about Southern ghosts.

IMG_8808The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans

Story ByMary Quattlebaum
Illustrated byPatricia Castelao
Published by: Random House, 2011. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Fred the Ghost is terribly upset. His squeaky old house with all its comforting leaks and creaking floors has been occupied by Pierre and his daughter Marie. The new owners transformed Fred’s home to a restaurant of all things! And they cleaned and scrubbed and transformed the entire place to a vibrant restaurant with a busy oven, the smell of spices, and chopping and whisking noises. Fred could not stand it.


I could sense Fred’s frustration whenever he would holler “My house!” to Pierre’s happy and excited proclamations about his new restaurant. And so during the grand opening, Fred the Ghost made sure that he made his presence felt. However, rather than being turned off, the diners, particularly Conti, the Food Critic, actually enjoyed it and thought of it as a unique show that made the restaurant even more distinctive!


With a heavy heart, Fred decided that he needed to find a new home. The restaurant does not feel like his old place any longer. Whether Marie, the young girl, was able to woo Fred the Ghost back to his old home, I shall leave for you to discover. Suffice it to say that powdered ghost puffs played a huge role in this picture book. The Author’s Note shows that the puff is actually inspired by New Orleans’ luscious beignets. Here are a few photographs I have taken from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans: beignets! Perfect with coffee.



For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, the author Mary Quattlebaum has a few recommended writing and cooking activities in her website.

The Boy and the GhostIMG_8814

Story By: Robert D. San Souci
Illustrated by: J. Brian Pinkney
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1989. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Thomas and his family lived down south in a little backcountry farm. He was the middle son in a family of seven siblings so there was barely enough food to eat every day. Thomas hated to see his parents struggling and working so hard for so little, and his siblings wide-eyed with hunger. And so he decided to go to the city to earn more money to help support his family. He seemed like a level-headed, goal-directed, courageous boy who showed spunk, grit, and initiative.


Armed with nothing but a croacker-sack to carry a box of matches, a pot and a hambone to make soup, he set out on his life’s journey. On the way to the city, he came upon a poor man who asked for a taste of Thomas’ soup. Being a kind and generous soul, he offered what is remaining from the pot to the raggedy old man who then told him about a haunted old house with a hidden treasure. Anyone who is able to stay in the place from sunset to sunrise is said to get the house and the treasure found in it.


Right then and there, Thomas decided that he would visit this haunted old mansion for himself to get the treasure for his family. Whether or not he succeeded, I shall leave for you to discover. The author Robert San Souci mentioned in his Author’s Note found at the back of the book that the story is actually an “echo” of much older tales that may now be considered as part of “world folk literature.” He further explained:

Very likely, the tale of a hero and a ghost who appears a little at a time traveled from the Old World to the New with colonists and immigrants, and was handed down (as good stories are) as a legacy to sons and daughters growing up under very different circumstances. As they, in turn, shared it with new listeners in a new land, the haunted European castle was changed to a haunted plantation house in the American South, and the brash Spanish tinker became a brave little boy. Gradually, the story took on a fresh new feel and became part of American folk literature.

A Gallery of Photographs from New Orleans

I visited this Southern State a few years back and immediately fell in love with the place. Not sure whether it was the beignet, the music, the Cajun/Creole food, the people, the European vibe, the True Blood feel of the place.. it’s clear though that I simply love it. I do hope to visit again soon. Here are some photos taken around New Orleans.

Currently Reading…


I just finished reading The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers for a new book club that we are having here in Singapore (an adult book club).

We are calling our book club SNOB-G: Saturday Night Out for Book Geeks. This is our October book of the month. It’s slow reading in the beginning, but it picks up somewhere in the middle, and turns into a multi-varied shade of amazing. Have you read this book yet? Any thoughts about it?


The Boy and The Ghost: 1990 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor for Picture Books

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 44 (35)


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update:  207, 208 (150)

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

14 comments on “[Monday Reading] Southern Ghosts and love for New Orleans

  1. What a nice variety of books. I’ll have to check into that one by San Souci and Pinkney for my media center. Come see my Monday Report if you get a chance. Happy reading!


  2. Nice mix of reads here. Enjoy them all.


  3. Haven’t read Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket yet, on my list… The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans looks beautiful! Still loving the theme this month! 🙂


  4. Great pics of New Orleans! Is your book club for adults reading kid lit?


    • Hi Earl! You’re very astute, yup! Adults reading YA and perhaps, on occasion, adult novels. We see where our reading journey takes us. 🙂


  5. You are my kind of reader/writer. When I read I also connect what I am reading to people and places. I love a good background story. The Boy and The Ghost sounds like the right amount of scary. I am guessing the treasure found at the end of the night is courage.


  6. Hi Myra, Looks like you have been very busy! I also read The Terrible Thing… I am wondering what you thought of it.


  7. All the books you’ve mentioned look great, Myra, but I especially bookmarked The Boy and The Ghost-the illustrations look gorgeous! I’ve still never been to New Orleans-maybe someday? One of our older classes traveled there last spring, had an amazing time learning from those who survived Katrina, & eating beignets of course!


  8. Ooo I love Southern Gothic and New Orleans especially! Its my favorite city in the U.S. 🙂 I am definitely going to check out The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans, and pass the title on to my friend who is a native of New Orleans.

    I am going to pop over to your AR post – I am in charge of the program at my school, and I am curious what your thoughts are. 🙂


  9. Tara Smith

    Love the pictures of New Orleans – it’s a city I simply must find the time to visit some day, Myra. I’m curious about the John Boyne book – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was such an amazing book, that I wonder what this would be like.


  10. The Boy and the Ghost looks amazing! Thank you for the detailed descriptions. LOVE your photos! I would love to go to New Orleans! Really want to read this new Boyne title. Put it on my TBR list.


  11. Love, love, love beignets. Mmmmm. Thanks for the great photos! Looks like some fun reading. 🙂


  12. Pingback: Half Past Ghostly in Patricia McKissack’s “The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural” |

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