Ghost Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
African American
Social Justice
by Jason Reynolds - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this novel. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of themselves and others, as well as exploring the idea of resilience.

Castle Crenshaw (Ghost) and four friends learn to navigate their lives and the differences among them. Ghost shows incredible natural talent with very few resources.  Through the help of his coaches, teammates, friends and family Ghost learns to harness his natural abilities, while learning lessons about his role in the community that will last a lifetime.

Literature Guide by Kaitlyn Pressnall

Discussion Questions

  1. The cover of the book says, “Running for his life or running from it?” What do you think this means? In what ways does running change over time for Ghost?
  2. Think about the characters Ghost and Coach. How are Coach and Ghost similar and different? What else does Coach teach Ghost other than how to run? What impact did both of these characters have on each other and their community?
  3. What advice would you give Ghost when he goes to get new running shoes? Have you ever had to make a decision between right and wrong? What can you do to help younger children learn how to make tough decisions?
  4. Ghost says, “ I got a lot of scream inside”, what does this mean? Can you relate to this? If so, how do you handle stress? What can you do to teach your community about trauma and stress?
  5. Do you have an adult in your life like Coach, if so how do they help you? How can you take what they have taught you and help your community?
  6. The book ends on a cliffhanger. How do you think the race ends, what might be the outcome? 
  7. What surprised you about the book? What are the main themes of the book? Support your thinking with examples from the text.
  8. What did you learn about yourself while reading this book? What did you learn about others while reading this book?


  1. Ghost has many advocates in his life, such as Mr. Charles, Coach and his mom. Think about an advocate you have in your life and write them a thank you letter. Now, think about if you were an advocate for someone what would you do or say to them?
  2. Research community resources that exist that people can easily access when they need help affording things? Host a fundraising event to support organizations that help people in need.
  3. If you have any recycled items available to you, can you create a shoe?
  4. Running shoes are an important part of a track athlete's life. Ghost didn’t feel that he had the resources to purchase his dream shoes. Do a quick search of the non-profits in your community.  Make a list of resources people could use if they needed help buying shoes. Visit the Nike website and create your dream pair of running shoes.
  5. Coach gave this advice: “You can’t run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be”. Make yourself a motivational poster with this quote or another quote that means something to you and your role in helping others. Hang your poster somewhere that you can see. Make another poster to hang in your community that motivates community members.
  6. Find a youth sports club and see if you can volunteer at an event.
  7. Make a music playlist with songs that remind you of Ghost and his teammates.