Ghost Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
4, 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


Ask: The cover of the book says, “Running for his life or running from it?” What do you think this means? Read the back of the book (or inside cover). What would you like to ask the author?

Show: Looking at the cover, what do you think the book will be about?

Connect: Does the topic of this book remind you of anything in your life or community?

During Reading

Ask: When did Ghost realize he could run fast?

  • What sport did Ghost want to play first?
  • What makes Ghost want to join the team?
  • How did Castle get the nickname Ghost?
  • What else does Coach teach Ghost other than how to run?
  • How are Coach and Ghost similar and different?

Show: Make a mental sketch of Coach and Ghost in your head.  Be thinking about the impact both of these characters have on each other and their community.

Connect: 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?

  • 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?
  • 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?

After Reading

Ask: How do you think the race ends, what is the outcome? Overall, did you think it was a book well worth it? Why or why not?

Show: Look back at the cover, what does this mean to you now?

Connect: What surprised you about the book?

  • What did you learn about yourself while reading this book?
  • What did you learn about others while reading this book?


Check to see if there is a resource or website that exists that people can easily find when they need help affording things?

  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. How can you host a virtual fundraising event to help people who need it?

  3. How can we not speak for people but empower them to speak for themselves?

  4. If you have any recycled items available to you, can you create a shoe?

  5. Running shoes are an important part of a track athletes 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Find a youth sports club and see if you can volunteer at an event.
  8. Make a music playlist with songs that remind you of Ghost and his teammates.
  9. Create a casting list of hollywood stars that you think would be a good fit for each character if the book was made into a movie.