Today it is my pleasure to share my review of Karen Tyrrell’s fabulous new junior fiction novel Andy and Ghost Boy. With its theme of friendship, it’s a perfect read for the International Day of Friendship on 30 July.
About author Karen Tyrrell
Karen Tyrrell is a Brisbane author, speaker, educator, performer, Children’s Rights Ambassador, Australia Reads Ambassador and child empowerment author. Karen presents costumed writing workshops, pantomimes, readers theatre and author talks with co-writer Steve Tyrrell. Karen’s acclaimed books include Song Bird Rainforest Rescue which was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Book of the Year 2019, STOP the Bully, Bailey Beats the Blah, Harry Helps Grandpa Remember and other titles in the Song Bird series. Karen has won a major mental health award, 7 grants and a mentorship with the Society of Editors. You can find out more about Karen on her website: www.karentyrrell.com.
About Andy and Ghost Boy
‘Disaster magnet, Anxious Andy dreams of finding one true friend and his forever school, but how can he when Ghost Boy, his rambunctious friend, sabotages everything?
Andy and Ghost Boy trigger a catastrophe at school.
At Camp Discovery, a bully showdown results in disaster.
How can Andy become the hero and save the day?’
Bravery, Anxiety, self-care, coping skills, resilience, mindfulness, bullying, feelings, identity, self-esteem, PTSD, trauma , friendship, inclusion.
Andy and Ghost Boy was shortlisted in both the CYA Conference Writing Competition and the SCBWI-Larrikin House Competition in 2022.
What I like about Andy and Ghost Boy
Andy and Ghost Boy is a fast-paced, action-packed Junior Fiction novel that will keep young readers engaged from beginning to end. We meet Andy as he begins his first day at yet another new school. As for many children starting a new school, Andy is not only anxious, he is super anxious, when he’d really rather be a super hero.
One disaster follows another as Andy tries to overcome his anxieties and find his inner strength, especially when confronted by the relentless bully. With the help of a mystery girl and a ghost boy, Andy discovers where his real strength lies.
One of my favourite themes is the power of friendship and I like the way Karen Tyrrell has woven this into her story. A friend helps Andy deal with his anxieties and in turn, Andy’s friendship helps convert a bully to a friend, convincing him they are more alike than different.
Throughout the book, in a gentle non-didactic way, Karen Tyrrell weaves suggestions of strategies that can be used to calm oneself when feeling anxious. These are strategies that are known to work and that a reader may try if reading alone or may be discussed if being read to by a teacher or parent.
Karen Tyrrell sets out to write books that empower children and help them live strong resilient lives. She has achieved her goal with this book and I’m certain that Andy and his friends, real and imaginary, will be popular with young readers.
Other recommendations for Andy and Ghost Boy
‘Karen Tyrrell does it again in her signature, action-packed style – empowering young readers with insights and coping skills to bravely face challenges. Her delightfully relatable character Andy is tired of stumbling through school life, constantly tripped up by his raging anxiety. He longs for success at his newest school. With a little supernatural support from his new sidekick, the zany and vaporous Ghost Boy, perhaps this time Andy will make friends and reach his goals.’ —Alison Stegert, Author, SCBWI QLD ARA, School Counsellor.
‘A rollicking read, packed with bravery.’ —Wenda Shurety, Author of ‘Pear of Hope.’
‘Heartfelt and humorous story empowering children to cope with challenges and fears.’ —
—Brooke Graham, Author of ‘Go Away, Worry Monster.’
‘Andy’s authentic voice will entertain and empower anxious children.’— Jacqui Halpin Author, Brisbane Coordinator ~ SCBWI QLD
‘Imaginative and relatable for anxious kids.’ — Zewlan Moor, Author, GP, Bibliotherapist
‘A timely, reassuring and hopeful read.’—Anna Byrd Author, Book Review
Download teacher notes and activities, aligned with the Kids Matter Australian Curriculum from Karen’s website under Free Kids Stuff.
Purchase you own copy of Andy and Ghost Boy direct from Karen Tyrrell www.karentyrrell.com/mybooks/, from online bookstores and in person from your favourite bookshop.
Author: Karen Tyrrell
Cover illustrator: Nicola Hooper
Publisher: Digital Future Press
Distributors: Peter Pal, Digital Future Press, InHouse Publishing, Amazon, Booktopia,
Release Date: 22 July, 2023
AGE: 7-11 years
Format: Paperback 203 mm x 127 mm
Pages: 194 pages
RRP: $16.99 AU
I have previously introduced you to Karen with her wonderful Song Bird series. You can read one of the interviews with her in our collection of author and illustrator interviews.