Andy and Ghost Boy by Karen Tyrrell – a review

images of author Karen Tyrrell and her book Andy and Ghost Boy

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

photograph of Karen Tyrrell author of Ghost Boy

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:

About Andy and Ghost Boy

the cover of Andy and Ghost Boy by Karen Tyrrell

The blurb

‘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

Teacher resources

Download teacher notes and activities, aligned with the Kids Matter Australian Curriculum from Karen’s website under Free Kids Stuff.

Available from

Purchase you own copy of Andy and Ghost Boy direct from Karen Tyrrell, from online bookstores and in person from your favourite bookshop.

Publication information

Author: Karen Tyrrell

Cover illustrator: Nicola Hooper

ISBN: 978-0-6481617-9-0

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.

an image of Karen Tyrrell and her interview about Song Bird

Author Spotlight: Karen Tyrrell



  1. Karen Tyrrell
    July 27, 2023

    Thanks Norah,
    for this very uplifting Review on Andy & Ghost Boy.
    I appreciate you taking the time to both read and review Andy & Ghost Boy.
    Hope all the little worriers out there, feel BRAVER after reading Andy & Ghost Boy.

    Thanks for your kind friendship,
    Karen xx

    • Norah Colvin
      July 27, 2023

      It was my pleasure to both read and review Andy and Ghost Boy, Karen. Like Andy, I too have suffered anxiety attacks and have had to learn strategies to bring them under control. I wish there had been more recognition of anxiety and education about management of it as I was growing up. I know your book will help many children (and adults).

      • Karen TYRRELL
        July 27, 2023

        YES! Me too!
        Anxiety is very normal even with teachers and parents – a message I wanted to share with kids.

        • Norah Colvin
          July 27, 2023

          You certainly showed that children aren’t the only ones, Karen. As you say, teachers and parents too, and others from all walks of life.

  2. steve tyrrell
    July 27, 2023

    I think of Karen’s fifteen empowering children’s books; this one will always have a special place in her heart. She manages her anxiety every day to accomplish goals and ambitions. Her heart and soul are on these pages, and all she wants to do is help kids cope. Congratulations.

    • Norah Colvin
      July 27, 2023

      It is brave of Karen to put herself into these characters and books the way she does. It makes the characters very recognisable, either in ourselves or others we know, and we are drawn to feel empathy with them. Her books matter. She does a great job to empower her audience.

  3. DGKaye
    August 2, 2023

    Loved the trailer and the whole premise for Karen’s book. Wonderful to teach through entertaining. Congrats to Karen! <3

    • Norah Colvin
      August 3, 2023

      Thanks so much for popping over to comment, Debby. Karen does a great job writing these empowering books for kids.

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