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The Girl and the Ghost book cover

The Girl and the Ghost

Suraya, a twelve-year-old Malaysian girl, inherits her grandmother’s pelesit and becomes best friends with the ghostly demon, whom she names Pink.
The Girl and the Ghost book cover

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For some, the supernatural is part of everyday culture in Malaysia, woven with stories and myths of ghosts and spirits. Talk with students about the supernatural elements of The Girl and the Ghost and the dark things and creatures Suraya encounters. Discuss how these compare with supernatural beings in other cultures.

Also discuss things from the book that haunt humans but that aren’t ghosts. Ask students if they have ever felt “haunted” by something. Brainstorm together some things that might haunt or preoccupy people, such as loss, grief, loneliness, guilt, doubt, worries, memories, a wish, or something you said or did.

Have students put the discussion and brainstorming session to use when they write their own short stories with their own take on what it means to be haunted. This might include ghost stories, supernatural stories from their own cultures, or nontraditional hauntings focused on experiences or feelings. Ask students to illustrate their stories and read them aloud to an invited audience in a dimly lit room.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. Friendship is a big part of this story. What did friendship mean to Suraya? How was that different for what it meant to Pink? Would you be friends with Pink? Why or why not?
  2. Have you ever had a friendship that you wish had gone differently? Have you ever had a friendship end? What happened? How do you feel about it? Would you want to be friends with a pelesit? Why or why not?
  3. Pink gets very jealous of Suraya's new friend Jing. What is jealousy? Have you ever been jealous? How did you deal with feelings of jealousy? Are there any positive ways to channel this feeling?
  4. Are ghosts and spirits part of your culture? What draws people to ghost stories?

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