Written by Jason Reynolds
Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons–it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems–and running away from them–until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?
Primary Source Pairing:
Ghost, according to his self-proclamation, probably holds the record for knowing the most world records. In addition to knowing a lot about random world records, Ghost also knows how to run. It was his curiosity that lead Ghost to the track at the park and his confidence that got him into the race with Lu. It was the coach’s persistence that got Ghost onto the Defenders track team, and ultimately, it was Ghost’s perseverance that was record-worthy.
For this primary source pairing, invite students to study two images of famous track runners and Olympic athletes: Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt. Invite students to compare and contrast the two images and consider how the sport has changed and evolved over the years. Challenge students to make connections to Ghost’s experience on the Defenders track team and what they see in these track athletes.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What’s happening in the images?
- Find something small but interesting.
- What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
- What do you notice that you can’t explain?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- Compare and contrast the images and make connections to what you read in the book Ghost.