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Same book, different covers!

Awards & Honors


IRA Young Adult's Choice

Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award (2002)



       "A fast-paced story that mixes scares and history for some can't-put-it-down fun."

—Kirkus, starred review

Learn more...


If you're interested in reading more about the underground railroad, you can visit the site of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

More stuff...

Original paperback edition by Puffin Books (an mprint of Penguin Putnam)




The Indonesian version of There's A Dead Person...

There's a Dead Person

Following My Sister Around 

Original Cover Illustration by: Tristan Elwell

Ages: 10 & up

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

Book Description:

A funny, frightening tale about three modern children who are haunted--literally--by the ghosts of slavery. 


Where do you GET those ideas?


This book started with the setting.  Our house is not the house described in the story, but our yard is.  (That is, we have a big ditch running behind us, part of the old Erie Canal system.)  I wanted to use that in one of my stories.  Some of the old houses in the Rochester area have secret rooms that were used during the time of the underground railroad, so I was interested in that, too.  As Ted says in the first chapter, many ghost stories start with people moving into a spooky old house; I wanted to do something different, and so I decided that the family would have lived in the same house for generations, so they wouldn't be scared of the house.  But then I had to come up with a reason why a ghost would start haunting these particular kids at this particular time.



Zach clicked the channel buton. "What did you do to the TV?"

"Maybe the cable's out," I suggested.

Zach switched to the regular stations and flipped through them. Still a lot of static, but now there was definitely something in the middle. "I'd swear it looks like a person," he said. "But why the same thing on all channels?"

"Zach, turn it off," I said.

Over his shoulder I could see the person on the TV coming in clearer every second, walking toward us through the field of static, a dark silhouette in a long gown and bonnet.

"Zach, turn off the TV," I said.

Jackie took the remote control out of Zach's hand and turned off the power.

Zach opened his mouth to protest but didn't say a word. The screen stayed the same: black and white static with someone coming straight toward us.

With Marella's mother coming straight toward us.



Till her face filled the screen...

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