Monday, September 8, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GUEST POST: The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler


When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a real girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?


Dori Hillestad Butler is a chapter book series and mystery author who is eager to share her love of story with readers of all ages. She’s written magazine stories, educational materials, plays, book reviews, characters for a board game, and by the end of 2015 she will have published 42 books for kids, including 10 that were “ghostwritten.” She’s been nominated for children’s choice awards in 19 different states, and her Trading Places with Tank Talbott won Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Award in 2008. Her Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy won the 2011 Edgar Award for the best juvenile mystery published in 2010.  Dori has two grown sons. She lives in Kirkland, WA with her husband and a big black dog named Mouse. She enjoys reading, playing the mandolin, teaching her dog new tricks, zumba, hiking, biking, and a good game of Scrabble!


I’m very excited about the release of my new Haunted Library series. The Haunted Library is about a ghost boy who is separated from the rest of his ghost family and is blown into a library, where he meets a “solid” girl named Claire. Claire can see him even though he’s not glowing and she can hear him even though he’d not wailing. The two eventually form a friendship and work together to solve ghostly mysteries.

This series is just plain FUN to write because I get to play in this whole new world that I've created. But sometimes it’s challenging, too, because I’m also limited by the world I've created. Sure, I make the rules. I decide what Kaz and the other ghosts can and cannot do. But once I've established those rules, I have to stick with them.

One of the first decisions that was made about this series was that the ghosts would not be dead people. 

My first editor, Jordan, felt so strongly about this that before she committed to publishing the series, she wanted to know whether I thought of the ghosts as dead people?

Well, that was a very interesting question because I knew that the two chapters she had in front of her were set in an old abandoned schoolhouse and it wasn't really clear whether the ghosts in those chapters were dead people or not. What she (and my agent) didn't know was I had started the first book over and written a whole different beginning. A beginning that was set in a graveyard.

The characters were ghosts. Shouldn't you start a ghost series in a graveyard? I liked my new beginning quite a bit. I wasn't sure why I hadn't written it this way to begin with.

Jordan said, “Especially for this age group, I really don’t think the ghosts should be dead people. We want to keep the series light and fun and age appropriate.”

I agreed. I wanted to keep the series light and fun and age appropriate, too.

No dead relatives or graveyards or anything like that,” Jordan went on.

No graveyards?


Of course the real question we were discussing here was “what is a ghost?” Ghosts are dead people, aren't they? That’s what prompted me to go back and start the book in a graveyard to begin with.

But do ghosts have to be dead people?

Was Casper a dead child? There’s actually some controversy about that. It depends on who you ask and which version of Casper you’re talking about. In the 1960s and 1970s, Casper was a ghost because his parents were ghosts. They were all just another sort of supernatural being.

“I’d rather think of the ghosts as transparent people with superpowers,” Jordan said. “What do you think about that?”

“Oh, I like that!” I said. Transparent people with superpowers! And I've been borrowing that phrase ever since!

I put my “revised” chapters away and went back to the original proposal and started building the world from there. Rule #1: my ghosts are not dead people. They’re transparent people with superpowers. It was absolutely the right choice.



The Haunted Library is a delightful new series perfect for ghost loving young readers.  Kaz is a sympathetic main character as a ghost who isn't comfortable doing a lot of ghost things like passing through walls.  But when he is separated from his family he must find a way to cope with the strange new world in which he finds himself.  He ends up in a library where a girl named Claire can apparently see him even when he isn't glowing.  He avoids her at first until he discovers that she may be his best ally in finding his family and they may just solve a mystery along the way.

The illustrations have a cartoon flavor too them and are very appealing.  They aren't scary in any way.  Kaz's ghost abilities are clever and kids will love his ability to shrink and expand and the fact that he doesn't sleep.  The story moves along quickly and will draw the kids into wanting to know the whole story. A winning new series for early chapter book readers.

Be sure to check out the second book in the series:


After successfully solving the mystery of the ghost in the library, Kaz and Claire land the first case for their detective agency—a haunted attic in a neighbor’s home! With a little help from Grannie, Kaz and Claire discover that what appeared to be something spooky has a much simpler explanation.

Thanks again to Dori Hillestad Butler for appearing.  For other stops on the Haunted Library Blog Tour please check

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