My Brother’s Ghost by Allan Ahlberg is a standalone short story published like a small novel, suitable for boys and girls aged ten and up.
The story is sectioned into chapters, but each chapter can be read quickly and the whole book will take a confident reader less than half an hour to finish.
My Brother’s Ghost really is a ghost story, and a sad and melancholy one at that – although it is not frightening at all.
The heroine of the story, Frances Frogarty, is ten when her brother Jack is killed. She tells the story of how she and her younger brother Harry, already orphans and living with their aunt and uncle, discover that Tom is still visiting them as a ghost and how it affects their lives from that point onwards.
Frances is a grown woman as she tells the story, and we get the double perspective of how she felt at the time, as a child, and how she understands what happened to her and Harry from an adult perspective.
The story is really emotional, and throws up lots of questions about death and what happens afterwards – which is why I recommend it for children aged ten and up. It isn’t scary, but it is thought provoking and if you’re sharing it with children, either at home or in a classroom situation it is one of those books that will need talking about when the story, or each part of it, is done.