Posted in Meet the authors

Padma Venkatraman

Credit: Connecticut head shots

Author website/social media:

Website: http://www.padmavenkatraman.com

Twitter: @padmatv

Instagram and facebook: Venkatraman.padma

1. When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

I didn’t like to read, I loved to read! I had a tough childhood, in which books were a saving grace.

2. What is a book that made an impact on you?

Several books had an impact on me… and here are a few that come to mind. THE SECRET GARDEN, for example, was wonderful in some ways (I loved the magical element, the garden and the robin) and awful in others (many aspects of the story drip with racism and ableism). I liked a book called THE SPRIG OF BROOM because it was one of the few that wasn’t overtly racist (except in that it was populated entirely with white characters). I also enjoyed a book called 31 BROTHERS AND SISTERS – because it was the ONLY book I had as a kid that featured a dark skinned girl who defied gender norms in her society; as a child, I assumed the book had been written by an African author; as an adult, though, I discovered the book wasn’t and that it had limitations I hadn’t been sensitive too as a child…despite all that, it was the one example – the only example I had – of the kind of book I wanted to write in that it was the only one I came across that actually had a protagonist with dark skin who was in some ways like me, a girl who rebelled, a girl who had a burning desire to forge her own way in the world, a girl who fought to express her independence.

3. Is it hard to come up with book ideas?

Nope. I wish I could live long enough to finish writing all my book ideas, but as it turns out, even if I managed to write a book a year until the day I drop dead (and I plan to drop dead at the age of 101 with a pen in my hands), I won’t be done with all my book ideas…

4. The Bridge Home talks about a less nice side of India. A lot of the books I have read about life in India are not so nice life. Do you have book suggestions that show the nice side? (I hear it is really pretty, colorful,busy)

I like to think THE BRIDGE HOME show both sides of life in India – after all, the characters manage to find laughter and courage in the toughest situations – which is pretty wonderful, no? Anyway, here are suggestions for the nice side – I think my novel A TIME TO DANCE explores a nice side, for the most part, as it looks at Indian dance and a mostly functional family and solid friendships. There are also many lovely books that show the nice side of Indian culture – I just read a charming little book that’s coming out this fall called COUNT ME IN by Varsha Bajaj which shows a totally nice South Asian Indian American family; as for books set on the Indian subcontinent, one of my favorites is RICKSHAW GIRL by Mitali Perkins which is about a very lovely Bangladeshi family; THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING is a joyful romp by Uma Krishnaswami that’s set partly in India; Deepa Agarwal is an Indian author who’s been writing fantasy inspired by Indian tales for decades, such as the book BLESSED, but I’m not sure how easy it is to get her books in the United States…

5. What author or book have read recently that impacted you

Margarita Engle is an author whom I admire and someone I care for deeply; she is so generous. I read SOARING EARTH – a companion to her acclaimed and award-winning memoir in verse ENCHANTED AIR.. and it’s one of the few sequels I’ve read that is just as wonderful as the first book. It came out this spring, I think, around the same time as THE BRIDGE HOME.

6.Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

In this day and age of twitter, I’d like to mention a few authors who aren’t on social media (because I hope and think kids should be aware of them and I’d like to make sure we don’t forget their marvelous work just because they aren’t on the internet): Donna Jo-Napoli is a prolific author, who, among other things, has written books that relate to Greek Mythology that are really interesting – such as the young adult novel THE GREAT GOD PAN. An Indian-American author who comes to mind as I write this note is KASHMIRA SHETH; she’s pretty well known, but I think it’s important for us to celebrate people like her, even as we welcome new authors into the field. Mildred Taylor’s ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY is a classic, in my opinion, and a book I hope kids are aware of – and again, an author who isn’t on the internet I don’t think. CAROLYN COMAN is a superb author, whom I think kids should be aware of; her novel WHAT JAMIE SAW is pretty incredible and an absolute gem of a book. To me, Coman is one of the immortal names in kidlit. As for authors who are on all things twitter and whom I do think are pretty well known, but here’s a shout out to them, just to be sure – Dan Gemeinhart, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Phil Bildner, Ann Braden, Brian Lies, Kristy Dempsey, and the incredible Kathi Appelt, author of THE UNDERNEATH which is a superb book.

7 What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Read, read, read. Don’t worry about whether adults around you think a book deserves acclaim or awards – have the strength to form your own opinions. Most important of all, don’t be in a hurry to see your name in print – it’s not publication that makes an author and author, it’s love of the written word, love of the process that makes a person an author. Material success isn’t always a reflection of a book or an author’s true worth – there’s a lot of luck in this field. I became an author because of my desire to communicate and to increase compassion in the world because to me, a book isn’t merely something that entertains, a book is a magical key that unlocks empathy…that’s not to say everyone who is an author needs to feel this way, but it’s just to say this is where I come from.

8 As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

The most wonderful thing in the whole world is to hear from readers who’ve been touched or moved by your work. In a way, I feel like my books aren’t really mine. THE BRIDGE HOME belongs to Rukku, Muthu, Arul and Viji, to the real people who inspired the story and to the characters in my head and heart who are very real to me – every honor I receive is an honor for them, too. When I was in India, a boy broke down when he delivered the vote of thanks after my talk – and I heard later that he rarely ever expressed himself so seriously; so many children have been spurred to action because of THE BRIDGE HOME and that means a lot. Finally, I know of at least six children and two adults who drew enough strength from the book that they were able to move from tough situations in their lives to places of greater safety – and that is humbling and honoring in the most immense way possible. It is a priceless gift to that the book was one small positive step in their lives, one tiny element of change for the better in our world.

9 If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

THE LORD OF THE RINGS – despite all the violence – and I’d change it, so there were a bunch of heroines of color! It’s such a wonderful read, in so many ways, but there are a lot of problems in it, too – and I think it would be sort of boring to enter a book world in which everything was pretty much fine already … it’s more fun to think of a book world that needs change, a book world in which I would need to challenge gender-norms and racism and able-ism, especially a book world in which I’d have to ride horses and use magic while I did all of that! And after that, for rest and entertainment, I’d like to enter the world of THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste, because that’s a world which is filled with magic and doesn’t need to be fixed!

Posted in Meet the authors

Laura Thomae Young

Website: http://www.laurathomaeyoung.com

Instagram: lltyoung

Facebook: Laura Thomae Young

Twitter: @Laura_Youngmex

When you were my age (10), did you have a book inspire or impact you?

When I was 10 I read all the time! My all-time favorite books which inspired me as a child, and that I still re-read every few years, are the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, with my favorite being Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I also loved Beverly Cleary’s books: Henry Huggins and Fifteen (she remains one of my favorite authors). These were about ordinary kids who encountered extraordinary circumstances.

Have you read anything recently that inspired or impacted you?

I have been reading The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod, which is a sequel to The Miracle Morning. It’s about tapping into both faith and effort to reach your full potential. His books have helped me turn into a “morning person,” which is super helpful for getting up early to work on my book projects!

Can you share what your usual day as an author looks like?

I have an office job Monday – Friday, so my writing takes place over the weekends, and in early mornings. When I was writing my first book, Adulting Like a Boss, I got up early and wrote before I had to leave for the office. But for the children’s books, Serena the Sailboat, and the upcoming sequel, Serena Gets Rescued, dedicating the weekends to writing has worked best. My husband also writes, and we actually went away to a cabin in the mountains to work on books! That’s kind of cliché but we actually did it!

Is there a newer or lesser known author you think kids should know about?

I’m in a Facebook group with other new children’s picture book authors who are just getting started like I am, and it’s been fun to be on the same journey with them. We like to see each other’s books and compare notes. My favorite book from the group has been Where Do You Want to Sleep? by Stacey Rayz. It’s a hilarious book about a little kid who didn’t want to sleep in his bed, and explores where and how animals sleep.

What is a cool thing about being an author?

When I was growing up, I wasn’t the most popular kid, but I told my classmates to watch, because one day I would be writing books and speaking! There are lots of cool things about being an author – people are generally impressed when you say you write books – but seeing my name on a book – and knowing that I fulfilled a lifelong dream – that’s the coolest!

Is there anything hard about being an author? I know it is not rainbows, cupcakes, pens and a pot of gold.

Writing is the easy part. Marketing is hard. You have to say, “Hey look at me! Read my wonderful book! Write a review! Yea ME!!!” and that’s kind of embarrassing, because even though I’m very proud of my books, it seems strange to give myself shout-outs and ask people to buy something you created.

Book access and diversity in books is a big topic. As an author what do you think your role is in this topic?

I spent 12 years living in Latin America, and wrote my first book when we moved back to the USA. Living as a foreigner in another country influenced me to be aware of diversity in culture and language. Adulting Like a Boss features several young ladies who are learning to “adult.” These ladies come from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and religions because I wanted to expand beyond those who are “just like me.” In Serena the Sailboat, my characters are a sailboat and her animal friends, however, I hope that the diversity of their backgrounds is apparent. I am also very excited to support other children’s authors who are producing books for diverse audiences, such as a new author I’ve been following, Audrey Hinds, who has written about her own daughter in Hair with Flair.

If you could portal into any book which would it be?

No question about it!!! Absolutely I would portal into The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and meet Reepicheep the Mouse and Aslan the Lion!

Posted in Meet the authors

Rebecca Donnelly

Online presence (website/social media) Rebecca Donnelly

Twitter: @_becca_donnelly
When you were my age (10) what book impacted you?  I was a huge fan of the Babysitters Club series when I was your age! (And I got to meet Ann M. Martin last year, which my ten-year-old self never would have imagined possible.) I had about six of them, I think, and I re-read them over and over. I loved re-reading, because it was so comforting to come across my favorite parts.


How long have you been a librarian?  I got my first library job in 2006, and I became a children’s librarian in 2007. 


What kind of Librarian are you? I’m a children’s librarian in a small public library in a rural college town. I’ve also been a children’s librarian in a larger suburban library and the director of a tiny rural library. 


-How do you match a kid to a book? I always try to find out what other books a kid has read and loved, because that gives me an idea of where they are with reading skills and what grabs their interest. Sometimes it’s as simple as handing a kid the next great fantasy book, but I’ve met plenty of kids who haven’t spent much time around books. In that case, I might start with nonfiction, because usually everyone knows what subjects they’re interested in, or I’ll go to graphic novels, because kids can see what they’re about really easily. 


-Book access is a big topic right now. What does the term mean to you and why is it important? Book access means that a kid has books in their life. Books at home, books at school, books in libraries and bookstores in your community. It also means access to things like magazines, audiobooks, and the internet, because there are many ways to build literacy skills. When kids have access to those things, it shows you what the adults in that community value.

You are also an author. How did you become one? I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old. I had a series of books called the Garden Gang by Jayne Fisher–this was in the UK, where I was born–and the author/illustrator bio said that Jayne was nine years old. To a six-year-old, that’s very grown-up! I remember thinking that I had three years to launch my own career (although it took a little longer than that). I started seriously trying to get published when I first began working as a children’s librarian. I wrote a book that got me a wonderful agent, Molly Ker Hawn, and although that book wasn’t published, we’ve been together for six years and six more book deals. (Most of those books haven’t been published yet.)


– Is it hard to come up with book ideas? No! It’s almost too easy to come up with ideas. I have a page-long list just for picture book ideas, and it keeps getting longer! The tricky part is knowing how to turn that idea into a story. What’s the best way to do it? How can you recognize when something’s not working, and should you rewrite, or put it aside and work on something else for a while? Those are the questions I find myself struggling with.


– Have you heard from readers. What do you like about that? It’s lovely to hear from readers. As a librarian, I like hearing from readers of all kinds, even if they haven’t read my books! But I hope that a kid who reads one of my books will find something creative and funny, and maybe they’ll find a part they want to read over and over. I did have one mom tell me that her son kept my first book in his bed to read again and again, along with his other favorites–that’s a real honor! 


– What newer or lesser known author do you think people should be reading? I recently listened to the audiobook of Anna Meriano’s first book in the Love, Sugar, Magic series, A Dash of Trouble. Any reader who likes stories about family, sibling relationships, food, and a little magic will love this series, and the second book, A Sprinkle of Spirits, is out now!


– What is something you have read recently that impacted you? I read a lot of history when I’m not reading middle grade novels or researching other things. I just finished reading A Few Drops of Red, a YA nonfiction book about the Chicago race riots of 1919. There’s a lot of history that never gets taught in school, and it’s important to learn it so we can recognize what’s happening in the world around us.


– If you could portal into any book which would it be? I’m not an incredibly adventurous person, so I can’t see myself portaling into a mystery or a fantasy world. I do love stories that show the real world plus something a little magical, so I’ll choose a classic English picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. It’s about a little girl who opens the door and invites a large, friendly, hungry tiger into her house, where it eats and drinks everything, and then just goes away. That’s as much excitement as I could handle, plus Sophie wears really great tights.

Posted in Ask the Librarian

Susan Polos

How long have you been a librarian:

I have been a librarian for 21 years.
What kind of librarian are you?
I am a school librarian.
Why did you become a librarian?
I first thought I would be an English teacher, but I had the chance to work in libraries, and I realized that that was the work I wanted to do. I like the idea that there is something for everyone just waiting in the library.
What is one of your favorite thing about being a librarian?
My favorite thing about being a school librarian has been to know students for many years, from the time that some learned to read to the time they graduated from high school. I love facilitating book clubs in school and public libraries, too.
Book access is a big discussion right now. It can also be a challenge for librarians. As a librarian how do you get books to those who need them?
I think that it is more important to advocate for school librarians than to advocate for book access. I have seen book drives accumulate bushels of books that sit in buckets and boxes unread. It is more important to have librarians who cultivate readers and connect young people to books that will make them feel like readers. I think access to school librarians, not access to books, is the real game changer.
Many schools have libraries but no librarian. A library without a librarian is a room full of books without the professional who knows the books and the readers!!
What book have you read recently that impacted you?
I loved Front Desk by Kelly Yang and The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Was there a book that impacted you when you were my age (10)?
My favorite book when I was ten was The Children on the Top Floor by Noel Streatfield. I don’t know how much it impacted me, but I checked it out of the library over and over. I also loved The Boxcar Children.
Are there any new or lesser known authors/illustrators you think more people should know about?
I am serving on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards jury and I am reading lots of new authors, but I can’t talk about them now!
If you could portal into any book, which would it be?
Alice in Wonderland – because who doesn’t want to believe six impossible things before breakfast?!
Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Emma Lazell

Author website/social media: Instagram and twitter: @emmallazell Website:
www.emmalazell.co.uk1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
Absolutely! I loved quite a mixture of books at 9. I remember reading and loving all the *Horrid Henrys*, especially *Horrid Henry’s Nits*, that really made me giggle. Enid Blyton books, I loved *Mallory Towers* and *The Secret Seven*. And of course Roald Dahl, I adored *The BFG*.
2. What is a book that made an impact on you?
Certainly Judith Kerr’s *The Tiger Who Came to Tea*, I think this impact is very evident in *Big Cat*. Also Michael Rosen’s *Quick let’s get out of here* poetry book. A book full of absolutely hilarious poems that I can remember my headteacher at primary school reading aloud in a whole school
assembly and having us all in stitches.
3. You are both the writer and illustrator, is that hard?
I always answer that I am an illustrator first, and then a writer. Although I’d love to have a go the other way round, and write some longer fiction. With Big Cat, the illustrations and characters certainly came first, and then the words came very naturally afterwards. When I attempt to write the story first, with picture books, it almost always ends up completely changing once I begin working on the relationship between the words and the pictures and the characters.
4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?
At the beginning of the year I read the *Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children* series by Ransom Riggs. I read them all really quickly, I got hooked. I hadn’t read an adventure story in a while, and this one was
addictive.
5. Is there a new or lesser known author or illustrator you think kids
should be aware of?
I met so many amazing illustrators and authors while doing the MA in
Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art last year. Lots of
them have really exciting things coming soon. I’m really excited for Natalie Labarre’s *Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of* coming soon with Nosy Crow. It’s a highly illustrated, action packed, non fiction book which looks like its going to be equal parts exciting, gross, and hilarious. (My favourite book ingredients!)
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.
Posted in Behind the Scenes, Meet the authors

Lorena Alvarez

Website: lorenaalvarez.com
1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

Yes, I loved to read when I was your age! My favorite books were those about nature, I was really interested in understanding how our planet and the universe works. I think I still am. I did like the books teacher assigned us at school, but I used to browse into my parents’ bookshelf too.

2. What is a book that made an impact on you?

I should mention that the first book that got fixated in my memory was Gnomes written by Wil Huygen and illustrated by Rien Poortvliet. I still remember how fascinated I was looking at the illustrations of the gnomes living and working in trees and taking care of the forest. It was really clever how the stories combined fantasy and actual facts about plants and animals from those places. I still look at that book from time to time, it reminds me why I love to draw.

3. Is it hard to come up with book and illustration ideas?

I think that you need a lot of patience, because when you’re writing something you are opening yourself to a new experience and it takes time and discipline to make sense of it. When I started to write my own stories I would get upset because I couldn’t came up with a complete idea right away, I had to understand that it was possible to start from small things, an image, a memory and build my storytelling from there. It also takes patience to understand that sometimes your stories won’t be as good or interesting you want them to be, I still learning to deal with that!

4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?

I have two authors in mind. One is Molly Mendoza with Skip, a beautiful comic book that is not only a feast for the eyes but also has a fabulous story, I really admire her work. Another author is Emil Ferris, her debut comic My Favorite Thing is Monsters really made me think about how much you can experiment with drawing and writing in comic books.

5. Is there a new or lesser known author or illustrator you think kids should be aware of?

There’s a lot of Colombian authors and illustrators I’d love to be known everywhere! I admire a lot the work of Paula Ortiz, Henry González, Paola Escobar and Catalina Vasquez, they are all remarkable illustrators and story tellers.

6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an illustrator?

These are things that I’ve learned so far:

Trust your gut and be disciplined.

Be open to try new things.

Share your ideas with people who also likes to draw.

Even if you choose another profession, don’t stop drawing.

7. How do you make your illustrations- by hand, on the computer or ??

I always start with a pencil sketch, I really like to draw with blue and red pencils. Then I scan them and color them on Procreate or Photoshop. Sometimes when I’m working for an exhibition I use acrylics or watercolors. Most of my work is digitial, but I really enjoy working with traditional media.

8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

that’s a good question! I would choose Mommy? by Maurice Sendak, is not only one of the funniest books I’ve ever seen and I love how horror movie icons are portrayed in such a warm way, besides it is a pop up book, so you feel like you have a lot to explore in each page.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Meet the authors

Debbie Gonzales

Author Website: www.debbiegonzales.com

Business Website: www.guidesbydeb.com

Podcast: The Debcast

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.gonzales1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebGonzales5

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/guidesbydeb/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/debbadee5/

When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

I loved reading non-fiction. Articles about bugs and bobcats fascinated me. Stories about people who had done extraordinary things inspired me. Science stories confounded me. I would lose myself in stacks of National Geographic magazines. It’s no wonder I’ve written a non-fiction picture book about gutsy women who impacted sports history, right?

What book has had an impact on you?

Wow. It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll try. If I stick with the topic of sports novels, I have to say that Bruce Brook’s THE MOVES THAT MAKE THE MAN has made a lasting impression on me. Though the novel was written in 1984, it’s still one of the best expressions of how sports can become part of a person’s inner being. Not only is it an amazing story about an unlikely friendship between a black boy and white boy in a racially charged time in history, it addresses the topic of mental illness in a tender way. But the best part about the book is way that basketball is intrinsic to the protagonist’s character. The kid is so connected with the sport, he can juke and jive like the best of them in the dark without a ball. It’s a great book.

Is it hard to come up with book ideas? Why write a book about women’s sports?

GIRLS WITH GUTS was inspired by an assignment for school! While working on my master’s degree in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts, the topic of my thesis was the history of the female athletic protagonist. I studied how and when our heroine showed up in books throughout history. There were times when she was represented as kind of silly and not serious about her sport. Later, she became a warrior, focused on winning at whatever the cost! It’s cool that the research became a book about the history of females in sports, and how overtime, she’s become a force to reckon with!

What author or book have read recently that impacted you?

Check out Stephanie Parsley Ledyard’s HOME IS A WINDOW and get set to be wowed. It’s a sweet story of a family who is moving across country. I absolutely love the text! The poetry is perfection. And, the subtle way that Pixar illustrator Chris Saski interpreted the message of the story is incredible. Moving isn’t about the stuff that is shipped across the nation, its about the love the family shares, no matter where they live.

Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?

In keeping with the strong women in sports theme, I encourage you readers to consider debut author Kim Chaffee’s HER FEARLESS RUN: KATHRINE SWITZER’S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON. It’s an amazing non-fiction picture book about a woman who dared to run the Boston Marathon at a time, not so long ago, and was openly threatened when she did. Kathrine Switzer is alive and well today, committed to empowering females through her 261 Fearless, a global network for women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running.

What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?

Read. Read. Read. Be interested in anything and everything. Pay attention to what your teachers are telling you. Do your very on your assignments. You never know when an assignment might become a published book!

As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I am having SO much fun with this book! I generally hear from my readers via social media. I love it when they post an image of their copy of the book and how much they’ve enjoyed reading it. This makes me so very happy.

If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

I’d like to portal into the book that I am currently writing right now. It’s a ghost story about a girl named Tobi, who is the only female on a Little League team. It’s set in 1974, just after the time that Title IX was passed. I wish I could travel back in time to attend baseball practice with her, sit next to her in class, and encourage her as she struggles to live every day with a broken heart, one that only a ghost can heal.