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Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story Hardcover – September 1, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—Pemba, an African-American teen, doesn't want to make the move from Brooklyn to Connecticut no matter how rosy a picture her mother tries to paint. As soon as she sees her new home, she knows something isn't right. At first, she thinks she's imagining things, like the strange mirror that reflects the image of an 18th-century girl. But then the blackouts begin. During them Pemba sees Phyllys, a slave who lived in the house centuries before. Something horrible happened to her all those years ago and now she needs Pemba's help. Working with Abraham, an eccentric old man who lives nearby, Pemba must uncover the girl's story to finally put her to rest. Told through alternating chapters, poetry, and journal entries, this title is sure to appeal to fans of ghost stories as well as historical fiction. There are few ghost stories featuring African-American teens and fewer still that are as well written and interesting as this one. With its brevity, it will make an excellent choice for reluctant readers as well.—Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
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From Booklist

Written in shifting voices and styles, this vivid, collaborative novella tells a supernatural story of a young girl’s connection with history. Fourteen-year-old African American Pemba is furious when her mother decides to move from Brooklyn to “Nowhere” Connecticut, where her cell phone “can’t even pick up a freaking signal.” More upsetting are her strange dreams about a young black girl that begin on the first night in the new house. Abraham, an elderly local who welcomes Pemba and her mother, invites Pemba to help him research African Americans in the town’s history. As Pemba’s strange visions increase, she confides in Abraham, who helps her accept that she is connecting with an enslaved girl who lived in Pemba’s new home in the eighteenth century. Pemba’s first-person contemporary narrative combines with verse passages written in the ghost’s heartrending voice. The paranormal transitions that enable Pemba to witness the ghost’s world feel contrived and jarringly abrupt. Most affecting are passages of hip-hop poetry, written in Pemba’s voice, that powerfully translate her deepening sense of African American history and her own strength. Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 054502076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545020763
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Pemba is a young girl who only has her mother now. Her father passed away, and so they moved away from her friends in Brooklyn to an old colonial house in Colchester, Connecticut.

There is a very strange old man named Abraham here, and Pemba thinks he is the crazy one - but she isn't so sure about herself anymore.

Pemba and a slave girl from the 18th-century, Phyllis, become intertwined, and Phyllis visits Pemba in a supernatural way. These visits change both girls in many different ways.

I recommend PEMBA'S SONG for anyone who loves a great supernatural story. It is a new twist on the paranormal. It isnt the conventional, cookie-cutter ghost story, but one of mystery, friendship, freedom, and truth.

This is a great book to read and almost gives you a new understanding of what people have went through and the limits of true friendship.

Read it! It's a nice change in paranormal and supernatural stories!

Reviewed by: Shyanne
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful ghost story! Pemba's lyrics and visions, her connection with the ghost in the old New England house she and her mother have come to live in, are just exquisite. I love the connection she makes with the past; I love how slippery reality can be as Pemba slips into visions and memories that aren't hers- and I love that she knows she's not crazy- that she perseveres in finding out the house's secret, no matter what. I just love this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Purchased the book for my 10 year old to take an AR test on (in school). She told me she liked the book so much that she read half of it in one day. May be appropriate for a 9 year old given the length of the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's so hard for me to pick books that my 13 year old twin granddaughters will enjoy, but this was a winner. Ghost stories seem to hit the right buttons and this one was a quick and fun read for them.
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