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Ghost Island
Ghost Island
Ghost Island
by Shannon Gilligan

You are on an exciting sailing trip with your family. Some kids who live on the island tell you about an old graveyard they think is haunted. Are you brave enough to visit it?

Age: 5 Year-olds | Title: Ghost Island  |  Author: Shannon Gilligan  |  Publisher: Chooseco

You are on an exciting sailing trip with your family. Some kids who live on the island tell you about an old graveyard they think is haunted. Are you brave enough to visit it?

Let your child have a say in how the story goes with this Choose Your Own Adventure book. As the first page explains, simply "Read until you reach a choice. Turn the page of the choice you like best. If you don't like the end you reach, just start over!" Each set of pages includes large, vibrantly colored ink and watercolor pictures and up to a half page of large printed words. This book makes the reader the star by using the less-common second person narrative, speaking directly to the reader with "you" statements. For example, Ghost Island begins, "Vacation is finally here. This year, you and your family are sailing around the Carribean Sea!"

No matter which choices you follow, each adventure within the book requires readers to make at least two choices of which path to follow, and which page to turn to and read what happens next. This provides your child with more independence than they usually have when reading a story, or having it read to them. It also provides practice in decision-making and teaches that every decision has a consequence. With each different ending, a new lesson is taught, such as facing and conquering your fears or doing the right thing and telling your friends or parents the truth. Choosing their own adventure also provides children with practice following directions; the bottom of each page directs them to either the next page, or a specific page number.  Your child many enjoy learning some new geography, like the locations of the Caribbean Sea, English Harbor, and Antigua.
My niece Emily recently turned five and regularly 'reads' these books with her parents, myself, my husband, or any one willing to read to her. She loves the independence and responsibility of deciding which turns the story takes. At each decision point, Emily makes her choice quickly and matter-of-factly, never second guessing herself. I love seeing the association of self-confidence and reading in her! Ghost Island scared her a bit, because of the ghosts, but she was also eager to keep reading the book until she found an ending that no longer seemed scary.


Shannon Gilligan is a well-known creator of interactive narrative games for the computer. She has spoken about interactive narrative and game design at conferences in Japan, Europe, and the United States. Gilligan got her start in this field by writing for the Choose Your Own Adventure® series in the 1980s. Her books and games have sold several million copies around the world. She graduated from Williams College in 1981 and lives in Warren, Vermont with her husband R.A. Montgomery and her extended family. Gilligan returns to Asia at least once a year. She harbors a secret ambition to write a cookbook.


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