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The Ghost Collector

The Ghost Collector

Interest Age: 10+
Grade: 5+
Reading Level:
Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature:

Hardcover : 9781773212968, 200 pages, September 2019 , 7.60" x 5.40"
Paperback : 9781773212951, 200 pages, September 2019 , 7.50" x 5.40"


Ghosts aren’t meant to stick around forever…

Shelly and her grandmother catch ghosts. In their hair.

Just like all the women in their family, they can see souls who haven’t transitioned yet; it’s their job to help the ghosts along their journey. When Shelly’s mom dies suddenly, Shelly’s relationship to ghosts—and death—changes. Instead of helping spirits move on, Shelly starts hoarding them. But no matter how many ghost cats, dogs, or people she hides in her room, Shelly can’t ignore the one ghost that’s missing. Why hasn’t her mom’s ghost come home yet?

Rooted in a Cree worldview and inspired by stories about the author’s great-grandmother’s life, The Ghost Collector delves into questions of grief and loss, and introduces an exciting new voice in tween fiction that will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Louisiana’s Way Home and Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls.


  • Joint winner, Best Books List, CBC Books 2019
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award 2020
  • Long-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award 2020
  • Short-listed, Red Cedar Book Award 2020
  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Award 2020
  • Short-listed, Sunburst Award 2020


“Poignantly haunting. ” 

- The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 09/19

“Offers readers a gentle and interesting lesson on ghost lore — as well as a refreshing challenge to assumptions about traditional knowledge. ”

- Toronto Star, 11/06/19

“Mills has created a gentle, understated story about grief and loss through a paranormal lens. This is a necessary book that is sure to have readers. Highly recommended. ” 

- School Library Journal, *starred review, 08/19

“Simple language makes The Ghost Collector accessible to its tween audience while introducing sophisticated concepts. In Shelly, Mills has created a believable, likeable character who learns important life lessons about the future in the rich context of her cultural past. ” 

- CM Reviews, 09/20/19

“Mills’s spare prose is poignant and never heavy-handed, culturally specific yet universally resonant. ” 

- The Horn Book Magazine, 11/19

“Young readers will delight in the inventiveness of The Ghost Collector. ” 

- Canadian Children’s Book News, 01/24/20

“[An] original paranormal tale. ” 

- Kirkus Reviews, 06/12/19

“A moving, compassionate story. ” 

- Falling Letters, 01/08/2020

“Mills explores the confusion and anger loss can bring, as well as the difficulties of being different in middle school. It’s a quiet, contemplative read. ” —Booklist, 09/10/19

- Julia Smith

“Perfectly balances suspense and the supernatural . . . [A] powerful and moving story about coming to terms with the death of a loved one. It’s an auspicious debut that is sure to delight middle-grade readers. ” 

- The Globe and Mail, 08/25/19