The Ghost House

It seems the ghost house may not be entirely deserted or, at least, may have been occupied in recent times. David doesn’t know what to think. All he knows for sure is that the house makes him uneasy. The house, or what’s inside it. ‘There’s nothing to be scared of, boy,’ the woman tells him.

David’s family moves to a house on the edge of the Red Zone – a strange wilderness that’s returning to nature after earthquakes destroyed the homes there a decade before. But David doesn’t venture into the area. He’s not well – he can’t play cricket or go to school – and his parents have declared the Red Zone off limits.

Then one day, he blunders in and discovers an old villa, an earthquake survivor, protected by trees. The house speaks to him: I’m old and starting to disintegrate. Help me. Save me. Then David meets old Agnes, who seems to be living there – but how? And who are the mysterious lanyard people she’s afraid of? Come inside, the house says to David. I can show you.

Written by Bill Nagelkerke and illustrated by Theo Macdonald

$25.00 incl. GST

3 in stock

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By the award-winning author of The Ghosts on the Hill comes a tale of resilience and recovery, set in the Christchurch Red Zone. For readers 8–13 years.


Sonya Wilson, author of Spark Hunter – ‘A gentle, poignant story about the things we hold on to when disaster strikes, and the things we leave behind.’
Zac McCallum, My Best Friends Are Books blog – ‘Mystery, ghosts, memories and hope … the perfect read-aloud that will have the whole class enthralled.’

Alex Eagle, Kete Books – ‘Nagelkerke says ghost stories are “a wonderful and meaningful metaphor for writing/righting the past in a contemporary context,” and indeed, he uses this concept to full advantage in The Ghost House. It is in his home town of Christchurch and takes place a decade after the devastating earthquakes shook the city. 

‘Several of my young reviewers admitted to knowing very little about the South Island earthquakes. As a result, many questions were asked, internet sites searched and information shared. As well as the impact of natural disasters, The Ghost House touches lightly on other deep topics. A number of these resulted in some great conversation starters amongst my reading group; a recommendation to teachers or parents of 8-13 year olds looking for a book to encourage discussion. The black and white sketches by illustrator Theo Macdonald, scattered throughout the book, also add to the experience and the comments.’

About the Kiwi author

Bill NagelkerkeA former children’s librarian, Bill Nagelkerke has written short stories, poems, plays and books for all ages, as well as translating other people’s books from Dutch into English. He has won the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award, and The Ghosts on the Hill (2020) was a Storylines Notable Book and joint winner of the 2021 Storylines What Now Kids’ Pick Award. Read more on his author page.


Additional information

Dimensions18.5 × 12 cm
First published



Paperback edition



Page count


Published by

Ahoy! (an imprint of The Cuba Press)


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