Bernie and the Captain's Ghost

Bernie and the Captain's Ghost

Level: Primary| Secondary| General

Series Title: Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series (SPPS)

Subject: Literature

ISBN: 978 976 638 101 1

Pages: 180

Age Group: 10 - 12 years

Published: 2010

In this exciting story, six orphans find out that a friendly invitation to spend their holidays in rural St Elizabeth leads them into mystery and adventure at every turn. Who is the mysterious Captain? Why is his ghost haunting the area? What are the secrets hidden at Bottom House in Green Valley? Who are the sinister men lurking around and what are they up to? The answers to these questions turn out to be pretty scary as the children move from one hair-raising adventure to another.


Hazel D. Campbell
has written and edited stories for children and has produced children's programmes for radio and television. She teaches story writing for children at the UWI. She is the recipient of the 1997 Vic Reid Award for Children's Literature. She is also the series editor for Carlong's Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series for children.

Key Features

  • This is an adventure story, the genre familiar to and loved by many 8 - 12 year-old readers. The plot has many surprising twists and turns to keep the reader interested.
  • The main character, Bernie is disabled, as are the other five children in the adventure. Their disabilities; how they overcome obstacles, and the interaction between them help to add depth to the story
  • Their interaction with the adults in the story is realistic. These adults are sometimes quite humourous.
  • The language of the stories is mostly standard English, but, for authenticity, the dialogue represents the Creole spoken by many Jamaicans
  • The setting is rural Jamaica.
  • There is a glossary which explains words and phrases which might be unfamiliar to some readers

Notes To Teachers:

Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost will be an excellent supplementary reader for the classroom. It is eminently suitable as a library book. The main character is an 11-year-old boy, who spearheads this holiday adventure with two other boys and three girls. They get involved in some exciting situations with some dangerous characters. This entertaining plot will encourage both boys and girls to read the story, a plus for increased literacy.

The story features disabled children who do not allow their disabilities to prevent them getting involved in an exciting adventure. It carries the subtle message that disabled children do not have to be sidelined.

  • Research skills – Students can be encouraged to use the Internet and libraries to find out about children with various disabilities. They might also be interested in finding other books which feature children with disabilities.
  • Character development – There are many interesting characters (both adult and children) in unusual plot situations. Students should enjoy tracing these story elements.
  • Communication skills – The stories can be used to introduce debate procedures and written exercises on different themes: e.g. Can children with disabilities overcome them? How do disabled persons function in our society? Can they do ‘normal’ jobs. Readers should enjoy doing book reports on this story.
  • Dramatization - Parts of the story can be written in play format and dramatized.
  • Values and Attitudes – The story can be used to start discussions on individual as well as family and community values and attitudes as they affect disabled persons. How do the adults in the story treat the children? How do the children treat one another?


I enjoyed reading this book.It is a thrilling and interesting mystery. It kept me guessing how it would turn out. In the end the children are okay and the mystery solved. The characters are lively. I like Bernie