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Children's Fiction Asian American

The Closet Ghosts

by (author) Uma Krishnaswami

illustrated by Shiraaz Bhabha

Lee & Low Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Asian American, Emotions & Feelings, Hindu
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


Moving to a new place is hard enough without finding a bunch of mean, nasty ghosts in your closet. This looks like a job for Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, who can change shape in the blink of an eye and chase goblins and demons away with his thundering voice. When Hanuman answers Anu's plea for help, Anu rejoices--until she realizes that those pesky ghosts don't seem to be going anywhere.

Uma Krishnaswami effortlessly weaves motifs from Indian mythology into this bubbly story of ultimately finding comfort in a new place, and Shiraaz Bhabha's exquisitely detailed acrylic paintings glow on the page. The Closet Ghosts is a treat that will delight and amaze any child who is facing a big change . . . or has ghosts in their closet.

About the authors

Uma Krishnaswami's inspiration for this book came from her memory of planting a mango seed as a child and seeing it grow into a tree, and also from a news story about people who planted trees in potholes. She has written many children's books, from picture books to middle grade readers to retellings of classic tales and myths, including Bringing Asha Home (CCBC Choices), The Happiest Tree (Paterson Prize finalist, CCBC Choices, Bank Street College Best Books), Naming Maya (IRA Notable Books for a Global Society) and Chachaji's Cup (Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, Bank Street College Best Books). Her latest middle grade novel, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, published by Atheneum, received starred reviews in Kirkus and School Library Journal. She teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and is an active blogger. Uma was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico.

Uma Krishnaswami's profile page

Shiraaz Bhabha was born and raised in India, and now lives in California. A gifted fine artist and website designer, Shiraaz had her first major show of paintings in Berkeley, California. Her paintings blend Eastern and Western themes, techniques, and motifs.

Shiraaz Bhabha's profile page

Editorial Reviews

". . . a welcome addition to a child’s bookshelf for more reasons than adding diversity." —South Asian Women’s Network

South Asian Women’s Network

"This delightful story has a familiar theme, but the addition of Hindu mythology and the twist of having the protagonist herself discover a way out of her dilemma set it apart from similar titles about overcoming fears…. An upbeat story with a positive message.” —School Library Journal

School Library Journal

"Bhabha’s color-drenched paintings perfectly complement Krishnaswami’s tale that incorporates a contemporary setting with the tradition of the Hindu Monkey God. The ghosts (“with backward pointing feet”) are outlined in white, but wear brightly colored clothing over nearly transparent bodies, and Bhabha’s visualization of the Monkey God is perfect. A unique tale that is worthy of a wide audience."—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Other titles by Uma Krishnaswami