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Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Written by Flavia Z. Drago

Illustrated by Flavia Z. Drago

Early Years Family / Home Stories Horror & Ghost Stories

LoveReading View on Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

A sweet and offbeat story of friendship and courage.

Winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize 2021

The Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘A visual treat and the text and illustrations work very well together; it’s full of detail but never cluttered; pace is cleverly controlled; just the right balance of fun and fright!’.

Flavia Z. Drago introduces us to Gustavo, a gorgeous little ghost who is so shy he’s literally invisible. Her folk-art style with its palette of orange and Rosa Mexicana creates a distinctive playground for Gustavo as he suddenly and unexpectedly makes new friends.

Flavia Zorrilla Drago joined prize founder, Klaus Flugge, the Chair of Judges, Julia Eccleshare and Judge Posy Simmonds to discuss with the importance of the Klaus Flugge prize at the LoveReading LitFest. The event is free to view and you can find out more here.


More About This Book

Flavia says that sees herself in little Gustavo, “When I started work on the book, I didn’t notice how much I had in common with Gustavo, but as I got to understand him, I realised that telling this story was important for me because I wanted to show that being shy doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy the company of people - or in this case, monsters! - it just means that you find it difficult to connect with others. Some of the things that happen to Gustavo are based on my own experiences. When I was in kindergarten – just like Gustavo – I sat by myself during lunch breaks, watching children play while being amazed by the fact that they seemed to be completely happy to talk and play with each other.

The main difference between Gustavo and me, is that, sadly I cannot do the ghostly things like walking through walls, making objects fly, glowing in the dark or playing


the violin. However, drawing became a way in which I could connect with others. In a sense our love for art has been the thing helping us both to connect with others.”


Find out more about The Klaus Flugge Prize.


Gustavo, the Shy Ghost Synopsis

With exquisite detail and humour, Flavia Z. Drago's vivid illustrations tell a sweet and offbeat story of friendship and courage.

Gustavo is a ghost. He is good at doing all sorts of paranormal things, like walking through walls, making objects fly and glowing in the dark. And he loves playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo also has a problem. He is SHY. Which means some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye-scream or talking to the other monsters. But Gustavo longs to be a part of something, he longs to be seen. More than anything, he wants to make a friend. So, plucking up all his courage, he sends a very special letter: Dear Monsters, I would like to invite you to my violin concert at the Day of the Dead party...

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost Press Reviews

A great story about making friends by being yourself and the illustrations are a constant visual delight. - Malorie Blackman

This story deftly weaves themes of inclusion, friendship and being true to yourself with striking artwork inspired by the author/illustrator's upbringing in Mexico City. - Mini Travellers Blog

Book Information

ISBN: 9781406398502
Publication date: 2nd September 2021
Author: Flavia Z. Drago
Illustrator: Flavia Z. Drago
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 40 pages
Year Groups: Early Years
Topics: Family / Home Stories, Horror & Ghost Stories, Self-Awareness / Self-Esteem

About Flavia Z. Drago

Flavia Z. Drago was born and raised in Mexico City. As a child, she wanted to be a mermaid. When that didn't happen, she began her career as a graphic designer and a children's book illustrator. She has an MA in Children's Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art and was shortlisted for the Sebastian Walker Award. She lives between the UK and Mexico. Find her online at, on Twitter as @Diafla and on Instagram as @flavia_zdrago.

More About Flavia Z. Drago

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