Friday, January 23, 2009

Please Welcome Children's Book Author, Linda Thieman

Katie and Kimble: A Ghost Story
Chapter book for ages 7-10
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Nine-year-old Katie Russell and her family LOOK like a normal family. But the Russells don't know they are living with Kimble, the ghost of a ten-year-old girl. That is, until Katie discovers Kimble and the two of them set off on a quest to find out what happened to Kimble's mother. -- Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story is a chapter book at RL3 (reading level 3), and is the first in a series. The Katie & Kimble books are funny, engaging and exciting, but are not fear-based.

Linda Thieman (pronounced TEE-mun) writes the Katie & Kimble chapter book series (RL3) and runs the Katie & Kimble Blog ( She has a master’s degree in applied linguistics and is a former English language teacher who has created a set of reading skills worksheets and classroom materials that teachers and homeschoolers can download from the Katie & Kimble Blog free of charge. The materials correspond to the first two books in the Katie & Kimble series and are guided by the standards set for third grade reading skills in Iowa school systems. Linda lives in Sioux City, Iowa.

Here's What Linda Has to Say:
Making Kimble Real: How an Entire Family Comes to Believe in a Ghost

by Linda Thieman

When I set out to write the Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story chapter book series for ages 7 to 10, I knew that in order for future stories to work, the reader had to be convinced that Kimble, the ghost of a 10-year-old girl, was not just a figment of 9-year-old Katie Russell’s imagination. As a matter of fact, it was essential to future storylines that Katie’s whole family knew that Kimble was real.

How to accomplish that was the dilemma. One thing that helps Katie make up her own mind about Kimble is that both Toby, Katie’s two-year-old brother, and Twinkle, Katie’s dog, can see and hear Kimble. And they like her! From this Katie is able to deduce that Kimble is not only real but is also friendly.

By the end of the first book, Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story, Katie and Kimble have become fast friends. Katie’s mom, Mrs. Russell, believes in Kimble but still can’t see her. She has become convinced of Kimble’s existence, though, because when Katie got into some big trouble, it was Kimble who used her own ingenuity to notify a still-not-quite-believing Mrs. Russell of where Katie was and the need to get there quickly.

So, by the start of the second book, Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish, Mrs. Russell will casually include Kimble in conversations with Katie, but Katie’s dad, Mr. Russell, still knows nothing about Kimble. The family has only been in the new house for a few days and everything has happened so quickly that Katie never got around to telling her dad about Kimble.

That is all to change, and dramatically, when Katie and Kimble find a coupon for a magic wish in a box of breakfast cereal. The girls figure out the rules for the wish, talk it over, and decide it would be great for Kimble to be human for two days. The girls try it and the wish works, and the next thing you know, Kimble is in the arms of Mrs. Russell, whom she adores and calls “Mama.”

But no sooner has Kimble transformed than the three of them are faced with the central dilemma of the novel: how are they going to explain Kimble to Mr. Russell? There are no houses around, Katie has no friends, and Kimble is dressed like a girl out of time. As soon as Mr. Russell and Toby get home with the groceries, the girls bungle their way through an explanation, and Mr. Russell is suitably shocked.

Eventually, Mr. Russell just kind of lets the unreality of the situation wash over him and accepts Kimble as a normal child. And unless he is reminded, he keeps forgetting that she is actually a ghost.

In the end, the two days are over and Kimble disappears. But this time, there is proof that Kimble was there, that Kimble was real. For one thing, when Kimble was riding Katie’s new bike, she fell and the bike got scratched—and the scratch is still there. For another, when they had a picnic with Kimble out in the backyard, Mr. Russell took a picture of Katie and Kimble together, and the picture still exists once Kimble disappears.

The upshot of Kimble’s two days of being human is that once she returns in ghostly form, both Mr. and Mrs. Russell can see and hear her. The fact of whether she is real or not is never addressed again. She is real, and now it’s time to integrate Kimble into the family. There are a few bumps in the road along the way and boundaries need to be set when one lives with an active and intelligent little ghost. And that is the story of book three, Katie & Kimble: The Golden Door, which will be out in the fall of 2009.

Linda Thieman

Please leave a comment below to welcome Linda here.


  1. Hi Linda,
    Welcome to Double M.
    I hope you have a great time stopping off here.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Very interesting. I'm wondering how parents have received the book. What has been your feedback from them? I don't have any young kids - mine are grown, but I wonder if I'd want them believing that ghosts are real. On the other hand, it would be better for them to believe ghosts are friendly and fun rather than scary and dangerous, which seems to be the way they're portrayed in movies.

    But all my ponderings aside, the stories sound warm and something kids would really get into and be able to use their imaginations.

  3. This is cute. I wonder if Thieman ever got her ideas from real life? Did she love ghosties when she was a child? Afraid of them? How does she feel about ghosties now?

  4. Ooh! I love this! What a great concept and story idea. And super fun for kids, as a mom of six, i'm very excited. I wish you the best of luck!

  5. Hi Linda, Your story sounds delightful!

  6. Anonymous8:27 AM

    What a wonderful storyline you have created. I wish you much success with the series.

  7. Sounds like a lovely book for middle graders. Good luck with your tour, Linda!

  8. Hey Linda (and Morgan!) I just wanted to say that your book sounds perfectly delicious and I loved the fact that you live in Sioux City. I travel there about twice a year on business and always go to the Panera Bread in town. Maybe we will meet one day in our travels. Good luck with your book!

  9. So Linda what was your inspiration for the story?

  10. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Sounds like a fascinating read!

  11. Thank you, Morgan, for hosting me! I really appreciate it. I'll respond to some of the comments below.

    To Helen Ginger: Most of the parents have thought the story was cute and intriguing. There was only one woman, a reviewer, who did not believe in ghosts and so therefore, she said she would not let her kids read the book--even though she liked the story and thought it was a fun read.

    I try to leave whether "actual" ghosts exist up to each individual family to decide. A parent's explanation could be anything from ghosts aren't really real to it's a piece of a soul that got stuck here or anything in between. Thanks for asking!

    To Book Marketing Buzz: I saw a ghost when I was a kid, but I blotted it out until AFTER I'd written the first Katie & Kimble book! LOL. Once I remembered it, I gave that memory to Katie's dad and he related it in book 2. But what really influenced me was, why not write a book about two girls? They think boys won't read a book if the two leads are girls. But the boys in the classrooms in which we piloted the books seemed to really be drawn into the story.

    As for whether I believe in ghosts now, let's say I do so rather reluctantly. They may be there, I suppose they are, but I'd rather not know about it! LOL

    To Debra: Thank you! I do love writing them and then reading them. I've had the first six books planned out from the beginning, but was soooo thrilled when just yesterday, book 7 popped through! I've got to spend more time writing! LOL

    To Kim Smith: Oh, aren't those Panera Bread restaurants good!

    To Brooke: My inspiration for the story was really that I wanted to create a character, nine-year-old Katie, who was independent because her parents encouraged her to be rather than because there was some plot device like the parents were gone, dead, crazy, neglectful, or the usual reasons kids are independent in children's stories. Thanks for asking!

    You can download the first six chapters of Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story free of charge from the Katie & Kimble blog (right sidebar). Click my name!

  12. Your story is so cool. I love it. Kids have imaginary friends, but Kimble becomes real.

  13. To Giddymomof6: I don't know how old your kids are, but I did want to mention that parents have reported success in using the Katie & Kimble books as a read aloud with six year olds. I've also heard that the stories are sophisticated enough to appeal to older, perhaps reluctant, readers. I hope you and your kids enjoy the books! Thanks for posting a comment!

  14. I always like to see the new markets that providing a teacher's guide opens.

  15. These sound fabulous!!!! My son is too old for them now--but I want to read them!!

  16. Anonymous8:13 PM

    wow whatever site I go to to read about YA books I find these books mentioned. Katie and Kimble appear to be a big star in the book world. Great work

  17. Hi Linda,
    Sounds like you've got lots of new fans here!

    Morgan Mandel

  18. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Thanks to you and your great blog, Morgan!

    Linda Thieman

  19. These books sound wonderful and I am so looking forward to getting them for my niece, who is fast becoming an avid reader.

    Moira Keith

  20. I've read the first one and my review appears at The Book Connection today. It will be featured during Linda's virtual book tour. There is also an interview with Linda posted at the blog.

    I really enjoyed this book. My seven-year-old daughter and I are also going to read it together. I think one of the best things is that it's a fun story and not scary at all.

    The Magic Wish sounds wonderful and I would love to review that one as well.

    All my best with your tour, Linda.


  21. Thanks, Cheryl, for all the attention you've given Katie & Kimble during the tour. I really appreciate it. I will send you out a copy of The Magic Wish to review!

  22. I'm a Mom of 3. We all read Katie and Kimble A Ghost Story and also book 2, The Magic Wish. We absolutely loved them. There was no fear of ghosts from any of my kids. The story is so enthralling that you tend to forget Kimble is a ghost. Kimble becomes a very loving friend with a great sense of humor. She adds a very delightful edge to the story. Katie is so confident in her secure life with a nonjudgmental family that she easily embraces Kimble as a friend. I think it's a must have for all kids' libraries. It's filled with love, security, traditional family values, social consciousness and a lot of fun too. Thanks Linda, we look forward to book 3!


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