The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson.

Paddy, a boy living in New Zealand, is intrigued by a library book about the sunken warships of the World War Two battles at Guadalcanal, and horrified that he can hear voices in his head.  He is so absorbed in the book that he is lucky not to have been hit by a car whilst crossing the road.  His parents take the book off him.  Still, he can hear the ghostly men…talking to him… He comes to realise that the voices are Australian, like his grandfather, who served in HMAS Canberra, an Australian ship that sunk in the war. Could they have died on that ship, while his grandfather survived? How can he, Paddy, help them rest?

My favourite character was probably the grandfather, because of his tale in the book.  Part of the book is his story, and I think that he was very brave.  The grandfather is only a fictional character, of course, but the war and sunken ships are only too real. I loved the description- it made me feel as if I was there, hearing the ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound, too.  I thought that this book was best for both boys and girls, but others might think that it’s just for boys. I liked how the book didn’t go on for ages, nor get to the point too quickly.  I think that Sandy Nelson is one of my favourite New Zealand authors.  This book is best for children from about 9 to 13, and I give it an 8 out of 10.


7 Responses so far

  1. 1

    zackids said,

    Sandy is one of my favourite NZ authors too Tierney. I loved this story and can’t wait to read what Sandy writes next. You could also read about her favourite New Zealand books and read her comments about Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound here on the blog.

  2. 2

    Sandy Nelson said,

    Hi Tierney,

    Thanks for your positive comments, I’m so pleased you liked my story so much, and thanks again Zac. I hope you and everyone in Christchurch is doing o.k. You have had such a sad time.

    Tierney, it’s great you loved Paddy’s Grandad so much. I tried so hard to make him like a real grandfather who had been to the war might be like. I am a new writer so I really love hearing from kids who like my writing, it makes me feel less nervous about writing more. Do you like writing? How old are you?

    That’s two positive comments I have had today about my story. I am a teacher at a school named Twizel Area School. It is a school with about 180 pupils of all ages (5 years to 18 years). Twizel is the nearest town to Mount Cook. Anyway today pupils from Aoraki / Mount Cook School and Tekapo School came to my school to learn how to make movies using digital cameras and a computer programme named Moviemaker with from visiting Christchurch experts. We had lots of fun. But the best bit for me was at the end of the day when a really nice boy from Tekapo School came up to me and told me he loved my book.

    I have written a sequel. It is called ‘The Lucky Ship.’ It is about Paddy finding out about the rest of his Grandad’s war and about him being angry with the Japanese for what they did in the war but then making friends with a boy in Japan. I am hoping that Kate (my editor) at Harper Collins will like this story and decide to publish it too. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!

    Happy reading Tierney … from Sandy Nelson

    p.s. Hey Zac – We had lots of Christchurch kids at our school for a few weeks after the earthquake. Every one of them was fantastic. We are happy that they are getting their lives back to normal but we miss them in Twizel. You are lucky to have such great kids in Christchurch!

    • 3

      zackids said,

      Thanks Sandy! We do have some fantastic (and very brave) kids in Christchurch. I’m glad you are getting lots of children telling you how much they love your story. I’m very much looking forward to reading more about Paddy and his Grandad so I hope it gets published 🙂

  3. 4

    reardonhs said,

    Hi Sandy,
    I’m so excited that there is going to be a sequel! I can’t wait to read it! I am eleven years old, and I have been going to the School for Young Writers at Hagley Community College for almost four years. I was so excited to have a comment from a real author! When I grow up, I want to be a novelist, just like you.

    • 5

      Sandy Nelson said,

      Hi Tierney,

      Well done you! You have a goal. The best way to get good at writing is to read lots, and also to be a good observer, of people, and of the world around you. I hope you keep writing and writing and writing!!!

      Here are some of my favourite new books by NZ writers:
      Too Many Secrets, and also Just Jack – by Adele Broadbent. Adele lives in Napier. She is a new writer like me. I got to meet Adele in Auckland a couple of weeks ago at a writers meeting. She’s awesome and lots of fun.
      Coming Back, by David Hill. I think this is a book every teenager should read before they are allowed to drive a car. I got my 15 year old to read it. (I have 7 year old twins too, all boys).
      When the Cat’s Away by Jackie Rutherford. Jackie wrote this book because she wanted to write a fun story. It really is fun!
      Fierce September by Fleur Beale. I am reading this book at the moment.

      Maybe you can find some of these books in your school library or in the CHCH library.

      Have a good holiday Tierney
      – from Sandy Nelson

  4. 6

    jem said,

    hey whats the setting for this story?

    • 7

      Sandy Nelson said,

      Hi Jem
      Sorry it has taken me time to reply. Sandy Nelson here.
      The story is in 3 parts. In Parts One and Three the setting is mostly in New Zealand, in a little South Island town south of Dunedin that I don’t give a name to. A little bit of it is in Nelson.
      In Part Two the setting is on the waters of Iron Bottom Sound which is a stretch of water at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
      I hope you enjoy reading my story.
      – Sandy Nelson

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