gustavo the shy ghost
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/g/ initial
/st/ medial and final
/m/ initial


character growth

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: Yes
Age Recommendation: Early Childhood, Elementary

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

By Flavia Z. Drago

Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can’t see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? With fancifully detailed artwork and visual humor, debut picture-book creator Flavia Z.Drago’s vivid illustrations tell a sweet and gently offbeat story of loneliness, bravery, and friendship that is sure to be a treat for little ghouls and goblins everywhere.

This sweet Halloween book can be used in speech therapy to address the message of character growth. It is also great for character analysis and inferring what is happening through the illustrations! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using Gustavo, the Shy Ghost in speech therapy below: 

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

verbs (mental state)
illustration study
social/emotional concepts
character analysis
text features


order of how Gustavo tried to get close to the other monsters


paranormal, violin, secretly, shy, terrifying, dared, concert, glowed

Character Analysis:

Gustavo is shy and has a hard time making friends, but then he bravely decides to invite his monster peers to his violin concert. When no one shows up, Gustavo does what he loves best, he plays his violin. He is then surprised by his monster peers. He realizes that his monster peers want to be his friend too. Gustavo is a good friend, he helps others and keeps them safe.


being shy
making friends
being brave

Notice the facial expressions and body language.


verbs (mental state)

Text Features:

exclamation points
speech bubbles


Why did Gustavo hide by the “Eye-Scream” truck?
How do you think Gustavo felt as the truck drove away? Why?
Why do you think Gustavo is terrified of talking to the other monsters?
Why do you think the other monsters couldn’t see Gustavo?
How do you think Gustavo feels about not being noticed?
How do you think Gustavo feels before his concert?
How do you think he feels when he sees that no one comes?
Why is Gustavo’s face red?
How do you think Gustavo felt when all of the monsters appeared?
Why did the monsters want to bring Gustavo a flower?
How did Gustavo help his new friends?


What do you think Gustavo’s problem is?
What do you think the worst part of it is?
How can Gustavo be brave?
Do you think he will let the others see him?
Do you think the monsters will go to Gustavo’s violin concert?
Where do you think all of the monsters are?
Why do you think they didn’t go to Gustavo’s concert?

If you are interested in seeing other Halloween books to use in therapy, then check out the Seasonal Narrative Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.