Available for virtual visits in: British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick

Home Province:  Newfoundland 

Craft: Author

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Target Audience: Grades 4-6

Cost for School and Public Virtual Presentation with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes



Virtual Presentation Information:

Note: Discussions are conducted through Chat and with the help of teachers. This works best with no more than 100 students: with bigger audiences the audience participation is less effective.


A virtual school visit from Charis and a host of Newfoundland ghosts! She’ll take your students on a creepy tour of the most haunted island in the world, showing how traditional ghost stories reflect the landscape, culture and history of Newfoundland. She helps students identify “culture clues” – story details that reveal how people lived and what they believed at the time of the story.
In 2020, Charis  published two new Newfoundland middle-grade ghost books: Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland and Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale. Her virtual visit features stories and pictures (Power Point presentation) from both books, a Q&A, a discussion guide and a ghost story challenge for students to collect their own ghost stories from families and friends.
For some reason, Newfoundland has more ghosts than anywhere else. Ghosts in the ocean, ghosts on the barrens, ghosts in lighthouses, and ghosts at kitchen parties. Some stories go back hundreds of years, like the Old Hollies, said to be the victims of shipwrecks, who are heard screaming in the wind just before a bad storm. Charis tells a very old story about a ghostly longboat glimpsed in the fog near Baccalieu Island and describes an unsettling experience she had herself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night. Charis ends with a spine-chilling account of ghostly footsteps in Bay de Verde in the 1920s.

Includes Resource Materials and Activities: Ghost Story Collecting from the Community.

Curriculum Connections
Language Arts
Reading and Listening
Heritage and Culture
Spiritual Beliefs  


Join Charis for a spooky tour of three haunted houses (and one haunted dollhouse!). She begins with an interactive survey of the audience to see how many students have experienced ghostly phenomena. Then she plays the Radio Game: a visualization activity that goes along with a reading from her latest book, The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story. Students respond to questions about what images they see while Charis is reading, and this leads to a discussion about the role of imagination in listening and reading.
Then Charis talks about the real-life house and people that inspired The Dollhouse and the creative process involved in writing the novel. She shows Power Point slides of haunted houses and illustrations from her books, then tells two ghost stories about haunted houses in Newfoundland. Each story reflects a different time period and lifestyle in Newfoundland and Charis discusses that within the context of haunted houses and what they can teach us about the past.

Includes Resource Materials for Classroom Discussion.

Curriculum Connections
Language Arts
Reading and Listening
Heritage and Culture
Spiritual Beliefs

Book List

The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story. Tundra Books, 2021
Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland. Art by Genevieve Simms. Nimbus, 2020
Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale. Illustrated by Jenny Dwyer. Running the Goat, 2020
The Ghost Road. Tundra Books, 2018
The Painting. Tundra Books, 2017
The Ferryland Visitor: A Mysterious Tale. Artwork by Gerald L. Squires. Running the Goat, 2016
The Swallow: A Ghost Story. Tundra Books, 2014
A World Full of Ghosts. Art by Marc Mongeau. Annick Press, 2009
Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors. Annick Press, 2008
Wonder Kids: The Remarkable Lives of Nine Child Prodigies. Annick Press, 2008
Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs. Annick Press, 2007
Toronto Between the Wars: Life in the City 1919–1939. Firefly Books, 2004


CHARIS COTTER grew up beside a cemetery and has been living with ghosts ever since. She studied English in university and went to drama school in London, England. Now she lives at the end of a road by the ocean in Newfoundland, where the landscape and a plentiful supply of ghosts inspire her work. Her first book, Toronto Between the Wars: Life in the City 1919–1939, won the 2005 Toronto Heritage Award. Since then, Charis has written books about kings, queens, child prodigies, famous authors and ghosts. Her spooky, suspenseful novels—The Swallow: A Ghost Story, The Painting and The Ghost Road—have won awards and enthusiastic reviews. Charis has worked in schools and libraries across Canada, using drama and storytelling to bring her books to life. She has worked with Newfoundland students to collect traditional ghost stories from their communities and published two books of these tales, written and illustrated by the students. Newfoundland ghost stories continue to inspire her own work and in 2020 she published Screech! Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland and Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale. Her fourth novel, The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, was released in August 2021 by Tundra Books. 



“Charis Cotter is an exceptional storyteller whose engaging presentation grabs kids’ attention at the very start and pulls them deep into her world of ghost stories.  Both students and staff were absolutely captivated.”

—Amy Westbury, Teacher-Librarian, Bruce Trail Public School, Milton, Ontario

“Charis Cotter is an exceptional writer of age-appropriate ghost stories.  Her workshop readings and easy manner of engagement ignites in her audience a sense of wonder which fires the imagination.”

 —Bronać Gallagher, Grade 5 teacher, Lakecrest Independent School, St. John’s, Newfoundland

“Charis’s presentation was right up there with the best. She had a good rapport with the children, and kept the presentation both entertaining and informative throughout.”

 —Heather Myers, Children Services Librarian, Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries

“Charis’s acting talents, humour, and engaging personality had the students mesmerized, laughing, and inspired from the start … They have asked me repeatedly to get her other books … There is no better praise on the part of young readers.”

—Chantal Bennett, Teacher-Librarian, Jules Quesnel Elementary, Vancouver