The Ghost in Apartment 2R, by Denis Markell

The Ghost in Apartment 2R book cover

This middle-grade chapter book made this year’s list and it is full of great references to classic (spooky) Yiddish literature and lore. The story begins when Danny’s older brother moves out to go to college and his (well-meaning but rather clueless) parents decide to rent out the now empty room on the new “AirHotel” app. This relegates poor Danny to the closet under the stairs, a la Harry Potter. When strange things start happening to guests who sleep in the rented room, Danny and his friends Nat and Gus do some sleuthing to figure out if the house is haunted. 

The multicultural Brooklyn neighborhood is full of fun and diverse characters, and the gentle scares keep the pages turning. As the clues pile up, Danny’s Bubbe Ruth (who speaks with a Yiddish-tinged cadence) provides some context with her stories of dybbuks, Ellis Island immigration and snippets of Yiddish songs such as, “Raisins and Almonds,” all elements of the creepy sounds emanating from the eerie room. Is there a young Jewish woman possessed by a dybbuk in search of her lost family haunting the bedroom? This clever mystery is highly entertaining and a sure winner for the fourth- through sixth-grade reader. -- Lisa Silverman, Director, Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library, retrieved from