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Great Ball of Light

Illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

About The Book

A pulsing ball of light gives two kids the astonishing ability to bring things back to life in this “eerie and hopeful” (Kirkus Reviews) and hugely fun look at what they’ll do to make their family whole again, from the author of The Last Invisible Boy.

After a lightning strike, when twin brother and sister Fenton and Fiona find a ball of light in their backyard, things get…weird. Especially when Fenton figures out it can bring things back to life. Everything from bugs, to trees, to their old dog Scruffy, to…well…people. Namely, their grandfather. Because they really do miss him, and more than that, their father and their grandfather have unsettled business to take care of. But be warned: bringing things back from the dead gets a little more complicated when they stick around.


Great Ball of Light

Picture This . . .
It’s just past midnight, and my brother, Fenton, and I are pushing a wheelbarrow holding our undead grandfather, who we dug up at a cemetery a mile from our farm. There’s one of us on each handle—pushing a sort-of-dead guy is a two-kid job.

We are on a tar and gravel road, so pebbles crunch under the wheelbarrow’s wheel—maybe this will help you see it inside your head. We pass by houses and farms, some with unattended cows. Cows at night, with their dark eyes and splotchy designs, look like creatures from another planet.

Fenton and I stop pushing Grandpa Wade so we can rest.

“You’re such a girl,” my brother says to me. “I could have gone much farther before resting.” But he’s shaking blood into his arms just like I’m doing.

“And you’re such a donkey butt,” I say. I try to make a donkey sound but blow it. Mr. Ed with a bad head cold, let’s call it.


It had been cloudy all day, but when I check the sky I see stars glittering above us. We live in a small farm town, so nothing blocks our view of the sky. That night, the night Fenton and I commit grave robbery for the sake of our family, it seems like the stars are packed ten deep per square foot of sky.


“Stars,” my grandfather says, pointing at the sky with a crooked finger. He died three years ago in a car wreck, and by all rights he had given up his star-seeing privileges. But a miracle happened, and now he’s seeing stars again.

Watching Grandpa watch the stars, it hits me that I should never take anything for granted, like seeing stars fill up the sky on a warm night in May—and a hundred other things and people I love. Because one day it could all be gone, and if I’m waiting on a miracle to bring it back, I might be waiting for a very long time.

About The Author

Evan Kuhlman is the author of Brother from a Box, the critically acclaimed The Last Invisible Boy, Great Ball of Light, and the highly lauded novel for adults Wolf Boy. He lives in Ohio. Visit him at

About The Illustrator

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (February 23, 2016)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416964629
  • Grades: 5 - 9
  • Ages: 10 - 14
  • Lexile ® 980L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Junior Title
  • Society Of Midland Authors Award
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title

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More books from this author: Evan Kuhlman