Really. He's not. Just ask him.


Sam Wu's world revolves around being just like Spaceman Jack, the hero of his favorite television show. After a mishap at the space museum during a school trip, Sam has earned the name "Scaredy-Cat Sam." Determined to show the world that he is NOT afraid, Sam gets a sidekick (a "deadly and terrifying snake" that he has trouble finding in its tank). To prove that he is not afraid of ghosts - especially not the evil Ghost King who is most certainly haunting his house - Sam and his friends Zoe and Bernard set out to become certified ghost hunters. But first, they have to catch the ghost. Can they do it? 

Parent Perspective:
Fun to read and hard to put down (once you get about halfway). Sam is an every-kid who sees themselves as brave, even when they don't feel that way. For the first third, the story seemed fairly predictable and like other books: the main character is trying to forget something embarrassing, a classmate is teasing him, and friends are there to support him.

When Sam decides to let Zoe and Bernard come to his house, the book takes a turn for the best. He had never invited friends over because he saw the family as embarrassing, which is something all kids can relate to! What I love - and what made it a turning point - is that what Sam saw as being a disastrous event turned out to be a great experience for his friends. It helped ground what is a fun, silly adventure into a story with some substance.  I'm already looking forward to the next adventure when Sam faces the next thing(s) he is not afraid of.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Kids will find humor at every turn in this adventure where Sam proclaims all of the things he is NOT afraid of.

Content Awareness Factors:

As an adult reader, Sam's proclamations get a little stale, but the book is not for us.

Type of Book:
This is an illustrated chapter adventure starring an Asian character.
Educational Themes:

The book is meant for enjoyable reading. Even so, there are great opportunities to talk about some of the themes, including friendship, acceptance, and self esteem.

Share with your kids the things that scare you, and ask what scares them. How do you (and they) handle those fears? where do they find their strength? Talk about the things that are positive, too: what do they love about your family? their friends? etc.

Toward the middle of the book, there is a chapter where Zoe and Bernard come over to Sam's house. Mr. Wu has a live duck and asks if the kids want to help him chop it. When dinner arrives, the kids are a bit skeptical of eating duck but are persuaded to try it, and ultimately like it. The scenes create an opportunity to talk with your kids about cultural differences in families and how to behave at friends' homes.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. If you have a reader who loves silly adventures, consider this a buy.

Title Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Ghosts

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of ..., Book 1

Author Katie Tsang, Kevin Tsang
Publisher Sterling Children's Books, Imprint Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © 2018
Illustrators Nathan Reed
ISBN 9781454932550
Material Hard Cover
Cost $12.95
Genres Adventure, Fantasy, Humor, Asia | Asian People
Reminder: Cover images, and links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.
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