Sauerkraut cover by Paul Davey, written by Kelly Jones

written by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Paul Davey
September 10, 2019
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Order a signed copy from my local independent bookstore, Third Place Books!
(Just add a note in the instructions box saying “Signed copy for [recipient’s name]” when you place your order.)

Prefer listening? There’s an audiobook too, narrated by Ron Butler!


HD Schenk is a maker–an inventor, someone who builds cool stuff. He’s got a plan for the summer: he’ll build his own computer and enter it in the county fair. Then everyone will know who he is and what he can do.

To earn enough money for the parts he’ll need, HD has promised to clear out his uncle’s overflowing basement. No big deal, right? But there’s more in that basement than HD bargained for. On his first trip down there, a voice only he can hear starts talking to him. About…sauerkraut?

Who knew the ghost of his great-great-grandmother was haunting an old pickling crock? She’s got a grand plan, too. She wants HD to help make her famous recipe for sauerkraut and enter it in the county fair so that she can be declared pickle queen.

After some initial shock, HD is willing enough to help. This ghost is family, after all. But only HD can really see and hear his Oma, which is going to make it hard for her to win on her own…

A wonderfully goofy ghost tale that celebrates creative problem solving, family ties, and makers of every variety.

See more about Sauerkraut here!

A print and audiobook Junior Library Guild selection.

A Washington State Book Award finalist for 2020.

Named one of Kirkus’s 30 Most Anticipated Middle-Grade Books for Fall.


Kirkus, August 1, 2019
“A ghost story full of nuance and depth.”

School Library Journal, September 1, 2019
“This thoroughly quirky tale highlights the importance of mutual respect, community, and family heritage…. A ghost story about family heritage and obligations that will appeal to fans of family-driven, slice-of-life tales.” 

Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2019
“Celebrating the collision of old and new worlds, this simple but smart saga will appeal to kids who like their ghost stories more sweet than sour.”

Black Nerd Problems, September 3, 2019
Sauerkraut is a good read for makers of all kinds. Everyone in the book has their own talents, their own callings, hobbies and loves…. The book goes to lengths to demostrate that everyone is good at something and that creative work is not just a one size fit. Plus, everyone can learn to make something new, with help, with sincerity and most importantly with family.”

Audiofile Magazine, November, 2019
“Narrator Ron Butler brims with enthusiasm as he delivers this story about family, friendship, and the power of the imagination. “


Sauerkraut – Ms. Yingling Reads

‘Sauerkraut’ by Kelly Jones is a ghostly middle grade story about making connections and helping family, Pamela Kramer

Episode 139 – Bests and Worsts of 2019 – The Worst Bestsellers Podcast  (thankfully, Sauerkraut is a Best!!)

Sauerkraut – Can’t Wait Wednesday, Plucked From the Stacks

9 Great Eerie Reads for Middle Graders – Book Riot

Spooky, Bone-Chilling Tales for Middle Graders & Young Adults – New York Public Library

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