How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People)

Alette J. Willis

Out of print

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This edition is out of print, but an ebook is still available -- click on the cover in the carousel below.

  • Boys and girls alike will love this thrilling (and muddy) adventure.
  • The quirky storyline and sparkling sense of humour will keep readers engaged to the final page.
  • A story of friendship and bravery, set in Edinburgh, with a supernatural twist.

The new boy at school tells 13-year-old Edda he can help her stop being afraid by building a golem -- a mud monster. A spooky story, both quirky and funny, about facing your fears.

198 x 130 mm
Floris Books
Age Range:
From 8 to 12 years
240 pages
Publication date:
17 Nov 2011


"You think you're a fairy godmother or something?" I asked.
"Or something," Michael agreed.

Edda is tired of her nickname, 'Mouse', and wants to be braver. But when her house is burgled on her thirteenth birthday, Edda is more afraid than ever. That is until new boy Michael Scot starts school. There's something peculiar -- and very annoying -- about know-it-all Michael. He claims to be a great alchemist who can help Edda overcome her fears by teaching her to build a golem. But surely they can't bring a giant mud monster to life? Can they?

Winner of the Kelpies Prize.


'I found myself irreversibly drawn into Alette Willis' story. Fans of coming-of-age novels with a supernatural bent will certainly enjoy this one ... The ease in reading came from the writing style -- the just-enough-details set at a clipped pace writing that is common in books for middle school and early young adult readers -- as well as the magnetic attraction of the story itself. The more I read of Edda and Michael, the more time I wanted to spend with her ... I really enjoyed reading How To Make A Golem. It was a solid, magical middle school novel with a likeable and utterly relateable main protagonist and a well-written cast of characters in a vividly set Scottish town.'

'Alette Willis has written a truly gothic story. It is suffused with the scary and the mystical. But it never gets nasty or genuinely horrific like many of the vampire stories prevalent these days. The ups and downs of friendships are expertly and realistically expressed ... this book makes for a very gripping and interesting read. Lots of things are hinted at which (young) adults might like to explore further and which give it the right authenticity to keep young teenagers engaged ... How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a book well worth reading.'
-- Anna Phillips, New View

'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a book many children will find something of themselves in ... I love children's books that are relatable, and do not talk down to readers. Edda has to deal with some pretty big problems, but some common issues as well. There are small and large ideas all rolled up on this relatively easy read. I think that everyone can glean something from this read, including enjoyment ... I think that How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is a very well written and well paced book. The dialogue and actions of the characters are realistic, even when strange things happen ... I highly recommend this novel to children ten years and older, with nothing stopping younger readers from enjoying this story. I think teachers, parents and any adult that enjoys children's literature will enjoy this novel as well.'
-- Sharon the Librarian blog

'I enjoyed the voice of this book from the get-go. The characters were alive, the storyline was perfectly paced -- with the PERFECT amount of spine tingles and creepiness thrown in -- and the ending worked perfectly. I read it easily in one day, and the longer I sat reading it, the more curious my kids become. It is now in the hands of my 9-year-old son ... I wholeheartedly recommend this one. It was an absolute pleasure.'
-- Book Dreaming blog

'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People made me smile a lot. That's saying something, since right before reading this I was in a bit of a reading slump. I just don't know how you can feel down when adorable Scottish children are romping about on the pages of a book, getting into all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Add in a little bit of alchemy and a few life lessons, and you have a story that is a great read ... My final verdict on How to Make a Golem and Terrify People is that it is good, clean and fun reading! By the end I was wishing there was more, but then again I'm a sucker for cute protagonists. If you have a younger reader at home who enjoys an adventure, this is for them! A little bit of alchemy and a lot of friendship come together in perfect harmony to create a story that is a sweet and enjoyable read.'

'This book is a page-turner... Despite the title, this book isn't a horror book. It's more of a fantasy/thriller kind of book. It was well-paced and the descriptions were vivid, which was very important since the book is being told from Edda's point-of-view, and as an artist, Edda should be able to describe things well. *****'

'How to Make a Golem and Terrify People was a heartwarming book that presented some very real issues -- dealing with fear, bullying, personal safety in one's home -- in a magical way ... How to Make a Golem and Terrify People was a charming story about the power of friendship and self-worth, and I very much enjoyed watching Edda learn and grow in her quest to defeat fear. This book proclaims that ever-true montra: be careful what you wish for.'
-- Bunbury in the Stacks blog

'This book was fantastic. I read it in a couple of hours, and I haven't read a book straight through in a while. It's well-written, and uses the awesome British humor I love so much. It's also got the sarcasm you'd expect to find in a thirteen year old girl (the story is told in first person). The dialogue between the characters is great.'
-- In Case of Survival Blog

'Alette J. Willis does a wonderful job writing this coming-of-age story ... this is the kind of book I will want my daughter to read as she gets older and Edda is the kind of character I want her looking up to and relating to ... This is ultimately a story about friendships, believing in yourself, working together, and facing your fears ... just-right amount of suspense and monsters for the younger readers, we can all be happy with it. I would definitely recommend How to Make a Golem and Terrify People to anyone over the age of eight.'
-- Writing My Own Fairy Tale blog

'Willis delivers some nicely creepy touches even though her aim seems to be more about giving readers lessons than chills.'
-- Booklist Online, May 2012

'a really good book ... good for people approaching high school'
-- Teen Titles


Alette Willis was born in Britain but brought up and educated in Canada. She and her husband moved to Edinburgh three years ago. After gaining success writing short stories for adults, she returned to her first love, children's fiction. For the past two years she has volunteered as a Talking Trees Storyteller at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. She currently works at Edinburgh University as a teaching fellow and researcher.


Don't miss the Discover Kelpies website for children with exclusive author interviews, fun stuff and latest gossip on your favourite Scottish stories.


Also available as an eBook:
How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People) (eBook edition)

How to Make a Golem was the winner of Floris Books' Kelpies Prize for new Scottish writing for children. Find out more about the Kelpies Prize and send your manuscript: next year, it could be your book being published!

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