Delightfully Creepy Chronicles for Kids

Ah, it’s October. We’re all reaching for our big thick cardigans (at least, that’s what we librarians are doing), admiring the mums and pumpkins at the local nurseries, and wondering why pie spices keep showing up in places they don’t belong. But if you’re anything like me, you’re more intent on finding something more than that chilly evening wind to send a shiver down your spine. Yep. I’m talking horror stories.

You know the hard stuff you can find in the adult section of the library: Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Paul Tremblay. But what about spooky stories that are just right for your young ghouls and goblins? You can’t just plop the Necronomicon into the hands of your third-grader and leave her to her own devices while you go heat up the centaur’s blood apple cider or rake the leaves off the ancient graveyard lawn. No, you need to start them off with little scares. And have I got the scares for you. Hold on a sec while I light a candle and look around this dark bookshelf of mine. This one, this one… and this one. Now just let me dust the spiderwebs off the covers of these books. Those whispers you hear swirling around the room? Nothing. Nothing you need to worry about, anyway. Here’s your books. You better take them and go. Quickly. Back out to the light. You never know what might emerge from the darkness if you stare into it for too long.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkWhen kids are more interested scary tales than fairy tales, this classic title delivers. With stories derived from folktales, they range from terrifying to creepy to humorous at times. And if you can’t get enough of them, don’t miss More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones!

In a Dark, Dark Room. Need scary stories that still have some training wheels? Step into the dark spaces of In a Dark, Dark Room, a collection of seven scary stories that are perfect for budding readers. This book includes that story – you know, that story – with the girl who always wore a ribbon around her neck.


Eerie ElementaryThey say that horror is a safe way to explore real fears, and what better way to channel the anxieties of school than by reading a series of books where the school itself is out to get its students? Sam Graves and his friends take on science fairs, recess, substitute teachers, and maybe some mad scientists in their efforts to keep themselves and their fellow students safe in this series just for early chapter book readers.

The Jumbies. In a spine-tingling tale that is rooted in Caribbean folklore, 11-year-old Corinne must call on her courage and an ancient magic to stop an evil spirit and save her island home. Look for the second and third books at the library too!

City of Ghosts. After surviving a near-fatal drowning that gives her the ability to enter the spirit world, Cassidy, the daughter of television ghost-hunters, visits Edinburgh where the encounters with the city’s old ghosts reveals the dangers that come with her powers.

The Girl in the Locked Room. Mary Downing Hahn is a veteran author of ghost stories for elementary school kids, and her latest book is sure to scratch that phantom itch. Told in two voices, Jules, whose father is restoring an abandoned house, and a girl who lived there a century before begin to communicate and slowly, the girl’s tragic story is revealed.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. When lights start flickering and temperatures suddenly drop, twelve-year-old Tessa Woodward, sensing her new house may be haunted, recruits some new friends to help her unravel the mystery of who or what is trying to communicate with her and why.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes. When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention.

Ghosts. Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake — and her own.

Small Spaces. After eleven-year-old Ollie’s school bus mysteriously breaks down on a field trip, she has to take a trip through scary woods, and must use all of her wits to survive. She must stick to small spaces.

The Song from Somewhere ElseFrank thought her summer couldn’t get any worse–until big, weird, smelly Nick Underbridge rescues her from a bully, and she winds up at his house. Frank quickly realizes there’s more to Nick than meets the eye. When she’s at his house, she hears the strangest, most beautiful music, music which leads her to a mysterious, hidden door. Beyond the door are amazing creatures that she never even dreamed could be real. For the first time in forever, Frank feels happy . . . and she and Nick start to become friends. But Nick’s incredible secrets are also accompanied by great danger. Frank must figure out how to help her new friend, the same way that he has helped her.

Spooky Selections for Middle Grade Readers

mgspook1Do you have a middle grade reader that lovers anything spooky? This age group often loves to be scared, but not terrified, by their scary stories. Finding books that make parents and readers happy is sometimes hard, but here are some books that might just hit the mark.

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Unhappy about moving into a converted church in the country with her mother and new stepfather, Molly must put aside her dislike of her little stepsister, Heather, when the child is possessed by a malevolent ghost.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimanmgspooky3
Raised since he was a baby by ghosts, werewolves, and other residents of the cemetery in which he has always resided, Bod wonders how he will manage to survive amongst the living with only the lessons he has learned from the dead.

Doll Bones by Holly Black
Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.mgspooky4

A Tale Dark & Grimm (A Tale Dark & Grimm, #1) by Adam Gidwitz
Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering witches, devils, warlocks, kindly strangers, and other helpful folk as they take charge of their own happily ever after.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
Practically-perfect twelve-year-old Victoria Wright must lie, sneak, and break the rules when her investigation of the disappearance of her best–and only–friend, Lawrence, mgspooky6reveals dark secrets about her town and the orphanage run by the reclusive Mrs. Cavendish.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1) by Derek Landy
When a not-so-innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie inherits her eccentric uncle’s estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from an ancient evil.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Looking for more spooky mayhem that will please a middle grade (or older) reader? Here are a few more of the many avalible options: Coraline by Neil Gaiman, The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn, The Nightmarys by Dan Poblocki, The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn, The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt, #1) by John Bellairs, School Spirit (Suddenly Supernatural #1) by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel,  Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac, The Ghost Comes Calling by Betty Ren Wright, Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver,  Ghosts I Have Been by Richard Peck, and The Ghost’s Grave by Peg Kehret.