The Children’s Book Review | October 29, 2018
Reading an age-appropriate book with just the right amount of scare can be a thrilling way to get the hairs on our arms to stand up on end. More importantly, scary stories can can help us explore the concept of fears from the safety of our own comfortable reading space. What better way to discover, as YA author Lou Morgan says in The Guardian article Why Do We Read Scary Books?, that “monsters can be defeated, that the forest doesn’t go on forever and that the darkness can be driven back or – at the very least – we find ourselves one step closer to the light.”
Starting with a gentle tale of a zombie girl seeking friendship, and finishing with a novel filled with paranormal activity, here are six excellent books to read on a dark and stormy night (or, if it suits you better, in the middle of the day with all of your lights switched on) …
Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cantini
Translated from the Italian by Anna Golding
Publisher’s Synopsis: Ghoulia lives in Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed and spends most of her time playing with Tragedy, her beloved albino greyhound. But things aren’t as easy as they seem for this little zombie girl—all she wants is a real friend. She tries to venture past the manor’s walls, but she can’t hide her pale green skin or the deep purple circles under her eyes. The other children will be afraid of her, and no one will want to be her friend. But when Halloween rolls around, Ghoulia hatches a brilliant plan. All the other, ordinary children will be dressed up like monsters, so Ghoulia can go out into the town and be entirely herself. In the end, all the kids realize that Ghoulia is (almost) just like them and learn that friendship can come in many forms.
Ages 6-8 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | August 28, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1419732935
Written by Rafael Rosado
Illustrated by Jorge Aguirre
Publisher’s Synopsis: Claudette is back AGAIN, and she’s ready to kick major monster butt!
She’s fought giants, clobbered dragons, and now Claudette faces her biggest challenge yet… herself! Well, that and a gang of vile monsters. It all begins when Claudette’s town hosts the annual Warrior Games. After some sneaky maneuvering, Claudette manages to gets herself, Marie, and Gaston chosen as her town’s representatives. But none of Claudette’s past battles has prepared her for this. And to make matters worse, they must stop the vicious Sea Queen and her evil children from using the Warrior Games to free the dark Wizard Grombach and conquer the world!
In Monsters Beware!, the third and final book of the Claudette graphic novel series, Claudette is put the ultimate test. With her honor on the line will she learn that there’s more to a fight than just winning?
Ages 7-10 | Publisher: First Second | March 13, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1626721807
Written by Merrill Wyatt
Publisher’s Synopsis: We all know and love Ramona, Matilda, and Harriet the Spy. Now meet Ernestine.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: jimmy patterson | August 7, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0316471589
Written by Ryan Calejo
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.
Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).
No pressure, muchacho.
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Aladdin | October 23, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1534426580
Written by Katherine Arden
Publisher’s Synopsis: Bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic.
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ages 10+ | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | September 25, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0525515029
Written by Andy Mientus
Illustrated by Rian Sygh
Publisher’s Synopsis: The stage crew at St. Genesius Prep—or Backstagers, as they like to call themselves—are ready for whatever the theater world can throw their way: the madness of tech week, inevitable prop malfunctions, and all the paranormal activity that goes on behind the scenes. Luckily Jory, Hunter, Sasha, Beckett, and Aziz are up for the job!
Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | September 25, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1419731204
Morgan, L. (2015, October 29). Why Do We Read Scary Books? [Website Article]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/oct/29/why-do-we-read-scary-books
The book list 6 Scary Stories: Zombies, Monsters, Folklore, and Paranormal Activity was curated by Bianca Schulze. For similar articles, follow along with our content tagged with Fears, Halloween Books, and Scary Stories.
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