Scary Tales

Picture Books

Brown, Ruth. A Dark, Dark Tale.  Dial, 1981.  E BRO
On a journey through a dark house, a black cat surprises the only inhabitant of the forbidding, lonely residence.

Bunting, Eve. In the Haunted House.  Clarion, 1990.  E BUN
All we see are two pairs of sneakers, one large and one small, as a little girl and her father tour a dark and mysterious house.  A surprise at the end awaits the reader!

Catrow, David.  Monster Mash.  Orchard Books, 2012.  E CAT                                                     
Hilarious illustrations by noted author/illustrator David Catrow make this picture version of the vintage song Monster Mash make a stand-out.

Galdone, Joanna. The Tailypo: A Ghost Story. Seabury Press, 1977.   E GAL
A classic story of a strange varmint that haunts the woodsman who lopped off its tail. 

Galdone, Paul. Teeny Tiny Woman: A Ghost Story.  Clarion, 1984.   E GAL
Retells the tale of the teeny-tiny woman who finds a teeny-tiny bone in a churchyard and puts it away in her cupboard before she goes to sleep.  This title has just the right amount of “spooky” for a young child. 

Mayer, Mercer. There’s Something in My Attic.  Penguin, 1988.   E MAY
Convinced there is something making noise in the attic at night, a brave little girl sneaks up the stairs, lasso in hand, to capture whatever it is. 

Murray, Marjorie Dennis.  Halloween Night.  Greenwillow, 2008.   E MUR                                   
Halloween is the scariest time of year, and the young girl in this story never knows who will come to her door for trick or treating.  The illustrations are a visual feast - this title will be sure to provide shivery delight for readers and listeners.

Rex, Michael.  Goodnight Goon.  Putnam, 2008.  E REX.                                                           
A funny, slightly spooky parody of the picture book classic, Goodnight Moon.  Kids will get a kick out of the colorful and creepy illustrations.                                                                                        

Beginning Readers

Beecroft, Simon.  Meet the Monsters.  DK Publishers, 2012.  E BEE                                                                       
Meet the spooky LEGO monsters and the characters who battle them in this beginning reader title in the very popular LEGO franchise. 

Berenstain, Stan. The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree.  Beginner Books, 1978.  E BER                                                                                                                                    
A perpetual favorite in the Berenstain Bears  series,  in this story the three little bear siblings have second thoughts about exploring the interior of a spooky old tree.

Cushman, Doug.  Dirk Bones and the Mystery of the Haunted House.   HarperCollins, 2006. E CUS                                                                                                                    
The Town of Ghostly has a detective named Dirk Bones.  Even though Bones is an actual real skeleton, this doesn’t stop him from investigating the strange noises emanating from his town.   Readers will enjoy meeting all the residents of Ghostly, and how Dirk’s mystery is finally solved.                                                                      

Schwartz, Alvin.  Ghosts!  Ghostly Tales from Folklore.  HarperCollins, 1991.  E SCH
This title presents seven, easy-to-read ghost stories based on traditional folk tales and legends from various countries.

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. Harper & Row, 1984.  E SCH
Seven scary stories to tell at night in front of a fire or in the dark, based on traditional stories and folktales from various countries.

Sierra, Judy.  Never Kick a Ghost and Other Silly Chillers.  HarperCollins, 2011. E SIE                                                                                                          
A collection of spooky stories for beginning reader based on folklore, blends the right amount of creepiness with humor for beginning readers.  Check out the Skeleton Bride story for some lingering chills.  

Juvenile Fiction

Bellairs, John. The House with a Clock in its Walls.   Puffin, 1973.   J BEL
A boy goes to live with his magician uncle in a mansion that has a clock hidden in the walls which is ticking off the minutes until doomsday.  A classic, chilling, and suspenseful read.

Dahl, Michael.  Zombie in the Library.   Stone Arch Books, 2011.  J DAH                                                          
A young boy named Adam makes the mistake of visiting the library after hours, and comes face to face a zombie, made of unread and discarded library books.  And the zombie is hungry!  Check out the rest of the titles in Michael Dahl’s series Return to the Library of Doom.

Gaiman, Neil.  Coraline.  HarperCollins, 2002.   J GAI
Looking for excitement, Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard.   HarperCollins, 2008.   J GAI                                                                                         
This Newbery winning title provides chills!  Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other friendly denizens of the graveyard.   Will they be able to protect Nobody from a killer who is pursuing him? 

Hahn, Mary Downing.  All the Lovely Bad Ones.  Clarion, 2008.   J HAH                                                    
While spending the summer at their grandmother's Vermont inn, two prankster siblings awaken young ghosts from the inn's distant past who refuse to "rest in peace."  The author also wrote the spooky chapter books Time for Andrew and Wait Till Helen Comes.

McKissack, P. The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural.   Knopf, 1992.   J MCK
A collection of ghost stories with African American themes, designed to be told during the Dark Thirty--the half hour before sunset--when ghosts seem all too believable.                    

Preller, James.  Home Sweet Horror.   Feiwel and Friends, 2013.   J PRE                                                 
Home Sweet Horror is book one in James Preller’s series Scary Tales.  In Home Sweet Horror, eight-year-old Liam and his father and sister move to a new house for a fresh start, but Liam soon discovers that the old house is haunted.  The Scary Tales series is designed for younger readers, and includes illustrations and short chapters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
San Souci, Robert. Dare to Be Scared.  Cricket, 2003.  J SAN
In this creepy collection, award winning writer Robert San Souci draws on myths, legends, and folk tales to create thirteen stories, all featuring boys and girls from 8 to 12 as leading characters.  Check out the sequels to this collection too!

Zindel, Paul. Night of the Bat.  Hyperion, 2001.  J ZIN                                                              
Teenage Jake joins his father on an expedition to study bats in the Brazilian rain forest and finds the project menaced by a giant brain-eating bat.  If you like Paul Zindel, check out his other chilling books Rats, Loch, Raptor, and Reef of Death.  

Juvenile Non-Fiction

Arnosky, Jim.  Monster Hunt.  Hyperion, 2011.   J 398.469 ARN                                                     
Vivid illustrations will give readers the creeps in this picture book that looks at mysterious creatures from history and nature.  Pay special attention to the section on the Lake Champlain monster.  The author shares a personal experience with Champ, the lake monster, thought to be similar to the Loch Ness monster.

Hoberman, Mary Ann. You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together.  Little, Brown and Company, 2007.   J 811.54 HOB                                     
Frequent collaborators Mary Ann Hoberman (author) and Michael Emberley (illustrator) offer a collection of short scary tales that young children can read with an adult (each reader has portion to read).  The rhyming stories about witches, zombies, ghouls, and other assorted creepy characters gets the reader(s) involved in storytelling, and provides for lots of fun.

Osborne, Mary Pope.  Ghosts: A Nonfiction Companion to A Good Night for Ghosts.   Random House, 2009.   J 133.1 OSB                                                                    
Ghosts: A Nonfiction Companion to A Good Night for Ghosts  is in the Magic Tree House FastTracker  series,  a group of research guides that explore topics in depth.  Ghosts features Magic Tree house main characters Jack and Annie learning about ghosts and hauntings, the subject of the book A Good Night for Ghosts.   Recommended for fans of Magic Tree House as well as those who enjoy spooky stuff.

Rich, Susan.  Half-Minute Horrors.   J 808.831 HAL                                                                             
An anthology of very short, scary stories by an assortment of authors and illustrators including Chris Raschka, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, and Lane Smith.   Ideal for spooky storytelling around a camp fire or at a slumber party!


Schwartz, Alvin.  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.   Lippincott, 1981.   J 398.25 SCH
Stories of ghosts and witches, "jump" stories, scary songs, urban legends, and modern-day scary tales are included in this collection by folklorist Alvin Schwartz.   Schwartz also created the compilations More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones.

Whiting, Jim.  Scary Places.  Capstone Press, 2010.   J 001.94 WHI                                                   
The Queen Mary ship, Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, the Golden North Hotel  in Skagway, Alaska – what do these places have in common?  They are all haunted!  This easy reading non-fiction picture book features short entries on six scary places.   It is part of a high interest non-fiction series called First Facts which also includes the spooky title Scary Monsters.