One of the most difficult questions a librarian may be asked from a child is when a child says “I want something scary to read. Can you help me find a book?” It is difficult, because what they usually mean is they want something just scary enough to be entertaining, but not too scary. So as a former child who loved a good ghost story, and in honor of Halloween, I want to present some of my favorite spooky authors who can still be found in the juvenile and young adult sections of the library. As always, if you are not sure if something is suitable for your child, please peruse the material first.
Betty Ren Wright and Mary Downing Hahn are both excellent writers of suspenseful haunted tales, usually with an intriguing mystery at the center of the story. John Bellairs’ books are a great mix of gothic mystery, adventure, and the paranormal, which boys especially might like. Joan Aiken’s books are not necessarily about ghosts, but are British, dark, and strange. I loved the Witch Trilogy starting with “Witch's Sister” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.
One book I read over and over which has long been out of print, but is now available in e-book format from our Overdrive website is “The Little Vampire” by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. Alvin Schwartz's “ScaryStories to Tell in the Dark” has long been popular, although there is some controversy over the illustrations in the new editions as they are not nearly as scary as the originals. Other authors to try are Peg Kehret and Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
For more spooky tales, visit the Help Desk. And for an awesome, spooky good time, go to the Red Dirt Zombie Halloween Festival which will be held downtown on Oct. 30.