These are the recommendations I have been waiting for. As a child I couldn’t get enough of the horror genre … and that may have pervaded into my adulthood as well. I want to talk about some hidden gems in the kids section that are on the scary side but definitely worth picking up around this time of year. Whether it is just meant to be a good spooky tale or an outside reading project any of these books are worth a look.
It has been a long time since I saw a horror book in the kids section that doesn’t try to tamp down the scare factor and mix in some adventure … at least as far as the cover is concerned. Took has one of the simplest … spookiest covers out there at the moment. It is befitting a ghost story … or is it a witch story … both? This story involves the very real fear of being a new kid in town alongside some scary local legends. When the protagonist’s little sister starts acting strange, talking to her doll more than the real people around her, and finally disappearing into the woods he realizes that the stories kids have been telling him, might not be hazing pranks but may actually be true. This is perhaps the scariest story on this list … at least in its simplicity. It is the basic ghost story that you will find in the adult section as well. This one is definitely meant for the horror buff, or for the brave kids who want to try something a bit more real.
I have posts where I discuss this new series by D. J. MacHale. He was one of my favorite children’s writers growing up and he also wrote for and produced some of my favorite spooky television shows including Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Ghostwriter. Am I dating myself here? You might see this one in bookstores as Surrender the Key instead of Curse of the Boggin, they are the same book, there was just a title change between the hardcover and paperback editions. This one is about a young boy who inherits a key, and a monster who can take the form of anything it chooses that sorely wants it. How does a young boy outsmart a centuries old baddie who can better be described as simple bad luck. Give it a try, and step into The Library where all sorts of mysteries throughout time are begging to be solved.
Yes, this might seem like a bit of a throw away recommendation. Goosebumps have been a staple of the children’s section for more than 20 years at this point, but I want to throw out there the particular brand of Goosebumps books that took a page out of Choose Your Own Adventure novels. Rather than a happy go lucky romp into space here you must choose between saving your best friends or investigating the weird man who took your backpack. This particular one stuck with me as a kid, I still remember the scenes where the protagonist was seperated into all of its component pieces but maintained sentience enough to register that their eyes were in seperate jars from their mouth, their hands, and their feet. A great adventure than can last from a few page turns to a good while if you play your cards right. Just Beware because any mundane choice you make could be THE END!
We all know how terrifying the monsters our brains come up with in our sleep can be. This story follows a young boy who cannot remember having a restful night’s sleep. However, the real nightmare begins when the monsters that plague his dreamscape somehow finds its way into the real world. This on top of a new stepmother he is pretty sure is a witch, a new house he is pretty sure is haunted, and the usual growing pains that a young boy suffers it is definitely a book worth a little bit of a shiver. Just don’t read before bed, or you might give yourself Nightmares!
Growing up is hard, it is even harder when the end of the world has come via zombie hordes. This was a new release when I started working in the kids section and it had hit the ground running. The other really interesting thing about this one, it is a graphic novel. As you would think, zombies and the fight against the inevitable is definitely stuck right in the middle of the horror genre. How does a rag tag team composed of your average-joe, the nerdy best friend, a reformed bully, and the token love interest fair during the zombi-pocalypse.