Weekly Reads

Things That Go Bump In the Night

Horror stories for youth are often considered silly or frivolous, something to be partaken around the campfire while making s’mores.  There are, however, collections of well written horror stories both old and new, stories that offer a bit of a challenge for the reader as well as enjoyment.  These titles are meant for the junior set but Mom and Dad can read them too…if they dare!

Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World, selected and adapted by Arielle North Olson and Howard Schwartz with illustrations by David Linn

 

Horror goes international in this collection of  22 stories from around the globe. Olson and Schwartz collected stories from places such as Persia, China, Uzbekistan and Mexico.  These are stories about haunted forrests, evil eyes, snakes, dismembered body parts and things that go bump in the night.  Chills fit for readers all around the world.

They’re Coming for You:  Scary Stories That Scream to be Told, by O. Penn-Coughin

 

 

 

Mr. Penn-Coughin is a master storyteller who takes the everyday experiences of readers and twists them into a whole new horrible reality.  Visits to the school cafeteria, encounters with strange people, stray dogs, and clowns are the basis for these stories that aim to make readers scream.  These are stories fit for young readers with just the right amount of fright.  Don’t stop screaming just yet, there are several They’re Coming for You sequels. 

 

Half-Minute Horrors, edited by Susan Rich

 

Rich has collected the best horror stories from the best storytellers and illustrators in junior books.  Her catches include Lemony Snicket, Jerry Spinelli, M.E. Kerr, Neil Gaiman and even James Patterson!  Don’t have a whole lot of time to read?  Come on!  It’s only half a minute of stories about scary babysitters, chocolate cake, worms and nightmares.  Take a half-minute, it will be time well spent.

Short and Shivery Series retold by Robert D. San Souci

 

San Souci is renowned for his retellings of legends and folk tales.  He has collected some of the best from the Brothers Grimm, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving.  Whether it’s black cats, ghosts or dancing skeletons, San Souci knows how to grab the reader’s attention and send a chill down the spine.  Perfect for reading just before bed…if you’re really brave!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, collected by Alvin Schwartz with illustrations by Stephen Gammell

   

Schwartz also collects tales from around the world.  The real strength of his collection, however, is the way he has managed to find horror stories that are unique to the culture from which they come.  Fear might be universal but each society (like each person) has a slightly different approach in expressing it.  Gammell’s illustrations for the original printing are in this edition.  His artwork seems to shred the boundaries of reality to leave nothing but tattered terror.  It would take much bravery (or foolhardiness) to try this read just before bed!

All books listed can be obtained through your local library.  For more information about scary books or to find out about library services and programs, please visit your local library or go to ahjlibrary.org.  Mr. Strawn is Director of the Allendale-Hampton-Jasper Regional Library.