Published on November 13th, 2015 | by Gloria Romano
What’s Your Favorite Scary Story?: 7 Horror Book Authors for Children
With Halloween around the corner, every children librarian will have their scary and monstrous books on display. While the younger readers read about their favorite characters going Trick or Treating, the older crowd will head straight towards the more terrifying books. Now every librarian knows that their patrons will dive right into R.L. Stine and Alvin Schwartz’s collection of terrifying tales but what else is there? Are there other children’s authors who write horror series? Well, for those who need a little more information and inspiration for their collection or yearly displays, here is a short list of well known, or maybe not so well known, authors who have written literature within the horror canon.
You can’t create a list like this and not include one of the masters of the genre. Who has not read “The Haunted Mask” or “The Night of the Living Dummy” under the covers with just a flashlight? Or maybe the book covers scared you so much that you stayed away from the library shelf. Whichever the case may be, everyone knows that R.L. Stine can deliver the terrors with his frightening imagination and clever play on common horror tropes. Like him or not, every library should have the Goosebumps series on the shelf, along with his other horror series, such as Fear Street and Mostly Ghostly.
If you have a reader who likes urban legends and folklore, he or she will want to read Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories series. Whether it’s Stephen Gammell’s creepy illustrations or the questionable reality of each short story, Schwartz’s collection has entertained and terrified readers for years. Some of the tales in these books include haunted houses, vengeful ghosts, superstitious individuals, and meetings with the undead. These stories will scare most and entertain the rest but be advised, do not read them with the lights off.
A number of Michael Dahl’s books are very short chapter books with colorful pictures and bold lettering. The writer has written a number of series in the mystery, horror, and fantasy genres. If you are looking for his scary stories, you will find them in his Library of Doom series. Each book contains a creepy story about a strange monster or entity that is determined to destroy whatever gets in their way. The only person who can stop these terrors is the Librarian, a fearless but mysterious individual who knows the ins and outs of the most dangerous creatures. These books are a great read for those who want a short scare or a quick but exciting read.
Ghosts and monsters are scary but so are witches. The witches found in Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series are especially scary with their capabilities of summoning something sinister and evil. The only ones who can stop them is the Spook, a mystical man with the power to destroy evil beasts and magical beings. However, the Spook is searching for his new apprentice so that he may pass on his skills and tricks. This book series takes readers into the dark folklore of witchcraft and the difficulties of a young man adjusting into an important role. If the action and stories do not chill you to the bone, Patrick Arrasmith’s illustrations inside the book and on the cover will.
Keeping up with the tradition of Goosebumps the series Deadtime Stories, written by Annette Cascone and Gina Casonce, under the pseudonym A.G. Cascone, draws readers into frightening stories. Each tale consists of your average haunting or monster sighting by a group of children with enough thrills and chills to keep young readers wanting more. The sibling team has written many titles in this series, which was adapted into a television show for children a few years back. Fans of Goosebumps and other weird scary tales will definitely want to read these.
What if you lived in a town where anything supernatural can and will occur? How would you go about your day? Well, for the residents of Springville (aka Spooksville), these occurrences are able to cause trouble in more ways than one. Written by Christopher Pike, the Spooksville series is centered on a group of friends investigating their strange town and the supernatural life that thrives within. The series also involves instances of time travel and extraterrestrial activity, a treat for readers who enjoy a dose of science fiction in their horror stories.
Children’s librarians may be more familiar with James Preller’s Jigsaw Jones series but the children’s writer has also written the horror book series simply titled Scary Tales. Each book takes readers on a scary trip through terrifying tales of urban legends, haunted objects, monstrous creatures, and creepy zombies. The covers, created by Iacopo Bruno, complete the horror within, especially with the splashes of color to draw the unsuspecting reader in.
Obviously this is not every children author in the horror canon but just some notable ones that every library should have. These writers know how to deliver the thrills that the reader cannot get enough of. If your young patron is looking for something spooky to read this Halloween, give him a book from one of these authors and you cannot lose. If you are looking for other suggestions, check out these websites for more scary and terrifying reads: