The "things" that go bump in the night are spooky stories. Spooky stories are very popular at the library. The last few weeks many children have come up to the desk looking for "scary stories". Well, scary stories are different for everyone. There are several classics that I booktalk to kids and then I teach them how they can find scary stories on the Youth Services floor.
The first is an oldie but a goodie. (I guess old might be a relative term. It was a popular book when I was a kid and remains popular today). Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz is a collection of stories from folklore that have been retold by the author. It contains stories to tell around a campfire or sleepover that have a "jump moment" that will make listeners jump with a scream, mysterious stories about ghosts that have returned to the world of the living, and some funny stories. The last story in the collection, "The Ghost With The Bloody Fingers," made me laugh when I read it. A hotel room is haunted by a ghost moaning "Bloody fingers! Bloody fingers!" He scares several hotel guests away until the third guest shuts him up with a very humorous remark. Be forewarned though- some of the drawings in the book are creepier than the stories, as you can see by the cover.
Mary Downing Hahn is another pick. Her novel Wait Till Helen Comes is about two siblings who aren't happy that their mom has remarried, not to mention that their new stepfather has a daughter named Heather. Molly and Michael don't get along well with Heather, who has become fixated on a grave in a nearby graveyard that has Heather's initials, H.E.H., on it. Eventually Molly realizes that the ghost of H.E.H. is trying to lure Heather away from their family. It's up to her to rescue Heather. This mysterious tale of a lonely spirit will have ghost story readers enthralled.
Mary Downing Hahn has a new book coming out this fall called The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, a Gothic style ghost story about a vindictive ghost looking for revenge for her death. I know I can't wait to read it! Put a hold on a copy now.
Looking for other scary stories? We have lots available at the library! Kids can easily find spooky stories by looking for the genre sticker on the spines of the book. We've just gotten new stickers in that look like this so it's easy for them to find this genre. One last thing I tell kids, especially younger ones, is that it's make believe. If the book starts scaring you TOO MUCH, then it's okay to close the book. I wish someone had told me that when I was a kid- I would hide spooky books under the couch cushions because I didn't want to see them anymore! Happy Friday the 13th!