Horror is a difficult genre to control, especially for sensitive and young audiences.
Although all books and children are unique in their own right, this article can aid you in your quest to pick the little scares from the bigger scares, and hopefully help you decide the best books that are perfectly right for your children or little ones!
1. All Hallow’s ABC by Jenni Kaye
Suggested Grade Level: Kindergarten and Younger
All Hallow’s ABC is a great book for teaching the alphabet to younger kids who enjoy Halloween or creepy things. The cute, simple imagery in this 34 page book is a wondrous delight on every page, not only in preserving its pedagogical purpose, but also by not putting in too many distracting images. If your children like the spooky and the funny, this book will leave them mesmerized!
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Suggested Grade Level: Grade 1 and 2
Where the Wild Things Are is a children’s picture book that also has a live-action film adaptation and animated shorts. It was even voted the best picture book in a 2012 survey from readers in the School Library Journal. The story follows the footsteps of a boy named Max who encounters monstrous beasts. Overall, this short book focuses on powerful themes such as family, courage and the power of imagination.
3. Little Wolf’s Haunted Hall For Small Horrors by Ian Whybrow
Suggested Grade Level: Grade 3 and 4
Little Wolf’s Haunted Hall For Small Horrors is a book separated into many short chapters. In the story, Little Wolf opens up a school of horrors with his friends and family to stand up to his late deceased uncle, BigBad Wolf. Change in text format add personality to the text and makes it easier for young audiences to understand the tone of its speakers (as well as making the text more exciting). Little Wolf is longer than the previous books, but its short chapters are so invigorating, that your little ‘monster’ will speed through it!
4. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Suggested Grade Level: Grade 5 and 6
Coraline is a short novel about a young girl that discovers a new world that is an exact replica of hers, both in form and in family. Her other mother and father even want her to be part of their family. However, some very eerie oddities and themes pervade the text and leave an unsettling, though thrilling feeling for readers. All in all, Coraline is a good book to transition from the laughable scares to the real ones that will keep you awake at night.
5. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Suggested Grade Level: Grade 6 and 7
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a collection of short stories with disturbing themes and plots. Unlike Coraline, these stories are more grounded in reality than fantasy, and the likelihood of it being real makes it all the more frightening. The vocabulary is simple but leaves many spaces for the imagination to fill in, so even though it may seem like an easy read, the ideas of the pieces themselves are more difficult to swallow.
Of course, one thing to keep in mind is the diversity and multitudes of books that exist in the world. This is only a short, tentative list that can act as a template for what you think is best for your young readers. Read on!
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Featured image via Dreams