Spooooky books for kids

I LOVE Halloween! I’ve been reading spooky books all month (oh who am I kidding I read them all year) and I have a couple to recommend, organized by age group.

Middle Grade: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

I may never see a scarecrow the same way again. Terrifically creepy with gorgeous writing, tangible settings, and realistic characters, I loved this novel by the author of the historical fantasy Winternight series for adults. Not just a spooky mystery, the characters grow and change throughout their ordeal, learning about themselves, bravery, and compassion. The atmosphere is rendered so well I would recommend this one to anyone who doesn’t jolt awake to every bump in the night. But don’t read it before bedtime. Or near a cornfield.

YA: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Sort of Carrie meets Ghostbusters, this creepy-funny-gory-romantic novel has a fabulous concept: a young, brooding ghost hunter with daddy issues encounters a powerfully fascinating ghost unlike any he’s ever seen. As he untangles the mysteries surrounding her, he is pulled closer to a motley crew of classmates and neighbors despite his desire to be left alone.

Memorable characters and gruesome scenarios build toward an unexpected conclusion that resolves many questions at once. Although I enjoyed this book, it did strike a few wrong notes, especially in regard to its (only) black character and the use of African-Caribbean religion as the “evil” to white/Western witchcraft’s “good.” There is a Book 2, which I might check out to see what’s up.

Have a terrifically creepy Halloween!