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Scary Stories for Young and Middle Grade Readers

Scary stories to delight and frighten! 

Picture Books

Cover of The Goblin Twins
Jaime Kim

Two 601-year-old goblin tricksters from Korea go on an unexpected Halloween adventure in New York City in this tongue-in-cheek story.

Cover of The Most Haunted House in
Lee Gatlin

When the Skeleton Drummers receive an invitation from the First Lady to perform at the biggest Halloween party of a lifetime--or afterlife--the band must pack their instruments, rise from the earth, and prepare to rock the White House. With gusto and bone-rattling beats, the skeletons BOOM! BANG! and CLANG! as the crowd of trick-or-treaters dance on the president's lawn. But when the party moves inside, something's not quite right: there's a chill in the air and a prickle of fright. There's one thing you might not know: The White House is haunted from top to toe!

Cover of Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Gustavo is good at doing all sorts of ghostly things: walking through walls, making objects fly, and glowing in the dark. And he loves almost nothing more than playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo is shy, and some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye scream or making friends with other monsters. Whenever he tries getting close to them, he realizes they just can't see him. Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves? Also available in Spanish.

Cover of Leila, the Perfect Witch

Leila Wayward is a little witch who excels at everything she does. She's the fastest flier, the most cunning conjuror, and the most superb shape-shifter. She has won trophies for potions, herbology, and alchemy--and now she dreams of winning the Magnificent Witchy Cake-off! As the youngest in a long line of masters of the Dark Arts of Patisserie, Leila wants her entry to be perfect. But even with the most bewitching of recipes, she realizes a terrible truth: she's a disaster in the kitchen. Luckily, Leila has three magical sisters who are happy to share their culinary secrets with her. What's more, Leila discovers that baking with them is fun! Win or lose, she has already tasted the sweetest thing of all: acceptance--with a pinch of nightshade and a bit of mandrake. Also available in Spanish.

Cover of Vlad the Fabulous Vampire

Vlad  is a vampire with the misfortune of having rosy cheeks that--gasp!--make him look abysmally alive. But being the fabulous vampire that he is (and hoping to avoid rejection), he hides his rosy 
complexion behind elaborate vampire outfits in traditional black. That is, until he finds out that his best friend has a pink secret of her own. Also available in Spanish.

Cover of Poultrygeist

After meeting his demise crossing the road, Chicken comes back as a noisy troublemaking ghost, and knowing that scaring people is bad, decides to transform himself into a friendly ghost.

Cover of Benita and the Night Creat

Benita loves to read in bed but keeps getting interrupted by a whistling Tunche, a scary Supay and other spooky creatures from Peruvian lore. To the creatures' disbelief, Benita is so absorbed by her book that she's not the least bit scared of them. This humorous celebration of bedtime reading puts a global twist on taking the "scary" out of monsters. Also available in Spanish.

Cover of A Haunted Ghost Tour in Wi
Gabriele Tafuni

Little Ghost is going on a spooky Halloween tour around Wisconsin, and you're invited to ride along! Take a trip with the Ghost family as they travel from Milwaukee to the Dells and visit favorite landmarks such as Lambeau Field and North Point Water Tower. Along the way, Little Ghost loves tricking everyone . . . until Little Ghost hears the biggest BOO ever! Make this Halloween season spook-tacular with this cute, not-so-scary rhyming picture book that takes you on an adventure through your home state.

Cover of Meowl-O-Ween
Tiffany Chen

It's Meowl-o-ween, and the cats are out! In the glow of a harvest moon they gather--whiskers twitching, tails a-switching. Led by a scruffy black cat, they slink, pounce, and scare on the spookiest night of the year. But not all the cats are enjoying Halloween...a lost kitten is frightened by the crowds, until Mama finds her and they watch the cats' parade together.

Cover of Hazel and the Spooky Seaso
Kyle Sullivan &
Jess Mason

There is nothing Hazel loves more than autumn, the spookiest season. The only problem is, nobody else in her town seems to care. Everything changes when Hazel receives a visit from Ronnie Pumpkinseed, a supernatural pumpkin-headed ambassador for all things spooky. Ronnie teaches Hazel a special word for what she feels inside -- Halloween! -- and helps Hazel find the courage to be herself and follow her heart, even when it's scary.


Early Readers

Cover of The Spooky Cabin
Jason Fruchter

The Paw Patrol visits a spooky old cabin.

Cover of The Doll in the Hall and O
Letizia Rubegni

The kids at school dare John to visit the old house on the hill at night, and when he and his sister go in they find dusty dishes set on the table, a book open like it is waiting for a reader, and something hiding under the bed in the attic--and that is only one of the five scary stories with unexpected twists that are included in this collection.

Cover of A Walk in the Dark and Oth
Letizia Rubegni

Jason is staying at his uncle’s house, which is creepy, and smelly, and dark, and has a painting of an old woman that seems to follow him with her eyes. When Jason wakes up in the middle of the night and has to use the bathroom, what is waiting for him in the dark hallways? Find out in this latest installment in author Max Brallier’s Mister Shivers series, perfect for short story lovers and those just looking for a good scare.

Cover of A Spooky Day at the Sea
Jessika Von Innerebner

Piper and Percy take shelter in a closet during a storm, but discover they're not alone.


Young Fiction

Cover of Spooky Sleuths: The Ghost
Lissy Marlin

Asim has just moved to a new town, and he isn’t sure if the spooky noises he keeps hearing at night are just his imagination– that is, until his teacher is possessed by an evil spirit from Guyanese folklore! If you like The Ghost Tree, check out the second installment in the series, Beware the Moonlight.

Cover of The Secret Explorers and t
Ellie O’Shea

The Secret Explorers– a group of kids from around the world who use their expert knowledge in different subjects to solve problems– are back, and this time, it’s their job to find out why a ghostly knight is haunting a Medieval castle in Central Europe. Join History Explorer Gustavo and his fellow Secret Explorers for this spooky mystery adventure!

Cover of Ms. Frogbottom’s Field T
Harry Briggs

Join Ms. Frogbottom’s class for another zany field trip– this time, to a spooky castle full of bats and coffins. Are they in a vampire’s house? And if they are, how will they get out? Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips is the perfect series for lovers of The Magic School Bus.

Cover of Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol:
Victor Rivas

Ghost hunter Desmond Cole and his best friend Andres are back! When they encounter a troll under a bridge while working on a school science project, will Desmond’s monster-defeating skills be enough to keep them safe?

Middle Grade

Cover of Only If You Dare
Sarah Coleman

You never know what's out to get you. Though you might think you're safe from monsters and menaces, everyday objects can turn against you, too. A mysterious microwave. A threatening board game. A snowman that refuses to melt. Even your own heartbeat has its secrets. These thirteen chilling short stories will keep you up at night–but only if you dare.

Cover of The Girl in the Lake
India Hill

Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake... Celeste is not enthused about  spending two weeks at her grandparents’ vacation house, especially since she’s the only cousin to fail her swim test. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools. Celeste’s nightmares about drowning are bad enough, but did she also just hear footsteps from the empty attic? Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different...

Cover of Ravenous Things

Twelve-year-old Reggie Wong has a quick temper that's always getting him into trouble at school and he desperately misses his dad. One problem: His dad is dead. Enter the Conductor, a peculiar man who promises to make Reggie's wish to see his father just one more time come true. All he must do is climb aboard the man's subway train, which leaves St. Patrick Station promptly at midnight. But when Reggie comes to the end of the line and sees his father waiting for him, he soon discovers all is not as it seems….

Cover of Ophie’s Ghosts

Discovering her ability to see ghosts when a cruel act ends her father's life and forces her to move in with relatives in 1920s Pittsburgh, Ophelia struggles to adapt to her new reality and the new job Mama found for her in an old manor house. Like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, Daffodil Manor is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.

Cover of Let the Monster Out

Bones Malone feels like he can’t do anything right in his new small town. To make matters worse, things in town are getting weird: his mom is acting almost like a zombie, and then he and his brothers have the same dream—one where they’re running from some of their deepest fears, like a bear and an eerie cracked mirror that Bones would rather soon forget. Kyle Specks feels like he can never say the right thing at the right time. Even though he’s scared, he can’t just stand by and do nothing while things in this town get stranger and stranger, especially not after he and Bones find a mysterious scientist’s journal that might hold answers about what’s going on.

Cover of This Appearing House

For as long as anyone could remember there wasn't a house at the dead end of Juniper Drive . . . until one day there was.

Jac is counting down to the five-year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis, but with a house appearing, and her hands shaking, and a fall off her bike, Jac is starting to wonder if these are symptoms--or if something stranger is happening. Dared by classmates to enter, she can feel the House wants something from her. And she won’t be able to get out until she figures out what.

Cover of Spirit Week

Aspiring engineer Suzy Hess is invited to the famous Underlook Hotel, domain of the reclusive horror writer Jack Axworth, in the mountains above her hometown of Estes Park, Colorado. Suzy thinks she's there to tutor Jack's son, Danny, but instead she finds herself investigating a local curse that threatens the landmark hotel. With the help of Elijah Jones, an amateur filmmaker who thought he'd been asked to make a film about the so-called King of Horror; Rena Hallorann, the hotel's caretaker; and Danny, who knows more than he's letting on, Suzy sets out to solve the mystery at the heart of the Underlook. With only a week to save the hotel--and the town--the friends find themselves racing against time to uncover the shadows of the past.

Cover of The Keeper
Guadalupe Garcia

James always knew moving from Texas to Oregon was going to be horrible, and then the mysterious letters begin to arrive…. Someone called the Keeper claims to be watching James and his sister, Ava. But the problem with having a history of playing practical jokes is that no one believes James--not even his parents. Now James and Ava need to figure out who is sending the letters before they become the next victims in their neighborhood’s long history of missing children.

Cover of Ghostlight

Rebecca Strand was just sixteen when she and her father fell to their deaths from the top of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse in 1839, and their ghosts haunt the lighthouse to this day. . . 

Gabe tells this story every day when he gives the ghost tour on Toronto Island, making it scary enough to satisfy the tourists though he doesn’t actually believe in ghosts. But when he finds himself face to face with Rebecca Strand, he learns that the true story of her death is far more terrifying than any ghost tale, and that the “the wakeful and wicked dead” grow ever stronger.

Cover of Tales to Keep You Up at Ni
Marie Bergeron

Amelia is cleaning out her grandmother's attic when she stumbles across a book: Tales to Keep You Up at Night. But when she goes to the library to return it, she's told that the book never belonged there. Curious, she starts to read the stories: tales of strange incidents in nearby towns, of journal entries chronicling endless, twisting pumpkin vines, birthday parties gone awry, and cursed tarot decks. And at the center of the stories lies a family of witches, witches who can look like anyone. As elements from the stories begin to come to life around her, and their eerie connections become clear, Amelia begins to realize that she may be in a scary story of her own…

Cover of The Carrefour Curse
Diane K.

Twelve-year-old Garnet regrets that she doesn't know her family. Her mother has done her best to keep it that way, living far from the rest of the magical Carrefour clan and their dark, dangerous mansion known as Crossroad House. But when Garnet finally gets summoned to the estate, it isn't quite what she hoped for. Her relatives are strange and quarrelsome, each room in Crossroad House is more dilapidated than the last, and she can't keep straight which dusty hallways and cobwebbed corners are forbidden. Then Garnet learns the family secret.

Cover of A Comb of Wishes

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the beaches of St. Rita. But when she discovers a different kind of treasure, she accidentally summons an actual mermaid—the wrathful Ophidia. Desperate to recover her comb, Ophidia makes Kela a bargain: her ancient comb, in exchange for a wish. And though Kela knows that what she wants most is her mother back, a wish that big will exact a dangerous price…and Ophidia has never forgotten that she still has a score to settle with humans.

Cover of The Nightmare Brigade Vol

The Nightmare Brigade is a dream team led by Professor Angus. With his two young sidekicks, 14 year-olds Esteban and Tristan, they have one goal: help people get rid of their worst nightmares. With unique skills, the team members can literally infiltrate their patient’s nightmare to seek its root and destroy the cause. Things are shaken up a bit, however, when they meet the young Sarah. The Brigade has a feeling they have seen her before…