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Haunted Children Book List

As you will see, my obsession with horror began in elementary school when my reading list consisted mostly of ghost tales. Thanks to the following authors I often found myself reading  under the covers with a flashlight late at night.

Wait Till Helen Comes

I read All the Lovely Bad Ones and Deep Dark and Dangerous recently thanks to my fond memories of having read Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. A stepfamily decides the best place to start their new life together is by moving into a deserted house complete with its very own cemetery on its grounds. What could possibly go wrong?

Hahn has often been praised for her realistic portrayal of family dynamics. Of her writing Hahn said:

“I can’t keep my life out of my books, I might change events, make them sadder, scarier, more exciting, but emotionally my books are as honest as I can make them; no matter how many supernatural turns my plot takes… Never in adulthood are you so frightened, so angry, so eager for revenge, so vulnerable, so happy, so sad as you are when you are a child.”

Welcome to the Dead House by R.L. Stine was the first Goosebumps book I owned. A family moves into a haunted house where the ghosts of previous occupants terrorize two siblings.  I think this was the first time I ever read a story in which evil was not vanquished by the brave protagonists. I was shocked and hooked to the whole series, a series that is still quite popular twenty years later. 

Welcome to the Dead House

 I got quite a kick out of Bruce Coville’s My Teacher is an Alien as a kid but my favorite book of his is  part of the Nina Tanleven series: The Ghost in the Third Row.  Two friends must solve the mystery of a ghost who haunts their local theater. At the time my class was taking field trips to the New Victory Theater on Times Square and I kept hoping I’d get to see a real ghost. But alas I never did.

The Dollhouse Murders
The Dark-thirty

Betty Ren Wright created a niche for herself in the ghost story market. I have never looked at a dollhouse the same ever since reading The Dollhouse Murders. Amy’s great-grandparents relieve their murders each night in the creepy dollhouse she finds in the attic. It is up to Amy to get past the horror and help her great-grandparents spirits find peace. 

I can still recall my fifth grade teacher’s voice as he  read to a captivated class  one of the ten spooky tales from The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack. My favorite? “The Woman in the Snow.”

Recent  favorites include: Doll Bones by Holly Black, The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand and the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud.

Doll Bones
The Year of Shadows
The Screaming Staircase

Looking for more recent tales to share with a school-aged child? Then check out the following lists: Ghosts - FictionGhost StoriesHaunted Houses, and Haunted Places.

What stories kept you up at night as a kid?

Reference: In "Mary Downing Hahn." Something About the Author. Vol. 157. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 79-98. Something About the Author. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.


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