Looking for a few shivers? Open up a spooky book to give you thrills and chills without stepping out of the house. Read on as Mixed-Up Authors share their favorite spine-tingling middle-grade reads.
“The Monster’s Ring by Bruce Coville would be great for a Halloween list. Another choice is David Lubar’s series: Invasion of the Road Weenies. My girls and I loved the funny, creepy stories in this one. Also look for In the Land of the Lawn Weenies and The Curse of the Campfire Weenies.” — Mindy Alyse Weiss
“Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. My son may be 16, but we still read it together. The original is our favorite. Two years ago, I ran a kids’ retreat on Halloween weekend. I read Coraline [by Neil Gaiman] out loud. YOWZA. No one slept!!!” — Sara Aronson
Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger comes highly recommended by Karen B. Schwartz‘s son.
“For girl ghost hunters, my middle-grade daughter recommends the Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator series by Jennifer Allison and the Suddenly Supernatural series by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel.” — Laurie Schneider
“As a kid I loved the John Bellairs books. Good creepy fun!” — Kurtis Scaletta
“When the Whistle Blows, by Fran Cannon Slayton, is a book of connected stories, all taking place on Halloween. As for the generally creepy, I loved The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck when I was a kid. I also liked The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Another one with a slightly witchy theme is Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsberg.” — Wendy Shang
“Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library [by Eth Clifford and George Hughes] is a ‘spooky’ one for young MGs.” — Beverly Patt
I second Coraline, although it may be upper middle-grade. I picked up our librarian’s ‘Spine-Chilling-Books’ list and there are a few you might want to look at. Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen by Wendelin Van Draanen, of course the classic The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Avi’s The Seer of Shadows. Apparently, R. L Stine’s Say Cheese – And Die Screaming! is a hit but I have not read it. I do, however, wish that I had written it what with the catchy title and all.” — Diana Greenwood
“I second John Bellairs and The Headless Cupid. Also, the new Ellen Potter is a little spooky. It’s called The Kneebone Boy.” — Laurel Snyder
“Half-Minute Horrors , edited by Susan Rich, is a collection of creepy short stories, each each under a minute to read. Good for reluctant readers. Authors include: Lemony Snicket, Jerry Spinelli, M.T. Anderson, Holly Black, Lane Smith, R.L. Stine, Neil Gaiman, Jon Schieszka, and the list goes on. Great illustrations, too.” — Sheela Chari
“I’ve always loved Mary Downing Hahn’s deliciously creepy books. Her newest is Closed for the Season about a murder that happens at a deserted amusement park.” — Kimberley Griffiths Little
“I’m not a big fan of the scary books myself but there’s a Halloween Babymouse [graphic novel] that my MG readers love. It’s called Babymouse: Monster Mash by Jennifer and Matt Holm.” — Rosanne Parry