Haunted Reads: Middle Grade Books

This week, for our October Book of the Month, we’re bringing you some great Haunted Reads book suggestions! Today, since it’s also Middle Grade Monday, we’re featuring some great MG suggestions:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what’s what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we’re hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book’s eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

Scary School by Derek the Ghost

You think your school’s scary?

Get a load of these teachers:

“Ms. Fang,” an 850-year-old vampire
“Dr. Dragonbreath,” who just might eat you before recess
“Mr. Snakeskin”–science class is so much more fun when it’s taught by someone who’s half zombie
“Mrs. T”–break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry “Tyrannosaurus rex”

Plus

Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein’s monster on the loose
The world’s most frighteningly delicious school lunch

And

The narrator’s an eleven-year-old ghost

Join Charles “New Kid” Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends–including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf–and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky

ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

In a quaint New England town with a history of witches and pilgrims, misunderstood eleven-year-old Norman Babcock can see and talk to ghosts. No one believes him, of course-everyone just thinks he’s weird (including his parents). But when a folktale of a witch who cursed her accusers turns out to be true, it’s up to Norman to save the town from pilgrim zombies! In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on a very angry witch, an annoying sidekick, his boy-crazy teenage sister, and dozens of moronic grown-ups who get in his way. This young ghoul whisperer finds his paranormal talents pushed to their otherworldly limits in this hilarious and spooky adventure!

Featuring gorgeous black-and-white interior illustrations and a story beyond what you’ll see in the film, this novel is sure to delight!

Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine

Celebrate the series 20th anniversary with the first hardback edition of Wanted: The Haunted Mask:

For the first time ever, Goosebumps is in hard cover! Catch the series’ most notorious characters–undead or alive…

From horror master R.L. Stine come two new chilling stories in one spooky standalone:

The Haunted Mask has returned and is determined to make this the worst night of your life!

Where’s the last place you would want to get stuck? A haunted pumpkin patch where the jack o’lanterns are after you!

And watch for Goosebumps: Most Wanted, an all-new paperback series coming in the fall.

The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein

After narrowly escaping a malevolent spirit in The Crossroads, Zack and Judy are hoping to relax during the rehearsals for a show based on Judy’s bestselling children’s books. Little do they know that the director is planning to raise a horde of evil specters from the dead, and to accomplish this, he needs a human sacrifice . . . and Zack fits the bill perfectly.

This second book featuring the intrepid Zack and his stepmother, Judy, is full of the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made Chris Grabenstein a fast favorite with young and old alike.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling continues to bewitch readers everywhere with the third book in her magical Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry’s ongoing exploits, along with those of his contemporaries, teachers, and relatives, are as imaginative, entertaining, and mysterious as ever. For during Harry’s third year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he must face his greatest challenge yet: a confrontation with Sirius Black, an escaped convict and madman who is rumored to be in cahoots with Harry’s archenemy, the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort. This alone would be daunting enough, but Harry’s task is made even more trying when he discovers that Sirius is suspected of being the one who killed Harry’s parents.

The Big Book of Horror ed. by Alissa Heyman

These chillingly illustrated tales deliver shivery pleasure for brave young readers willing to confront murderers, body snatchers, madmen, and other creatures of the night. What terror lurks on these pages, with their eerie, unsettling art, filled with dark shadows and distorted lines? In Guy de Maupassant’s “The Hand,” a hunter proudly displays a gruesome trophy from a manhunt…until the trophy decides to take revenge. The hero of Le Fanu’s “Sir Dominick’s Bargain” makes a deal with the devil: all goes well until the day the devil returns to claim his half of the bargain…
With stories by such classic writers as Poe, Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and many others, it’s the perfect Halloween collection for fearless kids.

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

The engaging tale of young Ramona Quimby’s first days in kindergarten, Ramona the Pest takes a pint-sized perspective on the trials and delights of beginning school. Ramona can’t wait to learn all the important things. But she’s disappointed when her teacher can’t fill in missing parts of story lines, such as how Mike Mulligan (of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel) went to the bathroom while digging the basement of the town hall. Nonetheless, Ramona loves her teacher, and loves going to school in spite of the torments–having to wear hand-me-down boots, for example, or having to (sometimes) suppress the urge to pull on another girl’s “boing-boing” curls. Ramona’s energetic take on life appeals to children who have passed through this stage, or who are dealing with a kindergarten-age sibling who is exhibiting Ramona-ish tendencies.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

This Roald Dahl classic tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches! “In fairy tales witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs. That is why they are so hard to catch.” Witches, as our hero learns, hate children. With the help of a friend and his somewhat-magical grandmother, our hero tries to expose the witches before they dispose of him.

Ghost Stories ed. by Roald Dahl

Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre or bizarre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. As he realtes in the erudite introduction to this volume, he read some 749 supernatural tales at the British Museum Library before selecting the 14 that comprise this anthology. “Spookiness is, after all, the real purpose of the ghost story,” Dahl writes. “It should give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.” For this superbly disquieting collection, Dahl offers favorite tales by such masterful storytellers as E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

Tiffany Aching, a hag from a long line of hags, is trying out her witchy talents again as she is plunged into yet another adventure when she leaves home and is apprenticed to a “real” witch. This time, will the thievin’, fightin’ and drinkin’ skills of the Nac Mac Feegle — the Wee Free Men — be of use, or must Tiffany rely on her own abilities?

Sorcery and Cecilia and the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

In this light magical correspondence, letters fly between Cecilia (author Pat), with Aunt Charlotte in Essex Rushton manor, and her cousin Kate (author Caro), with Aunt Elizabeth in London’s Berkeley Square for alluring Georgina’s season. Mistaking Kate for “odious marquise” Thomas of Schofield, a mysterious Miranda tries to poison Kate with drink from hot chocolate pot at Royal College of Wizards investiture for their country neighbor Sir Hilary of Bedrick Hall. When their shy friend Dorothea attracts men unwillingly, her step-mama Miranda Griscomb nee Tanistry, reveals evil motives and immense power, with ambitions against innocent brother Oliver.

For the comments: What are your favorite Middle Grade books for Halloween?

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