Scary Books For Kids

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Scary books for kids ... Some seriously good books for kids that are super scaryUh oh!

Scary books for kids!

It’s a tricky one isn’t it?

Is it really a good idea for our kids to read stuff that’s going to scare them witless?

That might give them bad dreams?

And have them running down the landing to jump in your bed in the middle of the night?

Well obviously it depends on your kid.

But if they enjoy reading scary books – my daughter loves them – my hunch is they are a good way to explore deep seated fears we all have anyway.

As long – and this is the crunch – as they are well written!

So if your kids do love scary books – and you’re OK with them – here are five of our faves. They’re very different and suitable for a range of ages.

We do hope your kids enjoy(!) them – give us a shout and let us know.

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1. Coraline

There was a bit of a dispute in our house as to whether Neil Galmain’s Coraline (UK) should be number one or two in our list.

I’ve plumped for number one ‘cos I feel the things closest to home – the things that could just be the other side of the wall – are always the scariest!

And when that thing is another mother, identical to your own (bar the button eyes and talons!) who’s determined to make you stay the other side of the wall in your new “home” – it’s scary!

Believe me!

Scary books for kids ... Some seriously good books for kids that are super scary

 

2. Dark Is Rising

My daughter’s choice for number one most scary book is Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising (UK). She maintains “it is officially the most scary book ever!”

I have to confess we stumbled on it after reading the prequel Over Sea Under Stone (UK), which I loved as a child, and is not half so scary.

We were a bit shocked by how scary it is, but it is brilliant!

Set over the 12 days of Christmas it combines Arthurian legend with ancient Saxon myths about the battle between darkness and light over Yuletide.

There’s a timeless walker who haunts the lanes around Will the hero’s house, ominous church yards full of swirling flocks of rooks and much, much more to scare the pants off the whole family!
 

3. The Princess & the Goblin

I read George MacDonald’s 19th Century classic The Princess & the Goblin (UK) as a 7 year old and still remember vividly now how scared I was.

But I could not put it down! And neither could my daughter.

It’s suitable for slightly younger readers, but still compelling for older kids.

And still scares 150 years after it was first written, because it taps into images we know from our own dreams. A stair case to an unknown room, being lost under ground, a tapping noise that warns of intruders … scary stuff!

Scary books for kids ... Some seriously good books for kids that are super scary
 

4. The Children of Green Knowe

Lucy M. Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe (UK) deceives a little by its initial gentleness (and slightly slow start).

Tolly, the main character, is only 7 when he first goes to stay with his great grandmother in her strange old house. There’s lovely bits where Tolly and his grandmother feed the birds, and even the “ghost” children he meets early on are not so scary.

But when Tolly gets left in the house on his home and great trees in the garden are brought to life by an ancient curse, it all gets more than a bit frightening!
 

5. The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Finally, a scary book for kids who aren’t so keen on scary books :-)

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (UK) by Penelope Lively should be super scary, being, as it is, about a vindictive poltergheist. But compared with the others it’s not.

The poltergheist is however a royal pain in the neck for James the main character, causing all sorts of trouble for which James gets blamed by his parents.

And really Penelope Lively uses the story to explore very identifiable tensions between kids and their parents plus some interesting stuff about sorcery in the 17th Century, rather than to scare everyone witless.

 

So there you go, our five favourite scary books for kids, including one not so scary one for gentler souls. Do tell us about your faves – we can never have enough great books.

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