Must Have Halloween: Kids and Teens

Saturday, October 22, 2016  By  Megan Rupe     1 Comment

As Halloween approaches, kids and middle schoolers may be asking for some spooky recommendations.  Here are some titles we don’t think anyone (alive or undead) will want to miss!

A huge thanks to staff members Amy, Nic W, Jessikah, Jennifer, Kristen, and Gloria for helping to bring this list to life.  Final compilation was done by Megan.

anyas Anya’s Ghost

Written and drawn by Vera Brosgol
Published by Square Fish, 
2014
ISBN: 9781596437135

Elevator Pitch: Anya is insecure about her body, her Russian family, and her inability to fit in. So she’s psyched to make a new friend—even if that friend is a ghost. Cue slow-burn creepiness as it becomes apparent that this fun, friendly ghost isn’t what she seems.

Appeals to: Fans of young protagonists who are dealing with culture clash, like Kamala Khan or the teens in American Born Chinese. And anyone who likes ghost stories!
Content notes: Teen smoking, self-image issues, creepiness
Suggested Age Range: Older kids and teens

through-the-woods-9781442465954_hrThrough the Woods

Written and drawn by Emily Carroll
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014
ISBN: 9781442465961

Elevator Pitch: Five lushly illustrated stories of chilling horror. What lurks in the woods? It’s not just the wolf anymore…

Appeals to: Fans of horror-infused fairy tales
Content notes: Violence, scary images and text.
Suggested Age Range: Teens

 

 

coralineCoraline

Written by Neil Gaiman. Art by P. Craig Russell.
Published by HarperCollins, 2009
ISBN: 9780060825454

Elevator Pitch: Neil Gaiman’s creepy children’s novel is recreated in graphic novel form.  When Coraline finds a secret door into a world brighter and a lot more fun than her own, she doesn’t realize that deep down it’s dangerous. P. Craig Russell brings Gaiman’s story to life with creepy characters and scary imagery.

Appeals to: Horror lovers and readers of weird literature
Suggested Age Range: Children (preferably those who are in 2nd grade and above) and Young Adults

 

braincampBrain Camp

Written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan. Art by Faith Erin Hicks.
Published by First Second, 2010
ISBN: 9781596433663

Elevator Pitch: Jenna isn’t meeting her parents’ sky-high academic expectations, and Lucas’ mom just wants the delinquent teen out of her hair. That’s how they both end up at an exclusive summer camp where problem kids turn into perfect overachieving geniuses. Unless the camp’s chilling, otherworldly methods kill them first.

Appeals to: Fans of Faith Erin Hicks’ other work
Content notes: Coming-of-age physical developments: Jenna gets her period, and Lucas has a wet dream
Suggested Age Range: Teens

samfriendsSam & Friends Mysteries 1-4

Written by Mary Labatt. Art by Jo Rioux
Published by Kids Can Press, 2009-2011
ISBN:
Dracula Madness: 9781553373032
Lake Monster Mix-Up: 9781553373025
Mummy Mayhem: 9781554534715
Witches’ Brew: 9781554534739

Elevator Pitch: Talking dog and mystery lover Sam investigates four mysteries with her new friend Jennie. Lake monsters, vampires, mummies and animal-eating witches oh my! Fortunately all the mysteries end well and Sam comes to enjoy her new town, along with its mysteries.

Appeals to: Fans of Scooby-Doo and Boxcar Children
Suggested Age Range: Children

lostboyThe Lost Boy

Written and drawn by Greg Ruth
Published by Graphix, 2013
ISBN: 9780439823326

Elevator Pitch: Nate moves to a new house and finds a mysterious recording under the floorboards. Its contents lead him and his new friend Tabitha on a sinister path through the woods to discover what happened to its original owner—a boy about Nate’s age who vanished decades ago. The use of black and white illustrations combined with the shift between present day and flashbacks to the titular lost boy—before he became lost—create a vibe of Twilight Zone meets creepypasta.

Appeals to:  Anyone who likes a little fantasy mixed with their creep factor. Think Coraline.
Content notes: Walt, the lost boy in question comes from a broken home. Themes of emotional turmoil between father and son, and a mother who has died might upset some children.
Suggested Age Range: Older children/Younger Teens (Tweens)

dig060760_2-_sx360_ql80_ttd_The Creeps, vol. 1: Night of the Frankenfrogs

Written and drawn by Chris Schweizer
Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2015
ISBN: 9781419717666

Elevator Pitch: A group of misfits at school (nicknamed The Creeps by their classmates) are continually freaked out by the weird events that happen regularly in Pumpkins County, even though no one else ever makes a fuss. In this story, reanimated zombie frogs from a biology class gone wrong are running amok, and The Creeps work as a team to find out who’s behind the frog attacks. With a diverse cast, nonstop action, and a campy-but-lovable premise, this is great for kids who like the combination of gross and scary you find in many zombie stories.

(Check out our interview with author Chris Schwizer and our review of volume 2!)

Appeals to: Fans of David Lubar’s Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie prose novel series, or kids who have outgrown the Eerie Elementary series by Jack Chabert.
Suggested Age Range: Children

campmidnight_gn-1Camp Midnight

Written by Steven T. Seagle. Art by Jason Adam Katzenstein.
Published by Image Comics, 2016
ISBN: 9781632155559

Elevator Pitch: Skye, a prickly, smart-mouthed preteen, accidentally boards the wrong camp bus and ends up at a place called “Camp Midnight,” where all the campers have monstrous “true selves.” Surrounded by witches, werewolves, and other paranormal beings, Skye has to use some quick thinking, bluster, and bravado to hide her all-too-human nature. Great character writing and smart, snappy dialogue really carries this story.

Appeals to: If you like Anya’s Ghost (or are a little too young for it), try this.
Suggested Age Range: Children

ghosts-front-coverGhosts

Written and drawn by Raina Telgemeier
Published by Graphix, 2016
ISBN: 9780545540629

Elevator Pitch: Cat’s family moved to a new town that would be better for her sister Maya’s ailing health, only to learn that this town is creepy and its residents seem obsessed with ghosts.

Appeals to:  Fans of Raina’s other works and any reader who wants to be a little creeped out
Content notes: Mild tween drama (a kiss), might be a little sad for the younger elementary readers.
Suggested Age Range: 8-12

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