Everyone loves a good story. From the cradle, we’ve been taught to love words, listen to stories, and imagine. But what about scary stories? There’s a growing trend in children’s books, geared towards the frightful and scary. The Guardian explains it away: there’s nothing like being scared to make you feel alive. While there are people who won’t be able to stomach the night terrors, plenty others love a good dose of fright to go along with their stories.
Here’s a selection of scary children’s books from Flavorwire, unintentional or otherwise:
- Strego Nona by Tomie dePaola. It’s about a witch who cooks up a magic pot of pasta in her kitchen. She warns Anthony, the young man who comes to her house to help her with household chores, never to mess with her magic pasta. But when do characters ever follow the rules? Of course he does. When he gets hungry, he some of that pasta and chaos ensues. Noodles grow wild enough to overtake the town, there are plans of a barricade and hope is nowhere in sight. That is, until the witch returns and fixes the problem. For kids, it’s enough to put you off spaghetti for weeks.
- Popcorn by Frank Asch. Rebel teenage bear doesn’t listen to his parents when they tell him not to throw a party. As soon as they’re out the door, he’s organizing a party and throwing a popcorn feast. However, things go wrong, as they usually do in these stories, and the popcorn won’t stop coming. It’s enough to give kids a trauma over the thought of being buried alive in popcorn.
- Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. A board game that could get you dead? Now why would that give us nightmares? Whether you read the book or saw the film, you’ll always fear the idea of being taken out by the wrong move.
- Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman. Lucy starts to hear something from the walls of their home. The creeping, hustling, crackling noises make her think there are wolves hiding in their walls. Everybody thinks it’s something else: rats and bats. But her father says, when the wolves come out, it’s all over! And our worst fears come alive when the wolves do out come in tarrying shadows and fangs, out of the walls. Magical, gorgeous and dark, this treat from Gaiman isn’t for the faint of heart.
Looking for more books to pop into your Nook Galaxy S2 tablet? Go online and check your favorite online stores for weekly updates. Nook offers best-selling picks for the week, for one, so you can update yourself on any major new releases. For more recommendations, PopSugar shares of its own picks of scary children’s books:
- Witches by Roald Dahl. If there’s one writer excellent at scaring us through the ages, it’s Roald Dahl. Who could ever forget Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where greedy, rude kids got eaten or sucked into holes? I’m sure that gave you plenty of nightmares and made you want to share your candy for weeks. While the witches are the villain of the story this time around, they’re not really the evil you’ll remember. If you haven’t thumbed through this one yet, you’ll find the ending a definite departure from many children’s books.
- The Fear Street Saga by R.L. Stine. What if you find out that the hero’s main squeeze has been dead for ten long years? Yep, that’s what got us hooked into the series in the first place.
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark retold by Alvin Schwartz. Remember Cold as Clay? Some of these stories will still send a chill down your spine, years after you’ve read them. The illustrations magnify the unease and fear factor as well.
- The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney. Cooney sure knows how to create the perfect little scary YA treat for teens everywhere. Don’t be surprised to find yourself checking every face on the milk carton to make sure it isn’t yours—after you read the story.
- Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. Before there was Fear Street, most of us probably started out with Goosebumps as a handy way to get our toes wet in the genre. While not as scary as some of us might have wanted, it still made for rollicking good fun.
- My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville. It’s at the heart of every child’s fantasy: that teachers are, in fact, aliens. That would explain so much. While the series combined fright with fun, it’s still firmly on our “read with the lights on” list.
So if you want a change of pace now and then, to mix some of those heartwarming children’s stories up with a dash of fright, you’ll find enough from these lists to keep you and your tots occupied and wide-awake for bedtime.