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Skulls, Spirits, and Monsters - Oh My!

October 25, 2016

Is your tween's favorite holiday Halloween? Do they love creepy, spine-tingling reads? Are you worried they aren't ready for certain titles? Check out these titles that are varying degrees of terrifying.

So I admit it, I haven't really watched a scary movie since I watched The Ring in 2002. I might, occasionally, watch too many true crime/investigative TV shows and feel the urge to check my closets before going to sleep. However, I still enjoy creepy, suspenseful books so here are a few of my favorites for 5th-8th graders:


Based on a classic Hatian folktale "The Magic Orange Tree", The Jumbies is the story of Corinne La Mer, who lives on an unnamed Carribean island. The children are told stories of the Jumbies, monsters who live among the people just waiting for the right moment to attack people out of sheer evilness. Corinne isn't afraid like the other children because her father has taught her that the Jumbies story is all nonsense but is it?

This book has a creep factor of  1 out of 5 skulls.

 4 Reasons Charlie Laird is convinced his new stepmother is a witch:

  1. She lives in a creepy, purple Victorian mansion at the top of Dechant Hill (where Charlie lives, too, unfortunately).
  2. She has a secret room at the top of the stairs where Charlie and his brother are not allowed.
  3. She runs "Hazel's Herbarium" where she sells the concotions she makes from her forest of plants.
  4. Every night since moving in, Charlie has had nightmares about a terrifyingly evil witch with green skin and eyes like mirrors.

Charlie soon learns that some things aren't as they seem and some things are much, much worse.

Nightmares! has a creep factor of   2 out of 5 skulls!

Set in an alternate modern England that's been suffering from an epidemic of spirits for the last 50 years, Lucy Carlyle works for Lockwood and Co. the only Psychic Investigations Agency run without adult supervision. The company is comprised of three agents, Lucy, Lockwood, and George who each have different psychic talents that help them eradicate London's spirit issue - 1 spirit at a time. It's an extremely dangerous job though and when things go south at one job they're forced to accept their most dangerous job ever in order to save Lockwood and Co.

The first title in the Lockwood and Co. series, The Screaming Staircase has a creep factor of    3 out of 5 skulls.

With her father off fighting in World War II and her mother taking care of her kooky aunt, Katherine Bateson's and her two younger siblings are sent to the safety of Rookskill Castle Children's Academy in Scotland to escape the bombing of London. Kat's siblings are convinced the castle is haunted (aren't all castles?) and it doesn't help when the station master warns them about the mysterious sounds coming from the castle and the fact that the people who go in rarely come back out. After meeting Lady Eleanor, Kat quickly realizes that there are sinister forces in Rookskill Castle and she's the only one who can protect her siblings. Can she keep them safe from the nightly clicking and groaning? From the walls that seem to change on their own? From Nazi spies? Or will time run out before help arrives?

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle has a creep factor of     4 out of 5 skulls!

For as long as he can remember, Jacob Portman's grandfather has told him stories about a very unusual orphanage in Wales. After the tragic death of Jacob's grandfather, he uncover clues that leads him to Wales in search of that mysterious orphanage only to find that it's been destroyed. Or has it? Jacob enters the strange world of Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children where he is wholly unprepared to face the reality that has become his new life. The creepiest part of this story is the photographs interspersed throughout the book that author Ransom Riggs collected.

This book has a creep factor of     4 out of 5 skulls for me! 


Looking for more creepy titles? Ask your local librarian! Also, don't forget to click here check out all of the fun Halloween events going on at libraries throughout the city! 

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Miss Terri has worked at three different branches of Nashville Public Library since 2002. She's currently the head of the Children's Department at the Green Hills Branch Library. When she isn’t working, she is usually hanging out with her dog Boo. Isn’t he cute?