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Schooltime Stories and Spooky Tales Conjure Up Reading Adventures With These 10 Books

Make back to school and Halloween memorable with these spirited book selections.

Board Books

 

“Happy Halloween, Daniel Tiger!”

by Angela C. Santomero


Daniel Tiger
“Happy Halloween, Daniel Tiger!” by Angela C. Santomero

Fans of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” will enjoy reading about Daniel Tiger and his neighborhood as they prepare

for Halloween. Daniel Tiger and his neighbors are dressing up for the big Halloween parade. Using a fun lift-the-flap format, little ones can guess and see what each costume will be. It’s the perfect fun story for young toddlers experiencing their first, second or third Halloween.

“My Baby Loves Halloween”

by Jabari Asim, illustrated by Tara Nicole Whitaker

My Baby Loves Halloween book
“My Baby Loves Halloween” by Jabari Asim

Join Baby as she celebrates all the things she loves about Halloween and the autumn season. This book has beautiful illustrations and rhythmic poetry that will encourage little ones to want to read along. The

colors are vivid, and the depictions of family life happily feature “Own Voices” and plenty of diversity. This book would be a terrific gift for new parents and toddlers.

 

Picture Books

 

“Bears and Boos”

by Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker

Bears and Boos book
“Bears and Boos” by Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker

It’s Halloween and five little bears are excited to dress up. The costume box comes out, and everyone is able to find a costume, except one little bear who misses out. In this sweet story of fun and sharing, Little Bear is lucky to have such wonderful friends who quickly offer to share parts of their costumes, and very soon Little Bear has a full costume too! The story is told in rhyming verse, and while the topic is about Halloween, it’s also a simple story of caring and kindness, and the illustrations perfectly highlight the message. This book would be perfect for young children due to its gentle, simple message.

“Mommy Sayang”

by Rosana Sullivan

Mommy Sayang book
“Mommy Sayang” by Rosana Sullivan

This lovely book tells the story of a young girl and the special relationship she has with her mother. Aleeyah and her Mommy Sayang do everything together. When Aleeyah’s mother becomes ill, Aleeyah waits and waits for her mother to get better. Her aunties try to comfort and distract her, but Aleeyah is inconsolable and spends her days wrapped in her mother’s sarong.

Eventually, Aleeyah takes matters into her own hands, visiting her mother and bringing her a favorite red hibiscus flower. Slowly her mother regains her health. The story is simple and beautiful, but the real strength of this book is in the illustration and the details of a Muslim family living in a Malaysian village.

 

Early Elementary

 

“How to Raise a Mom”

by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish

How to Raise a Mom book
“How to Raise a Mom” by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish

This silly story is perfect for early elementary readers and features siblings who want to make sure they are raising a

happy and healthy mom. The children teach us how to properly dress a mom and show us how to pile stuff at the door so she doesn’t forget anything. They encourage mom to exercise and play at the park. The children think it’s important for mom’s health to play outside, but even when they can’t go outside, they help mom to find ways to have fun indoors. At bedtime, they offer extra reading material, just in case one story isn’t enough.

This fun, creative story offers colorful illustrations. Children will find new things on the pages each time they open the book. The vocabulary and sentence structure are just right for readers in kindergarten through third grade, and the story is perfect for parents and caregivers to get children thinking and laughing.

“Isadora Moon Goes to School”

by Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon Goes to School book
“Isadora Moon Goes to School” by Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is half fairy and half vampire, and her parents have decided it is time for her to go to school. Which

will it be, fairy school or vampire school? After a trial run at each type of school, Isadora isn’t sure where she fits in. Fairies can do magic with magic wands, but Isadora’s magic results in a giant carrot that threatens to take over the classroom. Fairy dance class requires a pink tutu, but Isadora loves her sparkly black tutu! Vampire school means red food. Isadora hates red food, and flying with fairy wings is a lot different than flying with vampires.

This book is sweet and a little spooky while teaching kids the value of being accepted for who you are.

 

Middle Grade

 

“Scritch Scratch”

by Lindsay Currie

“Scritch Scratch” by Lindsay Currie

Claire’s dad owns and operates a business that hosts ghost tours around Chicago. Cool, right? Claire doesn’t think so! She considers herself a scientist and does not believe the paranormal “nonsense” her father is selling. That all changes one night when Claire is forced to help with one of her father’s tours and a troubled spirit follows her home.

Claire teams up with her brother and some friends from school to figure out the ghost mystery. As the kids conduct their investigation, the book weaves in engrossing snippets of Chicago history. This thrilling blend of haunts and history is recommended for readers in grades 4 to 7.

Thirteens
“Thirteens” by Kate Alice Marshall

“Thirteens”

by Kate Alice Marshall

Eleanor has just arrived in the perfect town of Eden Eld to live with relatives after the disappearance of her mother. She created a “How to Be Normal” plan to make new friends and is eagerly awaiting her 13th birthday on Oct. 31. However, Eleanor is finding it hard to act normal when she starts seeing things like a creepy grandfather clock with 13 hours and a black dog with scary red eyes. She soon meets two students, Otto and Pip, who share her exact birthday and these spooky encounters. Local legends say that every 13th Halloween, on their shared 13th birthday, three children go missing. If that’s true, Eleanor, Otto and Pip are next to disappear.

This book has the perfect amount of creepiness and suspense and is recommended for readers in grades 4 to 7.

 

Teens

 

“Ace of Spades”

by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades
“Ace of Spades” by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Chiamaka is a wealthy queen bee who has worked hard to stay at the top of the social hierarchy at Niveus Private Academy, a prestigious private school. Devon is a scholarship student at Niveus. He is a musical prodigy with dreams of attending Juliard. Chiamaka and Devon’s lives entangle when an anonymous individual named Aces starts broadcasting their most intimate secrets to the school that sidetrack their senior year plans and threaten their futures and safety. Chiamaka and Devon seem to be the only two students targeted by Aces’ sinister actions, and they also happen to be the only two Black students in the school.

Told in alternating chapters that capture each character’s unique voice and personality, this book manages to incorporate hard-hitting themes of institutional racism, educational gatekeeping and more. Recommended for readers in grades 9 and up.

“Bites of Terror: 10 Frightfully Delicious Tales”

by Liz Reed and Jimmy Reed

Bites of Terror book
“Bites of Terror: 10 Frightfully Delicious Tales” by Liz Reed and Jimmy Reed

An anthropomorphic dessert named Cake Creeper is the host of this graphic novel anthology reminiscent of the television series “Tales from the Crypt.” This unique collection of cautionary tales stars hand-sculpted foods arranged in elaborate dioramas. Search for a criminal stealing the chocolate out of cookie bodies, meet a grieving watermelon widow attempting to bring her husband back by planting a seed and learn about the tragedy that was the “pizza party massacre.” This book is a great choice for teens with a wiry sense of humor. Recommended for readers in grades 8 and up.

 

About Conni Strittmatter

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