by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
I spend most of my waking hours throughout most of my life—as a student, as a parent, and as Reader in Chief of Scholastic Book Clubs—thinking about how to get kids excited about reading and to see themselves as readers.
It’s either the easiest or the hardest job in the world. If you connect a kid—or an adult—to the right book, they will stay absorbed, forget about that video game, and get lost in the events of the story.
But if it’s the wrong book—or if reading is forced upon a child—it can be a lifelong turnoff. That’s something I’m always conscious of. But fortunately, I’ve found that Halloween is a great opportunity to connect kids to books they will love.
The excitement of the occasion, plus the fact that many kids love a creepy story, means kids are more eager to get absorbed in a great book. That is one of the many reasons why I love giving out books on Halloween.
And so each year on Halloween, I turn into the Book Lady of Montclair Avenue and distribute books to the trick-or-treaters who appear at my doorstep. It’s one of my favorite times of year—hundreds of kids from all over the area come by in their costumes to pick out their own brand-new book. I absolutely love seeing them start reading their books before they even make it back to the sidewalk.
Each year at Scholastic Book Clubs, we celebrate the season by featuring spooky stories to get kids excited about both reading and the upcoming holiday. This year, we’re offering three spooky, fun-to-read titles as the Books of the Week—a great pick for each grade level—to get classrooms ready to read for Halloween:
• Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
• Goosebumps Most Wanted #2: Son of Slappy by R. L. Stine
• Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell
While Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark should probably be reserved for the more hardcore—and mature—young horror enthusiasts, Creepy Carrots! is a great (and funny) picture-book introduction to more thrilling reads. And one of my personal favorite series, Goosebumps, falls somewhere in between—in that sweet spot where kids can get a scary-story rush without the nightmares.
I asked David Vozar, my friend and colleague at Scholastic Book Clubs, what he thinks is the best way to prepare to read a scary book with your child. Here’s his take on the topic:
I hope you enjoy this week’s trifecta of spooky reads for all ages. Plus check out these fun ways for your students to engage with the Books of the Week:
• Watch the Book Boys present a book trailer for Creepy Carrots!
• Try out a fun classroom activity for kids to invent their own wacky monsters and write their own scary tales in Cooked Up from a Book.
• Go Behind the Scenes of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
• And learn why one librarian said Goosebumps Most Wanted #2: Son of Slappy is a page-turner in Book Talks.
Do you like scary stories? What’s your favorite creepy title? Let me know by sending an email to JNBlog@scholastic.com!
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs