As a school librarian I find that students love reading “scary” books. While these books start out as fun Halloween picture books, as students move to the upper elementary grades they are truly looking for a good horror novel. But what is out there in terms of “horror” for an elementary student? Are there really horror genre books that are appropriate for fourth- and fifth-graders? Indeed, there are horror books geared toward younger readers. If your upper elementary child is looking for some good “scary books” try these librarian recommendations for horror books for elementary-age kids.
R.L. Stine. Author R.L. Stine is best known for his popular Goosebumps series of books and could be considered the Steven King of children’s literature. He also writes books outside of the series but is almost exclusively a horror writer for young readers. Goosebumps and other R.L. Stine titles are indeed chilling, creepy, and even a wee bit gory, but they remain appropriate for upper elementary-age kids. The mysterious tales of R.L. Stine books are just enough to give your young reader a chill, without producing endless nightmares. These books are popular and numerous and are a great starting point for any child looking for a “scary book.”
Library of Doom Series by Michael Dahl. These books by prolific author Michael Dahl look a lot scarier than they are. Your young reader, however, will love the creepy book cover and will be ready to tackle these horror books for kids right away. The Library of Doom series puts the local librarian as the hero where he must escape being buried alive, defeat an evil living book, and retrieve a collection of stolen deadly books, just to name a few adventures. These books are not gory and could even be classified as mysteries. Younger kids and lower level readers will enjoy these horror books for kids since they are short and mostly written on a second grade level.
Shade Books from Stone Arch. Stone Arch, a division of Capstone Publishing, produces a great group of horror books appropriate for upper elementary students. Titles such as Carnival of Horrors, The Curse of Raven Lake, and The Haunted Playground will intrigue readers looking for a good scare. The content of the books is indeed a bit thrilling, but not too scary for mature elementary readers. The reading level of Shade Books is second to third grade but readers in fifth grade are the most appropriate age group for these chillers. Designed just for younger horror readers, Shade Books are a great option if you are looking for an appropriate scary read.
If you have an upper elementary-age child that is looking for some thrills and chills from the library, look no further than these selections. Scary enough to fit the bill, but tame enough to be appropriate, these horror genre books for upper elementary students will have your kids excited to read more and more.