Books that Go Bump in the Night

The air is getting crisp, leaves crunch underfoot, and a sense of spookiness can be felt all around. It’s the time of year again when witches cackle and werewolves howl, and we crawl under the covers with a flashlight and a book, hoping that the scratching at the window is just a tree branch. If you’re ready for a frighteningly good read, sink your claws into one of these great titles.

If you’re interested in finding more books that will give you the shivers, search the catalog using subject terms such as “juvenile fiction” for fiction books, “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books, and an additional term such as “Halloween,” “ghost stories,” or your favorite scary monster.

Becker, Bonny
The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael. 2018 (Picture Book).
Little Michael McMichael is on a trip to deliver something to his beloved grandmother. But as soon as he steps on the Thirteen bus, something feels very off. The creepy driver only gets creepier, and the bus only gets more abnormal as the other passengers disembark! With eerily silly illustrations by Mark Fearing, the twist ending will leave you gasping!
[S-Collection Q. SE. B388fr]

Becker, Helaine
Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World? 2016 (Nonfiction).
Think you know all there is to know about monsters? Think again! This fun, engaging book delves into the real-life science behind the creatures we all know and love. Discover the history of sea monsters. Learn if electricity really could make human organs function after death. Complete with jokes, trivia, and a whole lot of science, this is one you won’t want to miss.
[S-Collection S.001.944 B38845m]

Brendler, Carol
Not Very Scary. 2014 (Picture Book).
Melly the monster does not scare easily. In fact, she doesn’t get scared at all! So when she sets out to her cousin’s house for a big surprise, it doesn’t frighten her one bit when more and more creepy creatures start to follow her on her way. Or does it…?
[S-Collection Q. SE. B7504n]

Caswell, Deanna
Boo! Haiku. 2016 (Juvenile Poetry).
Colorful pictures and creative poetic riddles will keep little ones guessing about which spooky character will appear on the next page. Each hint is told in the form of a haiku, a traditional Japanese style of poetry that includes 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the third. This is a real page turner because you never know who you’ll find next!
[S-Collection SE. C2799bo]

Cuyler, Margery
Skeleton Hiccups. 2002 (Picture Book).
Is there anything scarier than hiccups you can’t get rid of? Poor Skeleton is afflicted, and despite his best efforts, they won’t go away! Will they ever leave his rattling bones in peace? Clever illustrations by S. D. Schindler make this a classic you’ll return to year after year.
[S-Collection SE. C99sk]

Fleming, Candace
On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave. 2012 (Young Adult Fiction).
Set in an actual (and allegedly haunted) cemetery outside of Chicago, this distinctly Illinoisan set of ghost stories follows the tales of several teen spirits recounting how they died, all involving the supernatural. Each ghost belongs to a different era in history from 1860 to the present, and together they paint a marvelous picture of some of the most exciting events in Illinois history.
[S-Collection S. F629o]

Howard, Martin
How to Slay a Werewolf. 2014 (Nonfiction).
Plagued by a lycanthrope? No problem! In this hilarious guide to werewolves, Professor Van Helsing teaches you all the tips and tricks you’ll need to rid yourself of that bothersome beast once and for all. Complete with a history of werewolves, this is your one stop shop for all things lupine.
[S-Collection S.398.2454 H835h]

Monahan, Hillary
Mary: The Summoning. 2014 (Young Adult Fiction).
Four teen girls link hands to summon the spirit of Bloody Mary. But when one of the girls takes it too far, Mary is released from her mirror and seeks revenge. Friendships are challenged and lives are changed as the girls struggle to escape Mary’s grasp. Easily the scariest book on this list, it is not for the faint of heart.
[S-Collection S. M7412m]

Sloat, Teri
Zip! Zoom! On a Broom! 2017 (Picture Book).
One by one, ten witches jump on a broom, and one by one, they drop off again! Illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet, this rhyming story all about counting up and down makes for a great read-aloud with a witchy theme.
[S-Collection Q. SE. Sl52z]

Tan, Shaun
The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimms’ Fairy Tales. 2016 (Young Adult Fiction).
Explore Grimms’ fairy tales as you’ve never seen them before. Eerie sculptures by visionary artist Shaun Tan accompany snippets of 75 tales, leaving you with a strong sense of foreboding. Complete with an introduction by Neil Gaiman, fans of fairy tales and folklore won’t want to miss this one.
[S-Collection S.398.210943 T1535si]


Magic and Math: Schools for Sorcerers

These fantasies are about magical schools, where the everyday becomes fantastic. Many of these fantasies pre-date the wildly popular Harry Potter series, but all contain similar elements, including magical teachers, and magic as part of the curriculum. Some of these stories portray schools in a magical world, where students must deal with magic as well as normal school issues such as bullying or self-esteem.

To find more books like the titles below, begin with a subject search of “schools — juvenile fiction” and a keyword search of “magic.”

Alexander, Alma.
Gift of the Unmage. 2007.
As the seventh child born of the union of two seventh children, fourteen-year-old Thea has not fulfilled her parents’ hope of having special magical powers, and they try a last, desperate measure before sending her to a school for those with no magical ability. However, the students can’ escape magic, and it finds its way into the Wandless Academy. Begins the Worldweavers series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Al262g]

Chainani, Soman.
The School for Good and Evil. 2013.
With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile, her best friend Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. When the girls’ fortunes are reversed and Sophie is at the School for Evil and Agatha at the School for Good, the girls are convinced that a mistake has been made, but in trying to remedy it they learn more about themselves and fairy tale conventions than they bargained for.
[SSHEL S Collection S. C3491s]

Duey, Kathleen.
Skin Hunger. 2007.
In alternate chapters, Sadima travels from her farm home to the city and becomes assistant to a heartless man who is trying to restore knowledge of magic to the world, and a group of boys fights to survive in the academy that has resulted from his efforts. A sequel, Sacred Scars, was published in 2009.
[SSHEL S Collection S. D869sk]

Horowitz, Anthony.
Groosham Grange. 2008.
After being expelled from school, thirteen-year-old David Eliot is sent to Groosham Grange, a spooky and sinister boarding school where ghosts and ghouls rule the school and the students study witchcraft. Originally published in 1988 it is followed by Returned to Groosham Grange: The Unholy Grail.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H785g]

Jones, Diana Wynne.
The Lives of Christopher Chant. 1988.
Chronologically, this is the first Chrestomanci story. Chrestomancis are nine-lived wizards, each of whom live at Chrestomanci Castle. Their children are joined by other magically-talented children to form a kind of boarding school where the students learn about themselves and their powers. Some members of the school venture to other worlds or the current Chrestomanci travels to other worlds to deal with problems.
[SSHEL S Collection S. J713L]

Jones, Diana Wynne.
Year of the Griffin. 2000.
This is the sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm. In this tale, younger siblings and new characters come together at the University to study magic and encounter all kinds of trouble and adventure.
[SSHEL S Collection S. J713y]

Lackey, Mercedes and Rosemary Edghill.
Legacies. 2010.
After her family is killed, Spirit White is taken to Oakhurst Academy, a combination orphanage and school for those with magical powers, where she and her new friends investigate when students start mysteriously disappearing. Sequels Conspiracies, Sacrifices, and Victories continue the Shadow Grail series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. L118le]

Laybourn, Emma.
Missing Magic. 2007.
Thanks to his influential uncle Kelver, Ned’s gotten into an elite new school. But there’s a problem — everyone there can do magic. And Ned? Not a lick. Amid whispers of the terrifying Necromancers, Ned struggles to adjust to his new situation. Then, just as he’s getting accustomed to having his hair turned into snakes and his books into bricks, the Necromancers strike! Ned and his classmates are kidnapped. But without magic, how can he possibly help them escape?
[SSHEL S Collection S. L451m]

Lidell, Alex.
The Cadet of Tildor. 2013.
At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers, but when her mentor is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and best friend Alec struggle to do what is right in a world of crime and political intrigue.
[SSHEL S Collection S.L6196c]

Murphy, Jill.
The Worst Witch. 1981.
It’s Mildred’s first year at Miss Cackle’s Academy for witches; but already she knows she’s the worst at everything. When she makes a particularly disastrous mistake, Mildred decides to run away. On her way she makes a shocking discovery and must overcome her problems to save the school. The Worst Witch returns in several sequels.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M954W]

Neff, Henry.
The Hound of Rowan. 2007.
After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in “mystics and combat” in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him. Begins the Tapestry series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. N298h]

Nimmo, Jenny.
Midnight for Charlie Bone. 2002.
Charlie is reasonably happy, living with his impoverished mother and paternal grandmother. But when his father’s strange family observes his uncanny talent, he is sent to a strange school with a sinister headmaster. Soon Charlie and his new friends become part of an ancient battle that continues in the other books in the Children of the Red King series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. N617m]

Pierce, Tamora.
Alanna: The First Adventure. 1983.
Alanna’s dream is to be a knight; so she takes her brother’s place and travels to the palace of Tortall as a page. But she must learn to accept herself and her magic before she can defeat her enemies and become a lady knight. Alanna continues her journey in the Song of the Lioness series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P611A]

Pierce, Tamora.
First Test. 1999.
Keladry of Mindelan is determined to be a lady knight, like her heroine Sir Alanna. She must prove herself to the other boys and her instructors as well as overcoming physical and magical challenges before she can become a page. Read more about Keladry in the Protector of the Small series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P611f]

Pierce, Tamora.
Sandry’s Book. 1997.
Four children, outcast and misfit among their families and peoples, are brought to Winding Circle to learn a new way of life and discover their hidden talents. Tris, Daja, and Briar’s books follow in the Circle of Magic series.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P611sa]

Rowling, J. K.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 1998.
Harry Potter has a miserable life with his relatives until magical things begin to happen and he finds himself at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. In his first year, he makes new friends and enemies and faces a terrifying challenge. Harry Potter continues his studies and faces greater evils in six sequels.
[SSHEL S Collection S. R797h]

Sherman, Delia.
The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. 2009
In New York Between, a parallel Manhattan that is home to various creatures of folklore, Neef meets her counterparts at Miss Van Loon’s school for human changelings, where Neef learns the basics of diplomacy and soon gets into trouble.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Sh553m]

Stevermer, Caroline.
A College of Magics. 2002.
Teenager Faris Nallaneen, heir to the small northern dukedom of Galazon, is still too young to claim her title, so her despotic Uncle Brinker insists she be sent to Greenlaw College, where all students major in magic. Sequel A Scholar of Magics continues the tale.
[SSHEL S Collection S. St488c]

Yolen, Jane.
Wizard’s Hall. 1991.
Poor Henry. It’s not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic. It’s not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he’s “prickly on the outside, squishy within.” It’s not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard”s Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells. Now, when Wizard’s Hall is threatened by a cruel sorcerer’s fearsome beast, it is up to Henry — er, Thornmallow — to figure out how to save not only his new friends but also the entire school for wizards.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Y78W]