May We Suggest? This post contains recommendations from a CPL librarian. To get your own customized recommendation, just fill out the May We Suggest form — you can expect results within 10 days. All suggestions can be found on the May We Suggest blog or by liking May We Suggest on facebook.

Suggested Scary Stories by Grade Level

 

Searching for something spooky, strange, or downright scary? Try one of these titles. Some are more silly than spine-tingling, but you'll find your fill of ghosties, ghoulies, and long-legged beasties.  Grade levels are suggested, but remember that each Reader is different, and might find something interesting at another level. Under each grade is a link for even more titles.

Kindergarten

Bone dog by Eric Rohmann

Sam, very sad after his dog Ella dies, is persuaded to go out trick-or-treating and is surprised and delighted when Ella -- his very own bone dog -- comes to save him from a group of rowdy skeletons.

Leo : a ghost story by Mac Barnett
Also available in: e-book

Leo is a friendly house ghost, but when a family moves into his house and tries to get rid of him, he leaves and roams the city looking for a friend.

A little old lady who is not afraid of anything must deal with a pumpkin head, a tall black hat, and other spooky objects that follow her through the dark woods trying to scare her.

Miss Hazeltine opens her home to cats who need help learning how to be brave, and their new skills are put to use when she finds herself in a bind. This story is great for kids who might be be spooked by things others consider ordinary.

When he hears strange noises while trying to fall asleep, Jeremy goes to his parents room to sleep.

More suggestions for Kindergarten.

First Grade

When her beloved Piggy is left in the dryer in the basement, Ava knows she'll have to face the ferocious monsters lurking in the dark if she wants to rescue her favorite stuffed animal. Don't underestimate Ava just because she's "cute" and wears "adorable glasses" -- she's really a fierce monster slayer.

Creepy pair of underwear! by Aaron Reynolds

Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He's not afraid of the dark, and he's definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. 

Lenny & Lucy by Philip Christian Stead

Peter's new house is surrounded by dark woods, and he spends a long night worrying about what's out there. The next morning he gets to work, making a guardian out of blankets and cushions. Peter names his lumpy guardian Lenny and seats him at the house's wooden bridge, then makes his guardian a companion, Lucy.

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert

Mummy Cat prowls his pyramid home, longing for his beloved owner. As he roams the tomb, lavish murals above his head display scenes of the cat with his young Egyptian queen. This undead cat is just waiting for the return of his one-time Queen companion.

Zombie in love 2+1 by Kelly DiPucchio

Zombie lovebirds Mortimer and Mildred discover a baby on their doorstep. They're worried sick when the baby sleeps through the night and hardly ever cries. How will they teach him to be a proper zombie child?  Read about how Mortimer meets his true love in Zombie in Love.

More suggestions for First Grade.

Second Grade

The dangerous alphabet by Neil Gaiman

As two children and their pet gazelle sneak out of the house in search of treasure, they come across a world beneath the city that is inhabited with monsters and pirates.

Ghoulia. Book 1 by illustrator Barbara Cantini

Ghoulia lives in Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed and spends most of her time playing with Tragedy, her beloved albino greyhound. But things aren't as easy as they seem for this little zombie girl--all she wants is a real friend. Part of the Ghoulia series.

Joe's adventurous Uncle Charlie returns from an archaeological expedition and gives Joe an Egyptian amulet with the power to grant one wish to its bearer. That night, Joe wishes for a pet of his very own. He gets his wish, sort of, when he is visited by an undead hamster named Dumpling. This book is the first in the Undead Pets series.

A straw for two by Eric Sanvoisin

Bitten by an ink-drinking vampire who is allergic to blood, Odilon, the son of a bookstore owner, has become an ink-drinker himself. Now he loves using a straw to devour books, but he has no one to share his secret with. He's lonely...until a new girl, Carmilla, arrives at school. Could he make her an ink-drinker too?

The wizard comes to town by Mercer Mayer

Mrs. Beggs decides her new boarder is the cause of the strange occurrences in the boarding house and wonders how she can stop him.

More suggestions for Second Grade.

Third Grade

Dying to meet you by Kate Klise

In this story told mostly through letters, children's book author, I. B. Grumply, gets more than he bargained for when he rents a quiet place to write for the summer. The series continues in Over My Dead Body.

Ghost town by Phoebe Rivers

Twelve-year-old psychic Sara Collins' life is turned upside down when she and her father move to an old shore town in New Jersey, and Sara discovers the town has a lot of history because ghosts want to tell her all about it. Part of the Saranormal series.

Ada Goth is lonely in her father's luxurious but haunted mansion until she meets a ghostly mouse, and together they explore the forgotten passageways and make some unexpected discoveries.

It creeps! by Dotti Enderle

In volume 1 of the Ghost Detectors series, ten-year-old Malcolm and his best friend Dandy, armed with a ghost detector ordered from "Beyond Belief" magazine, make a late-night trip to a haunted house, despite the warnings of Malcolm's great-grandmother.

Recounts four fact-based tales of hauntings, including a ghost horse on the coast of Massachusetts, a haunted painting at a Virginian plantation, a skeleton in Colorado, and a ghostly sea captain in California.

More suggestions for Third Grade.

Fourth Grade

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

When little, twelve-year-old Molly arrives at Castle Hangnail to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the minions who dwell there have no choice but to give her the job and at first it seems she will be able to keep the castle open, but Molly has quite a few secrets that could cause trouble.

Bright, imaginative, eleven-year-old Pram lives with two aunts who run a retirement home, hiding the fact that she can talk with ghosts, but not the spirit of her mother.  After befriending Clarence, who also lost his mother, she decides to find her father in hopes he can answer her questions.

The last kids on Earth by Max Brallier

Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town, average thirteen year old Jack Sullivan has been living in his tree house, which he's armed to the teeth with catapults and a moat, not to mention video games and an endless supply of Oreos and Mountain Dew scavenged from abandoned stores. But Jack alone is no match for the hordes of Zombies and Winged Wretches and Vine Thingies, and especially not for the eerily intelligent monster known only as  Blarg. Continues in the Last Kids on Earth series.

Also available in: e-book

New Mexico middle-schooler Augie Hobble grapples with adolescence, paranormal mysteries, an overdue Creative Arts project, and heartbreaking loss while working at his father's theme park, Fairy Tale Place.

Sauerkraut by Kelly (Kelly Anne) Jones

To earn enough money to build his own computer, HD Schenk agrees to help clean out his uncle's basement, but when he does, he finds an old pickling crock haunted by the ghost of his great-great-grandmother, who has a plan of her own.

More suggestions for Fourth Grade.

Fifth Grade

Baba Yaga's assistant by Marika McCoola

The fearsome witch of Russian folklore mentors a brave teen who draws on her grandmother's wisdom to pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her child-eating host.

For every kid who loves a good scare, here are 20 spooky, macabre, and yet whimsical tales about the most fantastical beasts in American folklore. Originally published in 1910 by William T. Cox, these tales and now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson.

The imaginary by A. F. Harrold

Rudger, an imaginary playmate, must find his friend Amanda before he fades away to nothing, while eluding the only other person who can see him, evil Mr. Bunting, who hunts (and possibly even eats) imaginaries.  Spooky illustrations complement the story.

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Kymera, who has a raven's wings, a snake's tail, and a cat's eyes and claws, loves the father who brought her back to life after a wizard killed her, but she begins to question his motives, especially after she connects with a boy in the town from which she is rescuing sick girls.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Also available in: audiobook

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

More suggestions for Fifth Grade.

Sixth Grade

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

When Jake Limberleg brings his traveling medicine show to a small Missouri town in 1913, thirteen-year-old Natalie senses that something is wrong and, after investigating, learns that her love of automata and other machines make her the only one who can set things right.

Thirty-six eerie short tales, most of which were originally published on the blog of the same name, relate to an imaginary museum of creepy artifacts and are arranged into such thematic "drawers" as love, luck, song, and fairy tales.

Mild-mannered Jonathan York wants nothing more than an ordinary, dull life until he gets lost in a swamp and evicted from the only shelter, the Cankerbury Inn -- where the price is a story to tell -- and encounters all sorts of dangers.

The legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

A superstitious schoolmaster, in love with a wealthy farmer's daughter, has a terrifying encounter with a headless horseman.

Skeleton man by Joseph Bruchac

After her parents disappear and she is turned over to the care of a strange "great-uncle," Molly must rely on her dreams about an old Mohawk story for her safety and maybe even for her life.

More suggestions for Sixth Grade.