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.


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.

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. 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.

Also available in: e-audiobook

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.

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.

Lenny & Lucy by Philip Christian Stead

A picture book about moving to a new house next to a deep, dark wood, and making new friends who will help keep the dark in its place.

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.

When Henrietta's mother gives her a box of colored pencils, she sets out to draw a terrifying and fantastic adventure.

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

A dog's breakfast by Annie Graves
Also available in: e-book

Glen never has anything nice to say to anyone, so when he gets lost in the woods during a school field trip and encounters a strange creature, there is bound to be trouble. Further adventures can be found in The Nightmare Club series.

The first in the Undead Pets series.

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.

The ink drinker by Eric Sanvoisin

A boy who hates books discovers an ink-drinking vampire in his father's bookshop and follows him to his underground vault. More titles can be found by doing an Author search for Eric Sanvoisin.

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

My haunted house by Angie Sage
Also available in: audiobook

Araminta enlists the help of several ghosts in an attempt to stop her Aunt Tabby from selling Spook House. Find more in the Araminta Spookie series.

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.

Grimericks by Susan Pearson
It creeps! by Dotti Enderle

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. Volume 1 in the Ghost Detectors series.

Twelve minutes to midnight by Christopher Edge

Thirteen-year-old Penelope, the secret author of macabre tales in "The Penny Dreadful," Victorian London's bestselling magazine, investigates the mystery of a strange phenomenon occurring in the local insane asylum.

More suggestions for Third Grade.

Fourth Grade

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--and after befriending Clarence, who also lost his mother, she decides to find her father in hopes he can answer her questions.

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.

Sally's bones by MacKenzie Cadenhead

Middle-schooler Sally Simplesmith must solve the mystery of the missing dog bones to save her skeleton dog from puppy prison.

The boggart by Susan Cooper

After visiting the castle in Scotland which her family has inherited and returning home to Canada, twelve-year-old Emily finds that she has accidentally brought back with her a boggart, an invisible and mischievous spirit with a fondness for practical jokes.

The luck uglies by Paul Durham
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

Eleven-year-old Rye O'Chanter and her two friends delve into the secret lore of their village when mysterious creatures of legend reappear on the night of the Black Moon, leading them to the notorious secret society, the Luck Uglies.

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 and now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, it speaks to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery.

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 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. The illustrations are particularly spooky.

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

Fat & Bones by Larissa Theule

When a farmer dies, the decades-old feud between his son, Bones, and Fat, a fairy who lives in a tree on the farm, escalates, with surprising consequences for Bones' mother and the farm animals.

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 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.

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.

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.

More suggestions for Sixth Grade.

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