March 14 is Save a Spider Day, and while these eight-legged critters may give you the shivers, they fulfill an important role in nature, preying on annoying and sometimes destructive insects like flies, mosquitos, and earwigs. A lot of people dislike spiders due to a fear of being bitten, but paranoia about spider bites is unfounded. According to the Entomological Society of America, many “spider bites” actually result from other causes. Sure, you wouldn’t want to get bit by a black widow, but even then, less than 1% of their bites are lethal.
Spiders—classified as arachnids, not insects—offer great examples of diversity and adaptability in the animal world, appearing in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and living in webs, in the ground, and even in the water. Spiders have also provided inspiration for myths, folktales, mainstream fiction, and film. Cast your eyes—two if you’re human, eight if you’re a spider—on the following list of library items, some that will inform you if you’re curious to learn more, and some that will entertain you if you enjoy an author spinning a tale.
And the next time you see a spider, maybe skip the stomp in favor of scooping it up and setting it outside or in a corner of your basement where it can catch bugs. Save a spider today and every day.
Spiders by John Wood – This book discusses spiders and the impact they have on the world, including how our world would change if there were no spiders. Also included are chapters about jobs that would be lost, threats to spiders, and how to save spiders.
Fishing Spiders: Water Ninjas by Sandra Markle – This introduction to fishing spiders features photographs, diagrams, and a hands-on activity. This volume is part of the Arachnid World series that features other species of spiders.
Jumping Spiders by Claire Archer – Learn about an unusual subset of the spider family with the ability to make lengthy jumps despite lacking the large legs of other jumping arthropods, like grasshoppers. This book covers jumping spiders’ physical characteristics, habitats, diet, and behaviors.
Camel Spiders by Nikki Bruno Clapper – Growing up to six inches, the camel spider is a big creepy crawler. Big, up-close photos, body diagrams, and fun, informative text in this book show how every feature helps these creatures survive.
Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks – A clever spider is lonely and longs to become a family pet, with some resistance from the family in question, in this amusing picture book.
I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton – This humorous nonfiction picture book introduces fascinating facts about spiders and will make you realize how amazing they are— when you aren’t laughing over the parts about squishing spiders or pepperoni in spider webs.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White – This classic story introduces a little girl named Fern, a pig named Wilbur, and Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte, a large grey spider who lives with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of some friendly farm animals, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur, who is “Some Pig.”
The Black Widow Spider Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner – In this book in the Boxcar Children series, new neighbors are moving in down the street and the Aldens can't wait to meet them. But do the neighbors want to meet the Aldens? They've built a high wall around their property and stay inside where no one can see them. Even creepier are the huge black spiders on their front gate. Are they trying to hide something?
Sinister Spiders of Saginaw by Jonathan Rand – In this volume of the Michigan Chillers series, Leah, Conner, and Angela must stop giant spiders from taking over the city of Saginaw.
Anansi and the Talking Melon by Eric Kimmel – In this children’s adaptation of an African folktale, Anansi the spider tricks several animals into thinking the melon in which he is hiding can talk.
Arachne Speaks by Kate Hovey – Revisit the myth of Arachne in poetic form. Arachne was a girl who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. Where does a spider fit in? You’ll find out when the contest is over.
Little Miss Spider at Sunny Patch School by David Kirk – On her first day at school, Little Miss Spider worries that she cannot do what the others can, but learns that she has a special quality in this enchanting picture book.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani – The itsy-bitsy spider encounters a fan, a mouse, a cat, and a rocking chair as she makes her way to the top of a tree to spin her web. This Storytime Kit includes additional materials that complement the included book.
If you are looking for something with a little more bite, look no further as we have curated a few titles for older folks to enjoy.
Spider-Verse – In this graphic novel for older readers, the evil Morlun and his vampiric family of Inheritors are rampaging across the multiverse, feeding on the life forces of arachnid-powered superhumans. To have any hope of survival, numerous versions of Spider-Man from multiple worlds will have to unite for the most incredible team up of all.
Spider-Woman Vol. 2: New Duds by Dennis Hopeless – Jessica Drew, Marvel Comics’ original Spider-Woman, changes up her costume and decides to get back to street-level crime-fighting, teaming up with reporter Ben Urich.
Arachnophobia – Do you just want to indulge your squeamishness about spiders? Catch Jeff Daniels as a doctor and John Goodman as an exterminator who go toe to tarsus with a spider invasion in a small town.
101 Amazing Facts about Spiders and Other Arachnids by Jack Goldstein – Do you know the difference between a spiderweb and a cobweb? What are the two sections of a spider's body called? Which spider holds the record for the largest leg span? All of these questions and more are answered in this fascinating tome for adults containing over one hundred facts, separated into sections for easy reference.
Spiders of the World by Rod and Ken Preston-Mafham – In this fact-packed adult introduction to the world of spiders, learn about their physical bodies, internal structures, behaviors, mating and maternal habits, how they are classified, and more.