October is just about here and that means it is time to break out those frightful, ghoulish and ghastly stories. Keep the excitement alive and the spooks fresh throughout the month with our list of 31 Halloween books!
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Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi
Bella Legrossi is the messiest monster in Booville. Her neighbor, Boris Kleanitoff, is the neatest monster in Booville. Will these neighbors ever learn to be friends? A Halloween party just might do the trick!
Zombelina by Kirstyn Crow
Zombelina absolutely loves to dance, especially for her family. Her mother enrolls her in a dance class for real girls, and while her teacher thinks she is superb, the other students aren’t quite so sure about their green classmate who sometimes loses limbs. On the night of the big recital, Zombelina is overcome with stage fright. All she can do is stand there with her arms out and make a few moans. The audience begins to shout “Zombie!” and runs away, but the seats quickly fill with her family and friends and she gives her best performance ever!
*Look for Zombelina’s other stories: Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker and Zombelina School Days
Cinderella Skeleton by Robert D. San Souci
This is a ghoulish spin on the traditional Cinderella story. Cinderella Skeleton wishes to go to Prince Charnel's Halloween ball, but her wicked stepmother says the young skeleton must stay at home and work. With the help of a witch Cinderella Skeleton's dreams come true and she rests in peace forever after.
Llama Llama Trick-or-Treat by Anna Dewdney
In this short, rhyming board book, Llama Llama is preparing for Halloween by choosing a costume, carving pumpkins and getting candy ready to pass out.
By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson
By the silvery light of the Halloween moon, a young girl sits at the edge of a pier tapping out a tune with her toes. As the story progresses, all of the Halloween creatures living under the pier come out to see the ten toes tapping, “by the silvery light of the Halloween moon.”
The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry
This variation on the popular children’s song The Itsy Bitsy Spider follows a pumpkin as it rolls down a spooky street and eventually makes his way home.
Eek! Halloween! by Sandra Boynton
Eek! The chickens are nervous, strange things are happening. What could be going on? “Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”
*Also look for Boynton's Spooky Pookie: Pookie needs to decide what he is going to be for
Halloween. After trying on several costumes, he finally finds one just right for him.
Little Blue Truck’s Halloween by Alice Schertle
Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are going to a costume party and on the way they meet several of their barnyard friends all dressed up. Who could be hiding under the mask? Lift the flaps to find out which animal it is!
Monster Needs a Costume by Paul Czajak
It’s almost Halloween and Monster needs to decide what he is going to be, but there are just too many options. How will he ever deicde? With a bit of creativity, Monster dares to be different with a unique costume of his own.
Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino
"Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. The first one said, "Oh my it's getting late." The classic nursery rhyme about five little pumpkins sitting on a gate in board book format!
*If you and your little bookworm are fans of the popular Pete the Cat series, check out James
Dean's Pete the Cat: Five Little Pumpkins.
Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown
Arthur and his little sister D.W. are out trick-or-treating, when suddenly D.W. walks into the scariest house on the street. Arthur must summon his courage and go rescue his little sister before it’s too late!
Monster Mash by David Catrow
The classic Halloween song by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers in picture book form!
*Extended Activity: Listen to the original song with your little bookworm, get groovy
and dance the monster mash!
Halloween Night by Arden Druce
Find out which spooky creatures are out and about on the night of Halloween in this rhyming story.
In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting
Two pairs of sneakers, one big and one small, are walking through an old, haunted house where they see all sorts of spooky sights. A newer edition of the book has lift-the-flap elements that the scary spooks are hiding behind.
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex
For those who adore Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, this will surely become a Halloween favorite as it has the same tone and rhythm as the original.
Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat by Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown does not like Halloween, but that doesn’t stop the animals from having a big Halloween party in the barn and enjoying treats…and tricks!
Froggy’s Halloween by Jonathan London
As with Pookie and Monster, Froggy has to decide what he is going to be for Halloween. After going through several options, Froggy finally decides on the perfect costume for him. But is it really as perfect as he thinks or is it going to lead to his scariest Halloween ever?
The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich
"On the first night of Halloween my mummy gave to me: a bright shiny skeleton key." A Halloween twist is given to the well-known 12 Days of Christmas holiday carol.
The Thirteen Days of Halloween by Carol Greene
"On the first day of Halloween my good friend gave to me: a vulture in a dead tree." Another example of a ghoulish rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas.
10 Trick-or-Treaters: A Halloween Counting Book by Janet Schulman
This is a Halloween twist on the well-known rhyme that ends “And then there were none.” Ten trick-or-treaters go out, but as the story progresses each one is frightened off until there are none left.
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots and the carrots that grow in Crackenhopper Field are the best! He stops for a snack on his way to school, going to little league and on his way home. Then one day the carrots start following him home…or are they?
*Extended Activity: Cut out carrots from orange construction paper and decorate them with
whatever art/craft supplies you have on hand. Also, look for Jasper Rabbit's latest story:
Creepy Pair of Underwear.
Happy Halloween, Little Critter! By Mercer Mayer
Little Critter and Little Sister are going to a costume party. Lift the flaps to reveal the monsters, mummies and skeletons they meet lurking in the house.
Ten Creepy Monsters Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
This is another version of the “and then there were none” countdown rhyme. Ten creepy monsters gather on Halloween night, but one by one they slowly disappear. Who will be left?
Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pie by Mark Kimball Moulton
Although she lives in an old, rundown house and may seem like a scary witch, Miss Fiona is actually a kind old woman who makes her secret recipe pumpkin pie for all of the trick-or-treaters every Halloween.
A Halloween Scare in Michigan by Eric James
It’s Halloween night in Michigan and there’s a large assortment of ghastly creatures gathering outside the door. What do they want? Are they looking for you??
*Note: This is the title specific to Michigan, but Eric James has versions available for
just about every state!
The Spooky Express Michigan: A Halloween Thrill Ride by Eric James
What happens aboard the Spooky Express as it travels all around Michigan on Halloween night? Are there spooky creatures on board?
*As with Eric James’s other books, this is the title specific to Michigan, but there are
others for each state.
AlphaOops!: H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis
A is not quite ready to take the stage and Halloween starts with H anyway, so it only makes sense that H goes first, right? All of the letters make their out-of-order appearance dressed up as the Halloween thing they represent (Z is for Zombie, P is for Pirate, etc).
*Extended Activity: This story is perfect to use for a readers theatre performance! Also,
look for the original story AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First.
The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton
Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, is bored of the same old scares, terror and frights and longs to be more than “something that goes bump in the night.” He decides to kidnap Santa Claus and deliver his own Christmas joy, but things do not go according to plan.
*Extended Activity: After reading the book, watch the movie! Were there any major
Shivery Shades of Halloween: A Spooky Book of Colors by Mary McKenna Siddals
What color is Halloween? Is it green as an “eerie glow, evil grin, vile brew, clammy skin”? Or is it white as “cobwebs clinging, a misty trail, a skull, a spook, a face gone pale . . .”? The answer is yes! Yes to both and so many more!
The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing
It is the night before Halloween and all of the monsters are getting ready for “the trick-or-treaters who soon would be there.” This story follows the same rhyme as Clement C. Moore’s classic A Visit from St. Nicholas (The Night Before Christmas).
Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray
This is another adaptation of A Visit from St. Nicholas, but this time it is now Halloween night and all of the creatures are stirring, including the mouse, and are preparing for a night of scaring!
Do you and your little bookworm have a favorite Halloween story not listed here? Share it with us in the comments below!
It's Banned Books Week, the annual week-long celebration of everyone's right to read whatever they choose! In this age of free flowing information it comes as a surprise to many that books are often challenged and/or banned in libraries and schools across the country. What is even more surprising are the titles that are targeted, such as Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
Why are books challenged and/or banned?
What is the difference between a challenge and a ban?
Below is a short list of some of most frequently challenged children's books and the reasons they have been challenged and/or banned:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Challenged because of a cigarette and ashtray present in the illustrations. Later editions of the book
have been digitally altered to remove those elements.
Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle
Contains nude illustration of a man and woman based on Adam and Eve.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Challenged because of inappropriate language, magical elements, references to drugs
and alcohol and it encourages disobedience.
In the Night Kitchen and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The latter has been challenged for containing supernatural elements, witchcraft and showing a child
yelling at his mother, which was believed to promote disobedience. In the Night Kitchen has been
objected to because the main character, Mickey, is pictured nude.
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Challenged for encouraging children to use violence against their fathers.
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Banned and challenged because of concerns that the poems promote/glorify violence,
disobedience, Satan, cannibalism and suicide.
It’s A Book by Lane Smith
Banned in two Massachusetts school districts for the use of the word “jackass” in reference to the
donkey character at the end of the story.
Help fight censorship and preserve intellectual freedom by reading challenged/banned books and having meaningful discussions with your children about their rights and respecting the rights of others.
Words have power!
**All images are courtesy of the American Library Association**
Summer may be hanging on and holding the cooler weather at bay, but, believe it or not, it is now officially autumn! Oh how we at BTBL cannot wait for those crisp days of fall filled with cider mills, pumpkins, changing leaves and the most perfect cuddle and reading weather! To help get you and your little one excited for the fall/autumn season we have put together a list of our favorite fall themed books!
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
Change is not easy. Facing the unknown is even harder and this is especially true for children. A lone little yellow leaf just isn’t quite ready to let go of the branch on the giant oak tree as the other leaves have done. As autumn begins to turn to winter, he notices a flash of scarlet on a higher branch. The scarlet leaf invites the little yellow leaf to finally let go and with the gentle encouragement of his new friend, yellow leaf finally does.
Little Tree by Loren Long
Very similar to The Little Yellow Leaf, the little tree in this story is not ready to drop all of his leaves as the other trees have done when autumn comes. Year after year the little tree hangs on to his leaves, despite the encouragement of friendly forest creatures. As time goes on and all of the trees around him have grown strong and tall, the little tree realizes he must make a difficult decision. This is a powerful story about growing up and accepting the changes that life will inevitably bring.
Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley
This humorous story of a tree trying to change its colors in the fall will have the whole family giggling. Continuing with the difficulties of change theme, the tree in this story complains that all of the other seasons are easy, but fall presents a challenge as the tree goes through many different looks: a rainbow, a yellow smiley face, a hamburger and more! A truly fun read aloud!
*Extended activity: Print off coloring pages of trees and make your own
silly designs as seen in the story!
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Made of fallen leaves and with acorns for eyes, the Leaf Man flutters on the breeze in directions untold, to locations unknown, but one thing is for certain, “a Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows.”
*Extended activity: Collect leaves, acorns, twigs and other natural
materials and make your own Leaf Man. Glue him to a piece of
paper and hang him up for all to see!
Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow
Take a walk through the pages of this book and on the way learn to identify 24 different leaves by their unique shape and fall color. Then at the end of the rhythmic, rhyming story learn how to press your own leaves and even make a leaf rubbing. Get out there and start collecting!
Now It’s Fall by Lois Lenski
This timeless classic, originally published in 1948, perfectly captures all of the delights of autumn: going back to school (perhaps not exactly a delight of the season to all), the changing and falling leaves, and ripe apples and pumpkins. Rhyming text and enchanting illustrations make this a true gem that all children can relate to.
In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes
Rhythmic, lyrical text and vibrant, bold illustrations expertly complement each other in this companion to When Spring Comes. None of the natural wonders of fall are overlooked; rather they are all brought to vivid life.
Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall by Anne Sibley O’Brien
“Leaves on trees/are green and bright/Abracadabra!/What a Sight”! Children will love becoming active participants in this simple, yet engaging story as they shout out the magic words that reveal different, captivating fall scenes, such as heading off to school, geese flying south, and pumpkins becoming jack-o-lanterns.
Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka
Everything in this story is just as the title says: mixed up! If you are looking for a hilarious, engaging, rhyming picture book with striking, colorful illustrations, this story right here is it. It is sure to be a smash hit with your little one as they hear about all of the familiar fall things just with a slight twist, such as bears up in trees collecting nuts and squirrels flying south.
From Apple Trees to Cider Please by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
Beginning with a mother and daughter out picking apples, going through pressing the apples to make cider and finishing up with an apple festival at the cider mill, this story presents a realistic account of the entire cider making process through rhyming text and colorful, detailed illustrations.
This is just a sampling of all of the great autumn/fall picture books on the market. Do you have a favorite fall themed picture book that isn't listed here? Please share with us in the comments below!
Happy reading and happy fall!
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.