Set in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon is a horror story. Along with the Fantastic Four, readers will drown in a sea of scary. If you don’t believe monsters are real, wait until you experience the creepy encounters of Hermon’s characters! Since his mother died, Justin Vaughn believes that everybody leaves, nothing stays the same, and nothing fits anymore. One of his best friends, Zee Murphy is back after a long absence, but he has been changed by the trauma of his experience while lost. Now, along with two other friends—Lyric Rivers, who is loyal and believes that friends help and don’tRead More →

Like nightmares, scary stories are a sort of dress rehearsal for real-life fear, helping children learn to cope with the emotion in a low-stakes setting.  After all, the world can be a scary place where children will encounter frightful situations—such as getting lost, losing friends, being less loved than a sibling, or experiencing abandonment as a result of parental death or divorce.  Therefore, knowing how to confront fear can benefit children and help them cope with difficulty. Scary stories like Dan Poblocki’s Ghost Hunter’s Daughter, targeted for middle grade readers in the eight to twelve year old age group, not only help children forge resilience but give them a senseRead More →

In a word, Tim Tingle’s recent book, Doc and the Detective in Graveyard Treasure is a FUN book!  It features Timmy, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who is a twelve-year-old detective.  Made for action, Timmy finds waiting the most difficult part of detective work.  Tingle’s fast-paced writing style propels the reader into the midst of Detective Timmy’s life as he learns that sometimes bad ideas lead to good information and as he struggles to find proof for his hunches and suppositions. When a group of thieves start to prey on the elderly and Timmy’s friend, Dr. Moore gets targeted, Timmy can’t sitRead More →

In Small Spaces, the prequel to Katherine Arden’s newest book Dead Voices, Coco Zintner, Olivia Adler, and Brian Battersby were alone, lost, and running from Seth, also known as the smiling man, and from living scarecrows who hunted in a dark corn maze and who tried to drag them off and turn them into scarecrows, too, Good at playing chess and making plans, Coco is a careful and nervous girl.    Ollie, Coco’s best friend who lost her mother in an airplane accident, excels at math and wishes to be as fierce, reckless and brilliant as her mother the math professor and adventurer had been—“always laughing,Read More →

All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker tells the colorful story of Olympia, a twelve-year-old artist who is named after a painting by French painter Manet.  Olympia’s (aka Ollie) dad Graham is an art restorer and her mom Doll is a sculptor.  The family lives in the Soho neighborhood in Manhattan, New York. Ollie’s best friends are Alex, an agile young man who Spiderman’s his way up a wall and who practices jumps like a stuntman in training; and Richard, a monster aficionado fascinated by science who is developing a scrapbook that he calls the Taxonomy.  Using her sketching talent, Ollie will occasionallyRead More →

Sasquatch are real. So are mermaids and chupacabras. And the Unicorn Rescue Society has taken it upon itself to rescue any of these mythical endangered creatures that need help. Which is why Elliot and Uchenna, elementary-age members of the Unicorn Rescue Society, are on their way to the state of Washington, where the Sasquatch are in trouble. An evil corporation is after the trees in their habitat, and after them, too! Can Elliot and Uchenna stop to the Schmokes Brothers before it’s too late? This humorous and heartwarming story is full of facts about many creatures, both fictional and real; disguises; complicated vehicles; beautiful trees;Read More →

Duncan and his assistant Emma – or Emma and her co-magician Duncan, depending on which you ask – are preparing to wow their classmates with their magic routine at the  school talent show. Then Duncan accidentally acquires a wand that can do…real magic! Now the local witch is after him to get it back, and she may not be the only person they need to worry about. This book alternates perspectives between Duncan and Emma in a cute if confusing way. It’s fun to realize that one or both of them is an unreliable narrator, but can be hard to remember which narrator you’re readingRead More →

Although R.L. Stine’s edited collection of spooky stories for middle-grade readers from American mystery writers, Scream and Scream Again! aren’t exactly horror stories by definition, mystery and imagination play heavily in them as the authors spin the element of fear into every day, ordinary things. In his introduction, Stine promises twenty different stories by twenty different authors, all beginning or ending with a scream and all waiting to give readers the “shivers and shakes.”   Some of the screams come from giddy, gleeful moments like roller-coaster rides while others result from shock at dealing with a morbid or utterly uncanny situation like encountering a zombie orRead More →

Middle-grade readers looking for an adventure story with a dash of history and a little mystery will likely enjoy A.M. Morgen’s new book The Inventors at No. 8. Set in 1828 London, Morgen’s historical fiction novel takes the reader on a treasure hunt with George, the Third Lord of Devonshire who is weighted by fear and self-doubt but has a stubborn streak; Ada Byron, a sharp, funny, and rarely humble girl who always has a plan swirling in her scientific mind; Oscar, a gifted artist who knows colors and the minerals that produce them; and Ruthie, an orangutan who has learned semaphore and can readRead More →