Chilling Chapters

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Chilling Chapters

Scary stories for older children

Sunny June isn't exactly the ideal setting for a scary story, but that's precisely when I like reading a good horror story. Nowhere for long shadows or weird noises to hide in the sun! No matter when you like a scare, these chapter books are some of my all time favorites.


Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Tom is the seventh son of a seventh son and as such is born with certain powers against creatures of the dark. In this first installment of a 13 book series, Tom begins his apprenticeship to the Spook who teaches him how to protect the citizens of the land against all manner of evil things including boggarts, ghosts and of course - witches.

Already read all about Tom and looking for something similar? Try Constable and Toop for another electrifying read about a boy who can see and talk to ghosts and gets called into duty when an evil being starts trapping ghosts in houses endangering everyone in London.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Zach, Poppy and Alice love making up elaborate magical stories with their toys until Zach's father decides he is too old. Soon after the girl's are haunted by the ghost of the girl who claims she is trapped in one of their dolls and needs to be returned to where she belongs. The friends set off to appease the doll in hopes that she will then leave them in peace.

If you like creepy dolls and are looking for an even scarier thrill, try Cuckoo Song by Francis Hardinge. Be warned: this book is very scary and is meant for older readers.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Follow Lucy, George and Anthony Lockwood, of Lockwood and Co, for a delightfully terrifying detective novel set in a world where only children can see and stop malevolent ghosts from hurting the adult population.

For another scary detective novel, look for Skulduggery Pleasant and join Stephanie as she teams up with a walking talking skeleton to save the world from a mysterious threat.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens or "Bod" has lived in a graveyard ever since his family was killed when he was a baby. Now he wants to explore the world outside but is forced to use his knowledge of both the graveyard and his spectral connections when an outside force threatens everyone he cares about.

If you liked Bod and are looking for another chilling tale about a plucky orphan, try The Night Gardener where two orphaned siblings travel to a haunted house in search of employment.

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Alistair's friend Fiona comes to him one day with a strange confession. She has been visiting another universe called Aquavania where there is something called the Riverman who is stealing children's souls. Alistair has to decide whether or not to believe his friend and then what to do when Fiona goes missing in this strange sinister tale.

This is truly a unique tale and definitely not for the faint of heart. I honestly cannot think of a similar title to recommend but if you want to find out what happens to Alistair next (which you absolutely will) you can find both The Whisper (book 2) and The Storyteller (book 3) at the library.