Back at the end of July, Flavorwire ran this useful list of 10 Dark Children's Book Every Kid Should Read; however, I would take it one step further.
As I begin my planning for Halloween and the onslaught of requests for horror books by patrons and librarians alike, I am already fielding questions about why I like horror and how I can get horror-averse librarians to understand why horror readers love to feel the terror, anxiety, and unease that these stories invoke.
Well, I think I do a pretty good job explaining it all in my book. [coupon code here on slide 2-- shameless plug I know, but it really will help you this fall] But even I, someone who has spent way too many hours thinking about the appeal of horror, was enlightened by this Flavorwire list.
Why? Well, I realized I read just about every single one of these 10 books, and many, as a child. In fact, one of the books on there, The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, was a childhood favorite and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series are among of my kids' favorites.
As I said on Twitter: Now I know why I turned out this way. “@flavorwire: 10 Dark, Creepy Children's Books Every Kid Should Read http://flvr.pl/1rjphAR ”
Yes, I had a nice foundation for my future as a horror maven.
Looking through this list makes it clear why children find these macabre tales so appealing. Reading the books here or at least paging through some of them will give you a sense of that mix of innocent and primal attraction to creepy tales. Understanding why they appeal to kids will help you to understand why some adults still enjoy the terror of horror.
So as you ramp up for Halloween and the busiest time for horror requests, start your refresher course way back at the beginning, with macabre stories for children.