SUMMER SCARES 2021
In celebration of National Library Lover’s Day, the Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Booklist, is delighted to announce the third annual Summer Scares Reading List, which includes titles selected by a panel of authors and librarians and is designed to promote horror as a great reading option for all ages, during any time of the year.
Each year, three titles will be chosen in the Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade categories, and for 2021 they are:
- The Hunger by Alma Katsu [G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018]
- The Cipher by Kathe Koja [originally published 1991 by Dell but reissued Meerkat Press, 2020]
- Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, Translator Jonathan Wright [Penguin Books, 2018]
- The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline [Dancing Cat Books, 2017]
- The Diviners by Libba Bray [Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012]
- Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson [Razorbill, 2018]
- Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce [Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2015]
- Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi [Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017]
- Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson [Workman, 2015]
The goal of the Summer Scares program is to introduce horror titles to school and public library workers in order to help them start conversations with readers that will extend beyond the books from each list and promote reading for years to come. Along with the annual list of recommended titles for readers of all ages, the Summer Scares committee will also release themed lists of even more “read-alike” titles for libraries to use when suggesting books to readers this summer and all year long. And, in order to help libraries forge stronger connections between books and readers, the Summer Scares committee will be working with both the recommended list authors and horror authors from all over the country, to provide free programming to libraries. From author visits (both in person and virtual) to book discussions to horror themed events, Summer Scares is focused on connecting horror creators with libraries and readers all year long.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the 2021 Summer Scares programming will be virtual, and held in conjunction with the Horror Writers Association’s annual StokerCon event (May 20 – May 23, 2021). Authors and committee members will be participating in live and pre-recorded sessions. Authors and committee members will also be available virtually throughout the year to libraries and schools to promote the Summer Scares program and discuss the use of horror fiction as a tool to increase readership and nurture a love of reading.
The Summer Scares program committee consists of bestselling author Silvia Morena-Garcia (Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Certain Dark Things, Untamed Shore), Becky Spratford (library consultant, author of The Readers Advisory Guide to Horror, 2nd Ed.), Konrad Stump (Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County Library and creator of the library’s popular “Oh, the Horror!” series), Carolyn Ciesla (library director, academic dean, book reviewer), Julia Smith (senior editor at Booklist), Kelly Jensen (editor, Book Riot, author of [Don’t] Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health), and JG Faherty (HWA Library Program director, author of Sins of the Father, The Cure, and Ghosts of Coronado Bay).
“The Summer Scares Programming Guide is back and packed with ideas that library workers can use to engage their communities with these great titles, whether they're planning book displays, hosting author events, or planning an entire Summer Scares program series,” states Konrad Stump, co-creator of the programming guide. “It also highlights the unique circumstances of programming during a pandemic.”
The HWA is a non-profit organization of writers and publishing professionals, and the oldest organization dedicated to the horror/dark fiction genre. One of the HWA’s missions is to foster an appreciation of reading through extensive programming and partnerships with libraries, schools, and literacy-based organizations.
You can also contact JG Faherty, HWA Library Program Director (libraries [at] horror [dot] org), or Becky Spratfor HWA Secretary (bspratford [at] hotmail [dot] com) for more information, and Konrad Stump (konrads[at]thelibrary[dot]org for programming content and assistance.
All posts here on RA for All: Horror that have to do with the program will also be tagged "Summer Scares" for ease of access.
- Summer Scares 2021 Press Release
- Learn more about 2021 Summer Scares and how the program works on the Shelf Care podcast.
- Book Riot's Hey YA hosted by Summer Scares Committee Member and YA expert, Kelly Jensen did an extra credit episode all about the Summer Scares titles. Click here to listen.
- Summer Scares 2021 Programing Guide [Coming 4/15/21]
Summer Scares Committee Members:
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the bestselling author of the novels Mexican Gothic, Gods of Jade and Shadow, Certain Dark Things, and Untamed Shore, among others. She has also edited several anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu's Daughters). Gods of Jade and Shadow was the 2020 American Library Association Reading List winner in the Fantasy category, appeared on many year's best lists, and won the 2020 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Silvia is also the publisher of Innsmouth Free Press, a columnist for The Washington Post, and a book reviewer for NPR. You can follow her on Twitter at @silviamg.
Becky Spratford is a library consultant and the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, second edition, and is currently working on the third edition. She reviews horror for Booklist Magazine, is the horror columnist for Library Journal and runs the Readers’ Advisory Horror blog, RA for All: Horror. Becky is also a Library Trustee member of United for Libraries and is currently serving as Secretary for the Horror Writers’ Association.
Konrad Stump is a Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County (MO) Library, where he coordinates local history programming and works district-wide on Big Read, ASRP, and Springfield-Greene's popular “Oh, the Horror!” series, which attracts hundreds of patrons during October. He created the Donuts & Death horror book discussion group, featured in “Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists” (ALA), and co-created the Summer Scares Programming Guide. Library workers and authors who are interested in cultivating horror programming can contact Konrad at email@example.com for free assistance.
Carolyn Ciesla is a library director and academic dean at Prairie State College in the Chicago suburbs. She has worked as a teen librarian and reference librarian, and reviews horror titles for Booklist Magazine. She’s currently enjoying providing all the scary books to her teen daughter, and revisiting a few along the way.
Julia Smith joined the Books for Youth team at Booklist in 2015, where she is now a senior editor. Her life-long love of horror movies and middle-grade literature draws her to creepy children's stories and books with bone in the title. You can follow her at @JuliaKate32 on Twitter.
Kelly Jensen is a former librarian who works as an Editor for Book Riot (bookriot.com), where she runs the bi-weekly "What's Up in YA?" young adult newsletter and cohosts the popular "Hey YA" podcast about young adult literature Her books include the award-winning (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health and Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, both from Algonquin Young Readers. She's also a well-known and long-time co-blogger at Stacked (stackedbooks.org). A life-long lover of all things scary, she finds herself eager to scream about horror reads for teens with those who love good thrills and chills.