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Things That Go Bump in the Night

50 Mighty Girl Stories of Ghosts, Witches, and Monsters

Our favorite fun and spooky Mighty Girl stories to bewitch kids of all ages this Halloween!

Halloween is coming fast, and most kids’ eyes gleam at the thought: the costumes, the candy, the fun, and, of course, the chance to enjoy some spooky and fun stories! So that you can stock your bookshelf with some great Mighty Girl books to enjoy this Halloween, we’ve highlighted all of our seasonal favorites in a new blog post. There's a spooky (or not-so-spooky) story for every young Halloween lover in our collection!

To discover even more girl-empowering Halloween tales, as well as films for a Halloween movie night, check out our special feature on the Top Halloween Mighty Girl Books and Films. Witch lovers can also find more Mighty Girl books about witches in our blog post, With Broomstick in Hand: Books Starring Mighty Girl Witches.

And, for dress up fun this Halloween, you can find hundreds of girl-empowering costumes for all ages in A Mighty Girl's Girl Empowerment Halloween Costume Guide.

Halloween books Starring Mighty Girls

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?

Written by: Karen Katz
Illustrated by: Karen Katz
Recommended Age: 0 - 3

For really little Mighty Girls, this charming flap book is a great introduction to Halloween mystery. A costumed toddler is hunting for her pumpkin, but under the flaps she finds everything from ghosts to bats to a witch’s hat. Finally, after the pumpkin is found, the final flap reveals a Halloween party to remember! This book is a great way to introduce the fun of Halloween to even the littlest child.

Whoosh! Went The Broom

Whoosh! Went The Broom

Written by: Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by: Axel Scheffler
Recommended Age: 1 - 3

The friendly witch from Room on the Broom makes a fun appearance in this book for toddlers and young preschoolers! The witch and the cat (and her very tall hat) are flying over the treetops. Press the interactive button to make a "whoosh" sound as the broom goes by! With sturdy board book pages and simplified text, it's perfect to introduce the littlest Mighty Girls to this beloved character. Fans of this witchy character will also love this plush witch which is suitable for ages 2 and up.

The Littlest Mummy
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The Littlest Mummy
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Written by: Brandi Dougherty
Illustrated by: Michelle Todd
Recommended Age: 3 - 5

Mae the mummy is super excited to dance with her family at the Spooky Woods' Halloween party... but she just can't seem to pull off her family's spooky dance routine, no matter how hard she tries. Even when she groans her loudest, it sounds like a whisper, and she just can't get her shuffles right. For a while she's sure she is just too little — until she meets a friend who's been feeling the same way, and together, they create their own special Halloween routine! This charming and relatable story will speak to any little monster who's worried they're just too little for all the fun.

Not Very Scary

Not Very Scary

Written by: Carol Brendler
Illustrated by: Greg Pizzoli
Recommended Age: 3 - 6

Melly discovers that even the most daring Mighty Girls can get scared sometimes! On her "not very scary" walk, the skeletons, black cats, and goblins following her get a little more intimidating with every step, and even though Melly tries to hide her fear, she gets more apprehensive as she goes. Hopefully the surprise her cousin promises will be worth it... This fun, slightly spooky counting story is sure to generate giggles.

A Very Brave Witch

A Very Brave Witch

Written by: Alison McGhee
Illustrated by: Harry Bliss
Recommended Age: 3 - 6

On the far side of town, a brave young witch lives a big, dark house. Her fellow witches warn her about the scary humans and their mysterious and dangerous version of Halloween, but one year, the witch's curiosity gets the best of her and she decides to see just what these humans are all about. It turns out that witches and little girls aren't all that different after all! Author Allison McGhee tells her story completely in dialogue balloons, making it a fun read — and perfect for a young child who’s slightly nervous about this spooky holiday.

Skelly the Skeleton Girl

Skelly the Skeleton Girl

Written by: Jimmy Pickering
Illustrated by: Jimmy Pickering
Recommended Age: 3 - 6

Little Skelly finds a lost bone one day, and decides to return it to its proper owner. But after asking her bony goldfish, her carnivorous plants, and even the creature that lives under the stairs, she still hasn’t found the owner of the bone! Finally, she finds where the bone belongs — and makes a new friend. Jimmy Pickering’s unique, bright artwork and clever verse are perfect for any kid who likes spooky but cute characters. Fans of this book will want to check out the sequel, Skelly and Femur.

Vampirina Ballerina

Vampirina Ballerina

Written by: Anne Marie Pace
Illustrated by: LeUyen Pham
Recommended Age: 3 - 7

Young Vampirina dreams of being a ballerina. But how can you take dance class when you’re a vampire? Well, you have to find a class that meets at night... and figure out a way to learn when you can’t see yourself in the mirror. And, of course, try not to scare your classmates with your fangs! But Vampirina learns that with determination and support from your family — no matter how monstrous — you can achieve amazing things.

A Teeny Tiny Halloween

A Teeny Tiny Halloween

Written by: Lauren L. Wohl
Illustrated by: Henry Cole
Recommended Age: 3 - 7

Every fall, the teeny tiny woman who lives in a teeny tiny house has a very big problem: fall leaves surround her house until the whole place is buried! Inside the pitch black house, it's very dark and more than a little scary. The teeny tiny woman calls, "Oh, who will save me?" but no one can hear her, no matter how loudly she yells — so that means the teeny tiny woman needs to use a few tricks she's got up her sleeve to save herself! Written to be read aloud, with different typefaces to indicate everything from a teeny tiny whisper to a giant shout, this book has the same quality as classic campfire stories — and soon your child will be retelling it herself!

Only A Witch Can Fly

Only A Witch Can Fly

Written by: Alison McGhee
Illustrated by: Taeeun Yoo
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

A little girl desperately wants to be able to fly — but only a witch can do that. She’s not deterred, though: instead, one special night, she gets a broom (and her cat) and tries, and tries, and tries... until, finally, her heart’s desire comes true. Told in poetic language with evocative illustrations, this story emphasizes perseverance and celebrates a little girl who believes she can do something amazing. This reflective, quiet book makes a great counterpart to the bustling, noisy Halloween holiday.

Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble

Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble

Written by: Tracey Corderoy
Recommended Age: 3 - 8

This little girl's granny is (whispers) a witch! And frankly, having a witch for a grandmother can be a bit of a pain. So she decides to reform her granny and teach her to be just like all the other grandmothers out there. But it turns out that, when you take away the frogs and bats, the icky soup and the disappearing spells...Granny just isn't herself, and she's not nearly as much fun. Time to unreform Granny! Fun rhyme makes this an appealing read-aloud, and kids will love the message of loving someone just as she is.

Frangoline and the Midnight Dream

Frangoline and the Midnight Dream

Written by: Clemency Pearce
Illustrated by: Rebecca Elliott
Recommended Age: 4 - 7

Frangoline is the sweetest girl all day — but at bedtime, she becomes a furious creature, running outside and refusing to lay down her head and sleep, even when the moon cautions, “Little ones should be in bed!” But on Halloween night, when her dancing and shrieking wake the dead, will Frangoline learn her lesson? After all, she’s not really bad, just too excited to sleep... For any parent and child who’ve wrestled with bedtime, this just-spooky-enough book is sure to get a laugh. Even when you think you’re not afraid of anything, that doesn’t mean things can’t get scary sometimes!

Mostly Monsterly

Mostly Monsterly

Written by: Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by: Scott Magoon
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Bernadette is a typical monster... but secretly, she loves flowers, kittens, and even baking. Her first day at Monster Academy shows her just how different she is from her classmates — they’d rather eat snail goo than her beautiful cupcakes! But Bernadette is determined to find a way to make friends without changing who she is. Both a great Halloween story and a story to help handle fears about fitting in, this funny book is sure to get giggles.

I Am A Witch's Cat

I Am A Witch's Cat

Written by: Harriet Muncaster
Illustrated by: Harriet Muncaster
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

What's more fun around Halloween than playing pretend? This little girl knows her mother must be a witch — after all, the bathroom is full of magic potion bottles she's not allowed to touch! But since her mother is a good witch, it only makes sense to pull on a cat costume and become a witch's cat. A charming story with intricate collage illustrations, this is sure to become a favorite.

Zombelina

Zombelina

Written by: Kristyn Crow
Illustrated by: Molly Idle
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Zombelina's love of dance is appreciated by her friends and family — but when she joins a ballet class for real girls, a bout of stage fright leaves her onstage moaning and staggering like, well, a zombie...and scares away most of the audience. Those who are left, though, are the ones who appreciate exactly who Zombelina is. This lovely story of family — with just a hint of spooky atmosphere — is sure to please!

Grimelda The Very Messy Witch

Grimelda The Very Messy Witch

Written by: Diana Murray
Illustrated by: Heather Ross
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Grimelda's house has stuff over the place, but she finds it cozy and comforting — until the day she wants to make her favorite pickle pie and she can't find a key ingredient! She rummages through other items like scream cheese spread, dragon fruit, and rot sauce without success; she even thinks of trying a finding spell, but she can't find the right spellbook. Making pickle pie might turn out to be more of an adventure than she had planned... With fun verse for reading aloud and busy illustrations that kids can scour for funny details, kids will return to this book over and over again. Fans of Grimelda will be delighted to see her return in Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show.

Monster Trouble

Monster Trouble

Written by: Lane Fredrickson
Illustrated by: Michael Robertson
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Winifred Schnitzel isn't scared of the monsters in her bedroom, but she sure is frustrated — she needs her sleep! Every night they're there, making a ruckus, despite the cleverest traps that Winifred can think up. Perhaps Winifred will have to get a bit more creative to deal with her monster problem (Hint: monsters hate kisses!) This funny bedtime story will have kids giggling — and if Halloween monster stories have made her nervous, it's the perfect story to help her overcome her fears.

Miss Fiona's Stupendous Pumpkin Pies

Miss Fiona's Stupendous Pumpkin Pies

Written by: Mark Moulton
Illustrated by: Karen Hillard Crouch
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Miss Fiona is totally witchy with her black hat, her greenish skin, and her spooky home... but that doesn't mean she's scary or mean. In fact, all the children in her neighborhood know that it's worth creeping past the dark cemetery and barren fields for just a taste of her pumpkin pie. After all, what kind of Halloween would it be without it? This fun story also reminds kids that there's much more to everyone than there appears!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything

Written by: Linda D. Williams
Illustrated by: Megan Lloyd
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

This old lady is never scared...until one fall night, walking home through the woods, when she hears CLOMP, CLOMP, SHAKE, SHAKE, CLAP, CLAP! First shoes, then pants, a shirt, and even gloves and a spooky pumpkin face start following her home — and for the first time in her life, the old lady is SCARED! But when her pursuers follow her all the way home, her clever solution will get everyone laughing. With its repeated refrain and fun sound effects, this makes a great Halloween read-aloud.

Fairy Tale Frankie and the Tricky Witch

Fairy Tale Frankie and the Tricky Witch

Written by: Greg Gormley
Illustrated by: Steven Lenton
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Frankie loves fairy tales, so at first she's thrilled when fairy tale characters start showing up at her door. But all of them have the same story: the witch is coming, and they have to hide. As Frankie packs every nook and cranny of her house with Knights, unicorns, princesses, mermaids, and more, she can't help but wonder what will happen when this witch arrives. Fortunately, when the witch arrives as promised, it turns out she's a fairly friendly one — and she's challenged her friends to a lively game of hide and seek! With colorful illustrations and a delightful twist at the end, this is the perfect not-too-scary witch story.

The Widow's Broom
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The Widow's Broom
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Written by: Chris Van Allsburg
Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg
Recommended Age: 4 - 9

When a witch's broom lands in widow Minna Shaw's garden, she takes it in and puts it to work. She quickly discovers that it's a pretty ordinary broom for sweeping — but it can also do any number of other tasks, from chopping wood to feeding some very startled chickens to keeping her company when the day is done. When the broom stops two bullying children, the suspicious neighbors demand that Minna gives up the broom to be destroyed. But even after they've burned it at the stake, Minna still wants her companion.... Mysterious and just spooky enough, the 25th anniversary edition of this book is perfect for introducing a new generation to this memorable story.

Ghoulia
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Ghoulia
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Written by: Barbara Cantini
Illustrated by: Barbara Cantini
Recommended Age: 6 - 8

Ghoulia is a typical zombie kid: she lives in Crumbling Manor with her Auntie Departed, and loves playing with Tragedy, her albino dog. Except unlike many zombies, Ghoulia wants a real friend. Outside the manor's walls, though, she can't hide her ghoulish appearance, so she's sure no one will befriend her. Then she has an idea: on Halloween, with all the kids dressed up like monsters, she can finally be herself. And maybe, if the kids get to know Ghoulia, they'll realize she's a great friend... This appealing series opener with a sweet message of acceptance and friendship is a delight.

Little Witch

Little Witch

Illustrated by: Helen Stone
Recommended Age: 6 - 9

Minikin Snickasnee — called Minx for short — was nine years old and wished with all her heart that she was not a witch's child. It may sound like fun to be the daughter of Madam Snickasnee and be forbidden to go to school, to wash behind your ears, or go to bed at night. You might even like to see certain people you know turned into potted plants and have your own flying broomstick. But Minx didn't like riding around in the dark or cooking up horrid pots of Black Spell Brew. Even a witch's child rebels, and one day, Minx sneaked off to school. The principal was certainly surprised to see his newest pupil arriving on a broomstick, and life just got much more exciting for a lot of people!

My Haunted House

My Haunted House

Written by: Angie Sage
Illustrated by: Jimmy Pickering
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

Newly independent readers will enjoy the ominous (but friendly) creatures in this book! Araminta loves the spooky home where she's growing up, so when her crabby Aunt Tabby decides she wants to sell it and move, Araminta — and a few ghostly friends — set themselves to scaring off buyers... literally! But when it's a ghost-loving family who's looking at the house, Araminta's plan may not go as smoothly as she'd hoped. Fans of the weird and fun will love this funny tale!

Magic Trixie

Magic Trixie

Written by: Jill Thompson
Illustrated by: Jill Thompson
Recommended Age: 6 - 10

Trixie is frustrated: she doesn’t get to do anything fun, but her little sister gets away with everything. And she’s determined to wow her classmates — a collection of monsters, witches, and ghosts — at show and tell, but they all know all of her tricks already! Then Trixie remembers she knows one more trick: making something disappear. And she knows just what she’d like to make go away... At the heart of this fun story is the struggle with sibling envy, making this story perfect for the whole year round.

The Witch Family

The Witch Family

Written by: Eleanor Estes
Illustrated by: Edward Ardizzone
Recommended Age: 7 - 10

Amy and Clarissa love drawing pictures and telling stories, particularly of their favorite character, Old Witch. But when their story puts Old Witch on a barren hill, she's so lonely and grumpy that Amy draws her a little girl and a baby for company — and suddenly the Witch Family is born. Full of fun vocabulary, funny puns, and interesting characters (like Malachi, the magic spelling bumblebee), this story is perfect for Halloween, or just to inspire the budding creative writers you know!

Bob

Bob

Illustrated by: Nicholas Gannon
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Five years after her first visit to her grandmother's house in Australia, Livy is back — and feels like there's something important she's forgotten about her last trip. What she forgot was Bob: a small, mysterious being dressed in a chicken suit. She promised to help find his family… and Bob remembers her promise, even if he doesn't remember his way home. Together, Livy and Bob will have to puzzle out the clues to where Bob comes from — and along the way, they'll learn truths about friendship, love, and the joys of childhood. Told in alternating chapters in Livy and Bob's perspectives, this irresistible story explores friendship, belonging, and the magic of storytelling.

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow

Written by: Katy Towell
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

The main characters of this book struggle with their supernatural sides: Adelaide looks like a werewolf, Maggie is strangely strong, and Beatrice says she can see ghosts. Their classmates call them the “scary children” and they spend most of their time together in the library. But when people start disappearing in the town of Widowsbury, the girls will have to work together to break a nasty curse. This book is perfect for a middle reader whose taste run towards all things creepy.

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
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Written by: Jonathan Auxier
Recommended Age: 9 and up

Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is an oddity in Victorian London: a female "climbing boy," one of the orphans owned by a brutal chimney sweep. She's risked the dangerous job for years, with her "char" — a mysterious piece of charcoal that's always warm — in her pocket. To her surprise, when she's stuck in a deadly chimney fire, her char comes to life as a golem made from ash and coal, just to rescue her. She names him Charlie, and together, the two start to build a new life, saving each other in the process. While exploring challenging topics such as child labor, this ultimately warmhearted novel by the author of The Night Gardener speaks powerfully to the gifts of friendship and hope.

Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit

Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit

Written by: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Kat Roberts has a secret: unlike the normal girls at her school, she, like her mother, can see and talk to spirits. But when she and a friend discover that a ghost of a former student needs their help, Kat has to embrace her gifts to solve the mystery — while still navigating all the trials that middle school has to offer. The perfect mix of humor and suspense, supernatural and every-day, this book will fascinate your mystery-loving middle reader.

The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch

Written by: Jill Murphy
Illustrated by: Jill Murphy
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

At the top of a mountain surrounded by a deep wood stands Miss Cackle's Academy, where young witches train in all the witchy arts. Mildred Hubble is the worst witch in the school, struggling with everything, but she's getting by until she accidentally makes an enemy of Ethel, the teacher's pet. But when she decides to run away and overhears people plotting against the school, Mildred is faced with a choice: leave the Academy to its fate or see if the worst witch might actually save the day. Fans of Mildred can find seven of her adventures in The Worst Witch: Complete Adventures box set.

The Ghost Road
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The Ghost Road
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Written by: Charis Cotter
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

When Ruth goes to Newfoundland to spend the summer with family she's never met, she discovers that her cousin, Ruby, is mysteriously similar to her, except that Ruby believes in spirits, while Ruth is a skeptic. Then the pair discover that twin girls are born every generation... and every set of twins dies young, leaving their children motherless. And one of the twins has The Sight, which lets them see the Ghost Road to a lost settlement called Slippers Cove. Can the girls find the Ghost Road and untangle the mystery — before the curse plays out again? This haunting tale in an evocative, isolating setting conveys a thought-provoking message about the power of words.

A Properly Unhaunted Place

A Properly Unhaunted Place

Written by: William Alexander
Illustrated by: Kelly Murphy
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

In Rosa Ramona Díaz's world, ghosts are everywhere. Sure, sometimes they need calming — that's why her mother is a ghost appeasement specialist — but they're a critical part of honoring departed loved ones. So when her mother moves to Ingot, the only ghost-free town in the world, Rosa isn't happy. But it soon becomes clear that there's something sinister behind Ingot's lack of ghosts, and with Jasper Chevalier, a new friend, she sets out to rein in angry spirits and solve the mystery. Part supernatural story and part coming of age tale, this charming story with a unique setting is sure to be a favorite.

Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

Written by: Zac Gorman
Illustrated by: Sam Bosma
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

Have you ever wondered who cares for the magical creatures in castle dungeons? In Castle Grimstone, it's Thisby Thestoop, a resourceful orphan whose work keeps the monsters happy (and her safe.) Then the annoying Princess Iphigenia and Prince Ingo show up for an inspection... that ends up with the prince missing and the princess lost in the dungeon without her bodyguards. Thisby is the only one who can see her safely past the many monsters in the dungeon — but along the way, they'll also discover a plot to start a war, one that could endanger all the magical creatures in the Black Mountain dungeon. This tongue-in-cheek series opener, full of rollicking action, features an unlikely friendship and plenty of magical fun.

The Year of Shadows

The Year of Shadows

Written by: Claire Legrand
Illustrated by: Karl Kwasny
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

It's a difficult year for Olivia Stellatella: her mother has disappeared, her father — who's more interested in saving his failing orchestra than in Olivia — has moved her and her grandmother into the broken-down concert hall, and she doesn't have any friends to lean on. As she explores the hall, Olivia makes a shocking discovery: four ghosts, tied to the hall, who explain that they need her help. If the hall is demolished, they'll be trapped as ghosts forever. Olivia is determined to try to save the concert hall and her new ghostly friends, but her project brings unexpected dangers, including specters, spirits who are already trapped, who want to stop her and her friends... This just-spooky-enough story uses the supernatural to explore the ways we can repair the hurt we cause to one another.

Begone the Raggedy Witches
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Begone the Raggedy Witches
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Written by: Celine Kiernan
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

In Mup's world, the raggedy witches are the enforcers for a tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic — Mup's grandmother. And when her Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup's family and spirit away her father. Mup and her mother decide to leave the ordinary world and journey through the Witches Borough to rescue him... but it won't be easy. Everything is off-balance, and even Mam and Mup herself start to seem off-kilter. Even if Mup can retrieve her father, will she ever be the same? The first book of a trilogy about family and forbidden magic, this book takes fantasy tropes and gives them a new twist.

The Dollhouse Murders
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The Dollhouse Murders
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Written by: Betty Ren Wright
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

No matter how much Amy tells herself that dolls can't move by themselves, she's starting to be convinced she's wrong: every night, she hears noises from the dollhouse in the attic, and the dolls are never where she left them. And when she sees an eerie light from the dollhouse, she starts to wonder if this creepy behavior is somehow related to her great-grandparents' murder. But will she unravel the complex relationships of her family and the spooky mystery of the dollhouse in time? This 35th anniversary edition of a modern classic is perfect to introduce a new generation to this bone-chilling tale. Fans of this book can also check out Betty Ren Wright's Christina's Ghost.

The Jumbies

The Jumbies

Written by: Tracey Baptiste
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

Corinne La Mer isn't afraid of jumbies — they're just stories, after all, tricks from parents to scare their kids into good behavior. Except one day, when Corinne chases an agouti into the forbidden forest, she sees yellow eyes staring at her. The next day, a beautiful stranger shows up in the market...and then at Corinne's house. Severine is here to claim the whole island for the jumbies, and the only one who can stop her is Corinne. But to do so, she'll need help from her friends and she'll need to master ancient magic she's only just learning she has. This thrilling twist on a Haitian folktale is sure to delight middle-grade readers, who can then follow Corinne's story in the sequel, Rise of the Jumbies.

Evangeline of the Bayou

Evangeline of the Bayou

Written by: Jan Eldredge
Illustrated by: Joseph Kuefler
Recommended Age: 9 - 12

12-year-old Evangeline Clement is a haunt huntress apprentice: she's devoting herself to learning folk magic and monster hunting, just like her female ancestors before her. She's confident that her animal familiar is due to appear any time, but the council isn't quite sure that she's ready. Then Evangeline and her grandmother are sent to investigate a case in New Orleans, where she unwittingly ends up with an unwanted sidekick: Julian, the skeptical son of the woman in peril who thinks monsters are a load of bunk. Can Evangeline prove herself (and prove the truth to Julian), save the day, and finally become a full haunt huntress? Charming characters and a vibrant setting add extra fun to this story about friendship, loyalty, and trusting your gut.

The Wee Free Men

The Wee Free Men

Written by: Terry Pratchett
Recommended Age: 9 - 14

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld witches have always explored questions of responsibility, psychology, and friendship, and his young adult series about witch Tiffany Aching follows the same mold. In The Wee Free Men, nine-year-old would-be witch Tiffany finds herself desperately seeking witch magic to defend her home — and her pesky little brother — from the denizens of Fairyland. It turns out that Tiffany, who's intelligent, shrewd, and has a talent for cheese, also has a gift for being a witch. Tiffany's story continues in A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, I Shall Wear Midnight, and Terry Pratchett's final Discworld novel, The Shepherd's Crown. Don’t be surprised if your kids return to these thoughtful, humorous, and engaging stories over and over again.

Fablehaven

Fablehaven

Written by: Brandon Mull
Illustrated by: Brandon Dorman
Recommended Age: 9 - 14

Kendra and Seth don’t know that their grandfather is the caretaker of a secret forest that houses monsters like trolls, satyrs, witches, imps, and fairies — but when the laws of Fablehaven are broken, the whole world could be threatened by the forces that are unleashed. Kendra and Seth will have to learn quickly — and face their fears — if they want to save everything they care about. The first book of an ongoing series, this fantasy novel is terrific for independent reading — or as a read-aloud that the whole family can enjoy. Fans of the series can get this Fablehaven box set which collects the whole series.

The Aviary

The Aviary

Written by: Kathleen O'Dell
Recommended Age: 9 and up

Twelve-year-old Clara lives in a strange place — the crumbling mansion where her mother works as a servant to widowed Mrs. Glendoveer includes an aviary, where the birds shriek every time she approaches. But one day, instead of squalling, the mynah bird speaks — and Clara starts uncovering dark secrets about the Glendoveer family. As Clara tries to solve the Glendoveers’ mystery, she learns secrets about her own family — and all the while, she has the feeling that the birds want to tell her something... A charming, spooky tale of secret identities, nasty villains, and surprising heroes, this book will totally absorb middle readers.

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting

A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting

Written by: Joe Ballarini
Illustrated by: Vivienne To
Recommended Age: 10 - 13

Kelly Ferguson was going to a Halloween party; instead, she's babysitting. Boring! Well, until Baby Jacob gets kidnapped by the Boogeyman. It turns out that monsters are real, there's a secret society of babysitters that defend children from them, and Kelly is the newest recruit. Thanks to the society's ancient handbook, Kelly knows she has to destroy the Boogeyman... but when her pursuit leads to the school's big Halloween dance, she'll have to figure out a way to do it without attracting unwanted attention. This hilarious and action-packed series opener full of appealing characters will leave middle-grade readers imagining themselves as monster-hunting babysitters!

The Witches of Worm

The Witches of Worm

Written by: Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Illustrated by: Alton Raible
Recommended Age: 10 - 13

For older readers, tales of witches can also explore deeper, darker territory. Jessica is already isolated from both her busy, dating mother and her peers when she brings home a skinny, ugly kitten she calls Worm. But then Worm starts convincing her to do mean, awful things — and Jessica realizes that Worm must be a witch’s cat. So has Worm bewitched her, or does he have other reasons to be interested in Jessica? And how can she free herself from his influence? This Newbery Honor book captures the isolation and alienation many young people feel, and explores the question of moral responsibility — all in a spooky, supernatural setting.

Coraline

Coraline

Written by: Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by: Dave McKean
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Be careful what you wish for! Coraline is bored in her parents’ enormous house, so when she discovers a special door that leads to a parallel world that seems almost the same — but better — at first she’s thrilled. The creepy denizens of the other house don’t bother her — until she gets to know her mirrored parents, white-faced, button-eyed...and determined to keep their little girl on their side of the door. Is Coraline clever and brave enough to return to her normal life? Gaiman’s tale quickly became a young adult classic, and has also received graphic novel treatment as well as being turned into an animated film.

The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener

Written by: Jonathan Auxier
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Abandoned siblings Molly and Kip are working as servants in a declining Victorian manor house. But the house's owners — and the tree on the grounds — have unexpected secrets, and soon Molly and Kip must combat a dangerous spirit with nothing but their wits...and the power of storytelling. Can Molly's gift of the gab keep them safe from the ominous Night Gardener? If your tween wants a truly eerie tale, this is a great place to start.

Wait Till Helen Comes

Wait Till Helen Comes

Written by: Mary Downing Hahn
Recommended Age: 10 and up

Molly's little stepsister, Heather, has been a nuisance ever since their parents got married. When their parents move the family to a country house that used to be a church, Molly is particularly creeped out by the graveyard nearby...but Heather seems drawn to it. Worse, she's soon talking about "Helen," a ghostly girl who Heather insists is coming for all three of them. As Molly learns more about Helen — and about the reasons for Heather's odd behavior — she becomes determined to figure out a way to stop Helen and ensure that Heather is safe. This creepy and suspenseful ghost story will keep tweens and teens flipping pages until the end.

Anya’s Ghost

Anya’s Ghost

Written by: Vera Brosgol
Illustrated by: Vera Brosgol
Recommended Age: 14 and up

Anya is desperate for a friend, so when she falls down a well and meets a hundred-year-old ghost, she figures that a ghost friend is better than nothing. After all, she’s embarrassed by her immigrant family, her body is changing in ways she doesn’t like, and there’s no chance she’ll ever fit in at school! But some of the things Emily suggests make Anya very uncomfortable, and when it turns out that Emily hasn’t been honest with Anya, Anya will have to make some very difficult decisions. This supernatural story also explores the real-life challenges of life as a teen.

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