For kids, Halloween becomes a time of fantasy that turns into nostalgia. And it’s the perfect time for reading, whether it’s a fun picture book for the little ones, a look into the world of the dead, or an action-packed werewolf story. We asked NoVA librarians and booksellers what Halloween books they would recommend reading.
Kids, ages 3–5
VLAD, The Fabulous Vampire by Flavia Z Drago
“Vlad is fourth in line in a family of creepy vampires. He loves being a vampire and fashion is his passion, but he always wears the same basic, boring black. But no amount of fabric can hide his biggest flaw —very flushed, very alive looking, very pink cheeks. A fabulously funny book with deliciously detailed illustrations filled with all kinds of spooky and cute Halloween creatures. Vlad learns about embracing his (supposed) flaws, being true to himself and his interests and making friends in this third book in The World of Gustavo series.” — Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Hooray for Books!
Kids, ages 4–8
“My new favorite! Despite living in a haunted house, the young protagonist has never seen a ghost. She’s determined to find one. Her hunt is unsuccessful — but Jeffers’ beautiful and fun illustrations cleverly reveal the ghosts to the reader as they turn the pages. It’s a great, non-scary picture book for young readers.” — Sharon Moores, Dumfries Library
Tween and Teen Books
The Ojja-Wojja: a Horror-Mystery, or Whatever by Magdalene Vissagio and Jenn St-Onge
“A fun graphic novel about two best friends looking into a spooky legend belonging to their hometown and finding that maybe, just maybe it’s real. A cute story about the ins and outs of friendship, plus subverting various tropes of how spooky stories normally go.” — Christina Kerndt, Fairfax County Public Library
The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
“As haunting as the Brothers Grimm version, The Little Red Wolf is an alternative take on the original Little Red Riding Hood, offering up humans as the villain this time around. The artistry is unrivaled, and the illustrations truly add to the wistful, yet disturbing core of the story. A reinvented classic for older kids and parents looking for something just a bit more harrowing than your average Red Riding Hood retelling.” — Mallory Sutton, Bards Alley Bookshop
“This is a creative and warmhearted reworking of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. The main character, Bod, is raised in a cemetery by the ghosts and other undead souls that inhabit the graveyard. As with Kipling’s Mowgli, Bod is loved and protected by his adoptive family until he comes of age. His journey takes him from being a lost soul in the graveyard to his proper place in the outside world.” — Ginger Galaini, Dale City Library
Sabriel (Old Kingdom series #1) by Garth Nix
“Halloween season is the perfect time to follow this Necromancer’s daughter into the world of the dead. Join the fight alongside Sabriel and her unlikely companions to maintain the balance in favor of the living. Action will keep you turning pages long into the night even if some of the fantasy makes the hair on your neck rise just a bit.” — Megan Bell, Ashburn Branch, Loudoun County Public Library
The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux
“The Book of Living Secrets a fusion of paranormal, fantasy, and horror. Friends Adelle and Connie are both obsessed with Moira, a gothic romance book set in the Victorian times. A mysterious shopkeeper transports both girls into the novel and the friends are separated. Horrors grow ever worse, but they also meet romantic interests along the way. Intense, outlandish, and horror packed.” — Sarah Kirk, Ashburn Branch, Loudoun County Public Library
Bite Risk by S.J. Wills
“A tense, action-packed post-apocalyptic werewolf story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Bite Risk introduces a world where everyone is infected with a virus that turns adults into werewolves, but doesn’t affect kids and teens — which means that every month on the full moon, it falls to the kids and teens, like 13-year-old Sel, to make sure the transformed adults don’t hurt anyone. They’re good at keeping everyone safe, until a rash of mysterious deaths exposes secrets and conspiracies that will change the town — and maybe even the whole world — forever.” — Dana Brown, Hooray for Books!
Death and Douglas by J.W. Ocker
“This is a delightful mystery book featuring a protagonist whose home doubles as a funeral home. He’s grown up around death and has learned that it’s just a natural part of life, but when people are murdered, he teams up with the son of the sheriff and the daughter of an EMT to try and help their families figure out what’s going on. It’s a delightful story with kids smart enough to know they shouldn’t go looking for the killer, but that doesn’t mean they can avoid danger either. It’s also one of the few creepy books that actually ends on a slightly uncomfortable note, but in a way that’s still appropriate for the age range it’s intended for.” — Christina Kerndt, Fairfax County Public Library
Feature image courtesy HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster
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