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Top 10 Horror Books for Kids

 
Top Picks Scary Books for Kids
 

Here are our Top Picks for the best horror novels written for kids. They are all fantastically fun… and scary! Don’t get too hung up on the order, you won’t go wrong with any of the novels listed below!

 


20. Nightmares!
by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller (Series)

Charlie Laird has several problems.
 
1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion– the creepiest place in Cypress Creek.
3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.
 
What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird.
 
For good.
 
The hilariously frightening, middle-grade novel Nightmares! is the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.

 


19. Ghost of Fossil Glen
by Cynthia DeFelice (Series)

Sixth-grader Allie Nichols knows she’s being pursued by a ghost. Her friend Karen calls Allie a liar and doesn’t want to hear “stuff like that.” But her old pal, Dub, listens eagerly as Allie tells him about a girl who begs “Help me,” and a terrible nightmare in which that girl falls to her death. Who is the ghost girl? And what does she want from Allie?

 


18. The Crowfield Curse
by Pat Walsh

If the deepest secret has been spoken, can the deadliest curse be broken?
 
Sent into the forest to gather firewood for the medieval abbey where he’s an apprentice, Will hears a cry for help, and comes upon a creature no bigger than a cat. Trapped and wounded, it’s a hobgoblin, who confesses a horrible secret: Something is buried deep in the snow, just beyond the graveyard. A mythical being, doomed by an ancient curse…
 
What does this mystery have to do with the cryptic brotherhood of monks Will serves? What does it have to do with the boy himself? When two cloaked figures darken the church’s doorway and start demanding answers, Will is drawn into a dangerous world of Old Magic.

 


17. The Rat Brain Fiasco
by Julie Berry (Splurch Academy Series)

When Cody Mack is called to the principal’s office yet again, he finds something far worse than detention awaiting him: Splurch Academy, a frightfully sinister boarding school for disobedient children run by a group of monstrous teachers.

 


16. Skeleton Man
by Joseph Bruchak

Ever since the morning Molly woke up to find that her parents had vanished, her life has become filled with terrible questions. Where have her parents gone? Who is this spooky old man who’s taken her to live with him, claiming to be her great-uncle? Why does he never eat, and why does he lock her in her room at night? What are her dreams of the Skeleton Man trying to tell her? There’s one thing Molly does know. She needs to find some answers before it’s too late.

 


15. Vampire Plagues: London, 1850
by Sebastian Rook (Series)

A thrilling new suspense trilogy with a twist. For a thousand years, an ancient and all-powerful vampire god has lain dormant in the Mayan jungle. In 1850, he awakes — and sets out for Europe…
 
London, 1850. An enormous ship has just reached port. From its hull, a flock of bats ascends and disappears into the streets. Jack Harkett intends to board the ship, in search of food or money. Instead, he encounters a boy his own age– running for his life! The boy recounts horrific tales about a vampire plague that’s killed the entire crew.
 
With no one to turn to but each other, the two boys vow to stop these horrors from continuing. Their pledge will take them on dangerous adventures from London to Paris and finally to Mexico, to confront the beast who started all this destruction…

 


14. Mr. Mumbles
by Barry Hutchison (Invisible Fiends Series)

Kyle’s imaginary friend from childhood is back… with a vengeance. Kyle hasn’t seen Mr. Mumbles in years. And there’s a good reason for that: Mr Mumbles doesn’t exist. But now Kyle’s imaginary friend is back, and Kyle doesn’t have time to worry about why. Only one thing matters: staying alive… A major series from a fresh new talent, brought to you by the publisher that put horror on the map.

 


13. Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror
by Chris Priestley (Series)

This spine-tingling, thrill-packed novel has more than enough fear-factor for the most ardent fan of scary stories. Uncle Montague lives alone in a big house, but regular visits from his nephew, Edward, give him the opportunity to recount some of the most frightening stories he knows. As each tale unfolds, it becomes clear that something sinister is in the air. From the account of a curious boy who intrudes on Old Mother Tallow’s garden to a shy girl’s ghostly encounter during an innocent game of hide and seek, a pattern emerges of young lives gone awry in the most terrifying of ways. Young Edward begins to wonder just how Uncle Montague knows all these ghastly tales, and ultimately discovers that his mysterious uncle’s life has a darker side than he ever imagined. This cleverly wrought collection of stories-within-a-story by Chris Priestly is perfectly matched in darkly witty illustrations by David Roberts.

 


12. Ghost of a Hanged Man
by Vivian Vande Velde

When the notorious outlaw Jake Barnette is sentenced to “hang by the neck until dead”, he threatens to come back to wreak revenge on those who captured him. This makes the town sheriff’s 11-year-old son, Ben, more than a little nervous, and when the outlaw’s coffin washes out of its grave in a flood the next spring, strange things begin to happen around town…This fast-paced, creepy story combines the romance of the Wild West in 1878 with a supernatural villain who is guaranteed to make readers shiver.

 


11. The Crossroads
by Chris Grabenstein (Series)

Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over… and Zack is directly in his sights.
 
Award-winning thriller author Chris Grabenstein fills his first book for younger readers with the same humorous and spine-tingling storytelling that has made him a fast favorite with adults.

 


10. Doll Bones
by Holly Black

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.
 
But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.
 
Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

 


9. Coraline
by Neil Gaiman

“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house…”
 
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.
 
But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
 
Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

 


8. Theodosia & The Serpents of Chaos
by R.L. LaFevers (Series)

Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo—and only Theo—who is able to see all the black magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum. Sneaking behind her father’s back, Theo uses old, nearly forgotten Egyptian magic to remove the curses and protect her father and the rest of the museum employees from the ancient, sinister forces that lurk in the museum’s dark hallways.

 


7. Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf
by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell (Series)

Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock lad, running errands in his city, day and night, and “highstacking” around the rooftops in search of new mysteries to solve. In this first adventure, Barnaby is attacked one night by an enormous dog and soon finds himself swept up in a world of crooked doctors, poor and ill-advised patients, strange tonics, and very expensive furs…

 


6. Among the Dolls
by William Sleator

A dark awakening…
 
When her parents give her a gloomy old dollhouse for her birthday instead of the ten speed bike she’s expecting, Vicky is disappointed. But she soon becomes fascinated by the small shadowy world and its inhabitants. The hours she spends playing with the dolls is a good way to escape from her parents’ arguments. As Vicky’s life becomes more troubled, she starts to take out her frustration on the dolls, making their lives as unhappy as hers.
 
Then one day, Vicky wakes up inside the dollhouse, trapped among the monsters she’s created. Bewildered, Vicky is sure she’s dreaming. Can she find her way out of this nightmare world?

 


5. Haunting of Cassie Palmer
by Vivian Alcock

Thirteen-year-old Cassie Palmer, the seventh child of a seventh child, has inherited the gift of second sight. Unsure whether or not she even believes in ghosts, Cassie heads to the cemetery to test her ability to communicate with the Other World. She starts with the departed spirit of a harmless child: CHARLOTTE EMMA ELIZABETH WEBB, BORN 1840 DIED 1847. But when a mysterious man appears, Cassie finds a new companion. Is he a gravedigger? A bum? Or did Cassie’s inexperience cause her to bring back Charlotte’s frightening neighbor: DEVERILL 1720 – 1762?

 


4. Gravediggers
by Chris Krovatin (Series)

During a class hiking trip, Ian, Kendra, and PJ get lost in the mountains and discover that they are being stalked by a pack of ravenous zombies. With the help of a witch doctor and some unusual folk magic, will they be able to defeat these monsters and escape the mountain with their lives?

 


3. All the Lovely Bad Ones
by Mary Downing Hahn

Travis and his sister, Corey, can’t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother’s quiet Vermont inn, where they’re spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little “haunting” of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms.
 
But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren’t the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Can these siblings lay to rest the ghosts they’ve stirred?

 


2. The Witch’s Sister
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Series)

When the darkness,
tolls the hour,
I shall have you
in my power…

 
Lynn and her best friend, Mouse, are positive their neighbor, Mrs. Tuggle, is a witch. And they suspect the old woman is forcing Lynn’s sister, Judith, to join her coven to witches. But Lynn and Mouse can’t prove anything and their parents don’t believe them. the girls are desperate to expose Mrs. Tuggle’s evil nature, especially since her actions are becoming more threatening everyday.
 
Now Lynn’s parents have announced that they’re going away for the weekend, leaving Judith and Mrs. Tuggle in charge. Can the girls outsmart Mrs. Tuggle and save Lynn’s family — or is the dark magic too strong to conquer?

 


1. The House With a Clock in its Walls
by John Bellairs (Series)

Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan’s house. Can the three of them save the world from certain destruction?

 

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