Spooky Series!

There’s something about summertime that always puts me in the mood for spooky stories. Maybe I’m just gearing up for autumn and Halloween early? Or maybe it’s the rolling thunder and cracks of lightning during summer storms that remind me of mad scientists and haunted houses. If you’re also looking for some beach reads that tend towards the spooky and spine-chilling, then any of these series are sure to satisfy your kiddo for awhile. These short, illustrated chapter books are perfect for those who are just branching out into chapter books on their own. All of the links go to the first book in the series.


Ghost Detectors – Dotti Enderle

Monster Hunters – Jan Fields

Graveyard Diaries – Baron Specter

Eerie Elementary – Jack Chabert

The Notebook of Doom – Troy Cummings

Lucky 8 – Lea Taddonio

A Deadly Fall – Rich Wallace

Scream Street – Tommy Donbavand

Ursula’s Funland – Johanna Gohmann

Miss Jessica


Throwback Spooky Reads

A few weeks ago, I was asked if we had any books by the author Mary Downing Hahn.  She has written quite a few spooky mysteries and ghost stories for young readers, and we have several of her books here.

I can remember being a middle-schooler, curled up under the blankets at my grandma’s house, reading ghost stories, like Hahn’s The Doll in the Garden and Wait Till Helen Comes.  Seeing these book covers brought me right back to that time!

Doll in the GardenWait

In The Doll in the Garden, Ashley follows a white cat through her garden hedge and meets a beautiful young girl with blonde curls and sad eyes.  Ashley works to find who she is and where she comes from.

In Wait Till Helen Comes, Michael and Molly dislike their new stepsister at first, but vow to save her from the ghosts haunting her.


If you’re in the mood for an 80’s/90’s style fright night, here are a few more titles:

Ghost by the sea

The Ghost by the Sea by Eileen Dunlop

Robin encounters the ghost of a young drowning victim while visiting her grandmother’s haunted house in England.  She and her cousin John investigate, uncovering family secrets along the way.

Ghost abbey

Ghost Abbey by Robert Westall

After her mother’s death, Maggi, her brothers, and her father move to an abandoned abbey to work on restoring it.  They discover the old building harbors many terrifying secrets.

Christina's ghostA Ghost in the House


Christina’s Ghost  by Betty Ren Wright

Christina spends the summer with her unfriendly uncle in an eerie Victorian mansion.  She meets a mysterious new friend who may have connections to a 30-year-old murder.

A Ghost in the House  by Betty Ren Wright

Sarah must help her great aunt, who is being targeted by a vengeful spirit.


Stonewords: A Ghost Story by Pam Conrad

Zoe has been best friends with Zoe Louise sine she was little.  One problem – Zoe Louise is a ghost!  When Zoe Louise begins to experience strange changes, Zoe must travel back in time to save her.

In the Stone Circle

In the Stone Circle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Cristyn is not happy about spending a boring summer in Wales with her father, but she soon finds the odd house they are staying in is anything but dull.

Ghost of Fossil Glen

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice

While rock climbing, Allie hears the voice of a young girl guiding her to safety.  She is driven to solve the mystery of who the girl is and what has happened to her.

Dark 30

The Dark-Thirty : Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack

This collection of stories takes its name from the spookiest time of day, the half-hour before sunset – the dark-thirty.  The selections are drawn from African-American folklore, legends, and experiences, and some of them are truly terrifying.  Each story begins with a historical fact.

Scary Stories

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz.  This is the first of three volumes of creepy folklore, songs, and poetry retold by Schwartz.  This edition contains drawings by Stephen Gammell that are as frightening as the tales!

Miss Tess

Harry Potter Read-Alikes

For many of us, reading the final pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was bittersweet.  While My book-loving heart reveled in seeing the story come to a close, it also left a void.  I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about.  That feeling that any other book you pick up is just not going to capture your imagination in the same way.  You aren’t going to catch yourself thinking about the character or plot of another book in the same way.  It takes some time and just the right book to come along before you can move on to a new series.  While there are TONS of great fantasy reads out there and authors who can build a magical world like none other, certain stories just stand out and make the void of ending the epic Harry Potter series a little easier.  Check out any of these the next time you stop in to visit.


Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven series

Kendra and Seth Sorenson end up at their grandparents house while their parents go off on a cruise.  Through a series of puzzles laid out by their grandfather, they discover that their grandparents home and property is actually a preserve for magical creatures.  Protecting the creatures on the preserve from the outside world, an evil society, and many other trials is no small feat and leads this sibling duo on many adventures.  There are five books in this series.


The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Magisterium series

Call, whose father is a former mage who has rejected magic after the death of Call’s mother, has waited a long time to find out if he has sufficient magical ability to attend training at the Magisterium.  It is revealed that Call does have magical ability, but what if his abilities are evil rather than good?  There are four books in this series so far with a fifth, The Golden Tower, coming out September of 2018.


Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher C. Carlson

Like Harry Potter, the main character of this stand-alone book, Ernie, is an orphan.  With his mother dead and his father a mystery, he has no idea of his not-so-average start.  The reader soon finds out however that Ernie is actually a Puddlejumper, a fairy-like creature who lives on the flipside of puddles in our world.  At birth he was tasked with an important job, prophesied to protect the Puddlejumpers from their greatest enemy, the Trogg.  This, however, is all a world away from the group home he lives in with a guardian who dislikes him as much as he dislikes her.  Fate puts things in motion though, and Ernie is reunited with his father and the Puddlejumpers to fulfill his destiny.


The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

The Uncommoners series

Ivy and her brother, Seb, live with their Grandma Sylvie.  When Grandma Sylvie breaks her arm and a bracelet she always wears, one that she has worn since a tragic car accident stole all of her memories when she was only sixteen, must be cut off their world flips upside down.  The world of Lundinor can all of the sudden see them and the hunt is on to call their family on the carpet for dark crimes committed in a world they know nothing about.  Ivy and Seb are desperate to defend their grandmother and navigate Lundinor with the help of their newfound friend, Valian.  Navigating Lundinor is no easy task though.  The most common objects do uncommon things.  Belts can make you fly, police officers can arrest you with toilet brushes, and candles hide more than they reveal.  The world of Lundinor definitely filled my homesickness for Hogwarts and the world of Harry Potter.  Bell did an excellent job building and exciting magical world for readers to explore.  The second book in this series will have it’s US release in February of 2019.  Also like Harry Potter, the titles may be slightly different on this side of the pond!


Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Nevermoor Series 

Morrigan Crow is a cursed child born an Eventide.  This destines her not only to die young but to also be the scapegoat for every awful thing that happens to her village.  From weather to broken bones to spoiled jam, Morrigan is always to blame just because she smiled at someone, commented of the lovely weather, or wished someone good luck!  On the night she is to die, a stranger shows up at her house and whisks her away to Nevermoor where she is relieved beyond belief to have escaped death.  What waits for her there however is daunting and will require her to face her biggest fears to find her greatest rewards.  She is apprentice to Jupiter North of the Wundrous Society, the city’s most prestigious organization.  In order to become a member she is tasked with 4 trials which she must pass to be admitted.  The trials require bravery, cunning, honesty, and a unique talent that Morrigan must possess, even if she has no clue what it is. Will she be admitted?  Find out what her talent is?  This is book one of a series.  Book two, Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, will be released in November of 2018.


Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Pandavas series

Aru Shah is a bit of a fibber.  To compensate for her workaholic mom who never takes her anywhere exciting Aru has a very vivid fantasy life.  Her lies land her in a spot of trouble when three classmates confront her and challenge her light the Lamp of Bharata, which happens to be cursed.  One quick light of the lamp launches Aru into an adventure to save her mom and friends who have been frozen, the result of a demon named The Sleeper being awakened and freed from the lamp.  Aru’s adventure leads her to discover that fate has more in store for her than even her wild imagination can dream up.  This is book one in a series.  Book two, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, will be released in April 2019.


The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil series

Sophie and Agatha are best friends despite being total opposites.  Together they are kidnapped and brought for training at the school of Good and Evil, where one will be trained to be a storybook hero and the other, a villain.  Sophie, who has been training for the role of storybook princess and hero her whole life gets a shock when it is determined she has just the right skill set for the School of Evil.  Meanwhile Agatha, who is not really a people person and loves black almost as much as her wicked pet cat, is shipped off the the School of Good.  What appears at first to be a crazy mistake just might be the clue to discovering who they really are.  There are 4 books in this series.  Book five, A Crystal in Time, will be released in March 2019.


The Shadows by Jacqueline West

The Books of Elsewhere series

Olive is not thrilled when her parents decide they are moving into an old crumbling house.  Not only did the previous owner die but she left behind tons of paintings.  The one outside her room especially gives her the creeps.  The strange thing is that none of the paintings can be taken down.  They are all stuck fast to the walls.  After exploring her creepy new home, Olive discovers that she can travel in and out of the paintings to a world called Elsewhere.  It is a dark world, yet familiar.  Though Olive makes friends in Elsewhere, she also makes enemies and must unravel the mysteries of Elsewhere to save her home and her family.  There are five books in this series.


The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

Sea of Trolls trilogy

Jack and his sister, Lucy, are kidnapped by Vikings.  If that isn’t bad enough, Lucy manages to offend the Viking Queen which causes her hair to fall out.  To save Lucy from the Queen’s wrath, Jack must go on a quest to the Well of Mirmir.  This well possess magical qualities to regrow the queens hair however, the journey to get their is perilous, filled with fantastical creatures and at the well, trolls.  Will Jack be able to save his sister from a terrible fate?  This series contains three books.


Miss Marta

Picture Book Biographies

Picture book biographies.

Did you know such a thing existed?

Many people do not realize that these books do exist. They are wonderful way to introduce the lives of famous and/or important people to young people.

The first picture book biography I read was the Day-Glo Brothers. It is the story of two brothers and how Day-Glo colors were invented. I learned something new and was entertained by the drawings in the book.

We have a list of some of the picture book biographies we own. Just ask at the Children’s Desk and we will be glad to help you find one.

Miss Sarah

Humpty Dumpty ….. After the Fall


So many authors have wondered what happened to Humpty Dumpty after the “great fall”, and they’ve come up with some terrific picture books to entertain that idea! Here are some titles for you and your child to explore.

For our very youngest library customer, we have Humpty Dumpty by Jonas Sicklar. If you are not familiar with the “Indestructibles” books, they are designed for the way babies “read” – with their hands and mouth. This version of Humpty Dumpty has the egg man on the Great Wall of China!

Next up is Humpty Dumpty by Daniel Kirk. After Humpty climbs the proverbial brick wall to get a better look at the young king in his birthday parade, the obvious fall happens, and it’s young King Moe who puts Humpty back together, “like a puzzle”!

In Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again by Dave Horowitz, Humpty’s shell has been fixed, but he’s lost his confidence. The author cleverly inserts other popular nursery rhyme characters in this “eggsistensial tale of hope”.

For beginning readers, check out Humpty’s Fall by Dosh Archer, one of the Urgency Emergency! Early Readers series. In this fun adventure, Humpty arrives at the hospital with a cracked shell and severe yolk seepage …. can the doctors at City Hospital save him?

Two fun picture books by Joe Dumpty (as told to Jeanie Franz Ransom) are What REALLY Happened to Humpty? and The Crown Affair (both are from the files of a hard-boiled detective! These stories take place in Mother Gooseland, so you’ll be sure to see some of your favorite characters making an appearance.

We have a series of picture books called Flip-Side Rhymes, where half-way through the book, you must flip the book to get another side of the rhyme. By Christopher Harbo, you may not want to read this Humpty Dumpty version if you are appalled by the ending … [SPOILER ALERT!!!] … poor Humpty gets scrambled and eaten!

Bob Graham tells the story of Humpty’s little sister in Dimity Dumpty. The author believes that Humpty’s notoriety for not doing much at all (basically just falling off a wall!) was not very clever, so he’s telling the story of his little sister, who was quite the heroine.

In Ode to Humpty Dumpty by Harriet Ziefert, the author blends the traditional rhyme with new characters. The whole book is done in rhyme, which makes it fun and playful.

And finally, the book that inspired the title of this post, is After the Fall – How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat. From the book jacket: “Inspiring and unforgettable, this epilogue to the beloved classic nursery rhyme will encourage even the most afraid to overcome their fears, learn to get back up – and reach new heights”.

Miss Teresa

Reading by the Genre



“Where are your mystery books?”

“My teacher says I need to read a historical fiction book for my report.”

“My son hates to read, but loves sports.  Do you have any fiction sports books he might like?”


Sound familiar?  These requests are made daily because most kids we serve think in terms of genre.  A few have favorite authors and series, but most of them are open to the possibilities of what is out there, as long as it is whatever genre is capturing them at that moment.  Maybe our patron just read Goosebumps and is looking for something else to give them that knot in their stomach, anticipating what creature or magic is waiting for their favorite character.  Maybe the patron laughed their way through Greg’s antics in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and she wants to recapture the humor.  Most kids are still open to suggestion.  When they ask us for a recommendation based on genre, it is a chance for us to open yet another door for them.


But… what about those kids who aren’t searching for genre because they already have an interest?  Because they have read something similar and what more? What about those kids whose teacher or parent is trying to broaden their horizons for them?  For me, even as a veteran to advisory, this is where I falter.  I don’t want to give a kid a book just  because it is this genre.  I want to give them a reason to connect with the specific book I put in their hands.  I want to get a feel for what they could read if the choice were their own and get as close as possible while sticking with what they need in regards to the genre.   That is what we all want.  To give them a reason not to dread that project but to open them up to the possibilities of trying something new!


It is a tricky balancing act sometimes, and the more knowledge we have as to what is out there, the better we will be at getting the right reader with the right book.  With this in mind, we are launching our series on Reading by the Genre.  We have created lists  of new and old titles, some popular and some that flew under the radar, that will hopefully add titles to our arsenal so that when we get that genre request we have more options to share with our patrons.


For us at MPL, historical fiction seems to be one genre that we get asked about a lot (I mean… A LOT) in September, so we are jumping off there.  Some of these titles are familiar and even award winning but some are lesser known.  All are awesome options when put with the right reader.

What books would you add to this list?

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance by Eleanora E. Tate