My Favorite Scary Books I Read as a Kid

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Fear is sometimes best confronted through someone else’s story. When I was growing up, I loved the following books. I had my own copies and read them over and over, wondering what I’d do if I was in the story. The writing and tension building is excellent in each and they probably became my favorites because they didn’t leave me in a state of fear. I managed to still turn the lights off when it was time for bed.

The Witches – Roald Dahl

witchesI was sure this was the best self-help book I would ever read. Dahl told me everything I needed to know about how to identify a witch.

Any lady I saw wearing gloves, itching her head, with extra large nostrils, crazy color-changing eyes, and limping with toe-less feet had to be a witch. Thankfully, I never met anyone that exactly fit this description. My mother did get a toe removed once, though. It did make me wonder.

What I appreciate about this book as an adult is that Dahl used exaggerations to make what would normally be a scary topic for kids more light-hearted. Sort of. Bruno, the main character, was a boy during most of the story and then… Well, you should just read the book.



The Green Futures of Tycho – William Sleator

greenfuturesEven scarier than recognizing a witch was the horrible creature all kids have to face sometime—their grown-up selves. Sleator’s story begins with 11-year-old Tycho experiencing the fun adventures of time travel and changing small things in the past to make his life with his siblings easier. But when he goes to a future where his adult-self is poor and miserable, he has to change the present to affect the future. Each change though, makes the adult Tycho even worse, to the point where young Tycho has to defeat himself before his whole family and possibly the world is destroyed. So scary!

This was one of those books that made me fear growing up. Who would I become and what would I do? At the time, it seemed much better just to stay a kid.



The Monster at the End of this BookJon Stone & Michael Smollin

monsterThe best all-time scary book is told by lovable-old Grover. I was maybe six-years-old when I first read this story. Grover kept telling me not to turn the page. Of course, I had to do it despite his warnings that there was a monster at the end of the book. I imagined all kinds of things before I got to the end and realized it wasn’t scary at all. But that didn’t keep me from reading it again and again. It’s a must have for all children and a good introduction for parents to see how they’ll react to scary stories in the future.

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