Scary Stories: All Grown Up Now

As October looms near, I can’t help but to think about making a Spooky Stories display for the library. As a children’s librarian, I am mostly gathering books for young readers. I just put on hold several of my favorites, like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, and the thought occurred to me: what are the grown up versions of these stories?

Not that we can’t enjoy these stories as adults (I know I still do!), but I’ve also read a vast array of horror and scary stories in adulthood. I thought up some interesting pairs. Hopefully you enjoy reading these ‘grown up’ matches to a few childhood favorites.

Pairing Number One:

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Fragments of Horror 1, by Junji Itō
Scary Stories and its sequels are books of short stories for children, interspersed with songs and games as well. The idea is to share these stories with your friends- told in your own way. I’ve decided to pair this book with the grown up manga Fragments of Horror. This is an anthology of body horror- a subgenre of horror centering on unnatural or graphic disfigurations of the human body. Much like the first edition of the Scary Stories books, it’s really the artwork that will haunt you. Each image will prickle your skin and will give you that feeling of hearing scary stories by flashlight.

Paring Number Two:

The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia McKissack and How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories by N. K. Jemisin
The Dark-Thirty is a book of supernatural short stories for children that take place during slavery and civil rights in the south. How Long ‘til Black Future Month? is a grown up supernatural/ science fiction book of short stories that center Black narratives in the future. I put these two together because both feature stories dealing with horrors routed in reality, such as slavery, racism, and natural disasters, intertwined with supernatural elements. These stories will make you think hard about the past and hope for the future.

Pairing Number Three:

Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn and White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Wait Till Helen Comes is a young adult novel about a family that moves into a haunted house after their mother dies in a house fire. White is for Witching is a grown up novel, also about a family that loses a mother. In this book, the father and twin siblings stay in their foreboding family home after the death, when one of the twins begins to hear spirits and starts to waste away due to a supernatural eating disorder. Both books will linger with you long after you read them, causing you to glance over your shoulder and jump at your own shadow long after the story is over.

Happy Booktober, everyone!

       ~ Amanda H.

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