If you’re like us, you probably love a good spine-tingling ghost story. So, with Halloween approaching it seemed like a good time to compile a list of the best scary books for kids and tweens that feature a ghost (or ghosts) at the centre of the story.
Inspired by the blue ghost boy of Weirdwood Manor, this list features five of the best books about ghosts — from very scary to scary funny — for 8 to 12 year olds.
If you haven’t yet downloaded the WEIRDWOOD MANOR app from the App Store, we encourage you to do so as the scene with the ghost is get-out-the-bed-sheet chilling.
Now, to the list!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
First off the top, is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Although not a ghost story in the traditional sense, Coraline features three of most frightening ghostly characters in all of all contemporary children’s literature: the Ghost Children. Trapped for a very long time by the Other Mother, they reside in the small, dark space behind the mirror. After having their souls restored, the Ghost Children go to the afterlife, but not before meeting Coraline for a last time in a dream, where she picnics with them. Here, she sees their true appearances and they thank her for freeing them from the Other Mother. Dark fantasy. Pretty creepy but not too gruesome. Ages 8 and up.
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is the first book of the Goth Girl series by Chris Riddell. Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Lord Goth believes that children should be heard and not seen, so Ada has to wear large clumpy boots so that he can always hear her coming. This makes it hard for her to make friends. One day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the house, and together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael, they and Ada begin to unravel a dastardly plot. Scary fun with a great mix of peril, adventure and silliness. Ages 8 and up.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Soon to be released as a feature film starring Ava Green (Penny Dreadful) and directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography. the story revolves around sixteen-year-old Jacob who journeys to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here – one of whom was his own grandfather – were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive. The book spent more than two years on The New York Times bestseller list and was named one of “100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime” by Amazon.com. A unique blend of realism and fantasy. Ages 12 and up.
Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl (Editor)
Author Roald Dahl read 749 supernatural tales from an array of ghost storytellers at the British Museum Library before selecting the fourteen stories that comprise this anthology. Includes Sheridan Le Fanu’s The Ghost of a Hand, Edith Wharton’s Afterward, Cynthia Asquith’s The Corner Shop and Mary Treadgold’s The Telephone. Best read together. Ages 8 and up.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Another award-winning fantasy novel from best-selling author Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens, an orphan who’s raised in a graveyard by dead people and supernatural beings. Winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Newbery Medal (the only book to have won both awards). Mildly creepy with a bit of violence, suspense, and menace. Ages 9 and up.
Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
Wait Till Helen Comes tells the story of Molly and Michael and their spooky new stepsister Heather. Molly and Michael dislike Heather but realize that they must try to save her when she seems ready to follow a ghost child to her doom. The book won a 1989 Young Reader’s Choice Award and is about to be made into a feature film, starring Maria Bello and actress Sophie Nélisse, Ages 8 and up.
WEIRDWOOD MANOR is an award-winning interactive book series for children ages 6 – 12. Now available for iPad. Visit your country App Store for pricing details or to download.