Spooky Stories: Books for Kids

Looking for a Jumbie

These stories are sure to provide plenty of goosebumps, whether readers are meeting strange creatures, venturing out for Halloween, or learning legends of the past.

Related booklists

13th Street #1: Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats

13th Street #1: Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats
Age Level: 6-9

Cousins Malia, Ivan, and Dante are visiting their aunt Lucy for the summer. But on their way to Gulf City's water park, they get lost on 13th Street. Only it's not a street at all. It's a strange world filled with dangerous beasts! Will the cousins find their way back to Aunt Lucy's? This is the first book of the 13th Street chapter book series by David Bowles.

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!
Illustrated by: Juliana Perdomo

Ramón is a little boy who can’t sleep. He is nervous for his first day at a new school. And El Cucuy is the monster who lives in Ramón’s cactus pot. He can’t sleep, either. It turns out that El Cucuy is scared, too! This gentle, perceptive story explores the worries that can accompany moving to a new place and beginning a new journey — and reveals how comfort, bravery, and strength can be found through even the most unexpected of friendships.

Lola Levine #6: Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream

Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream
Age Level: 6-9

It's Halloween — Lola and Ben's favorite holiday. She loves pumpkins, scary costumes, monsters, and ghosts — and she likes to scare people, too. But when Lola plays a scary joke on her super best friends, Josh Blot and Bella Benitez, it doesn't go as planned. Can Lola learn from her mistake and still have a happy Halloween?

Looking for a Jumbie

Looking for a Jumbie
Illustrated by: Amber Ren
Age Level: 6-9

I’m looking for a jumbie, I’m going to find a scary one. But Mama says jumbies exist only in stories. So Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself. No such thing, say the friends she makes along the way.  But Naya is sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth.

Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 6-9

Follow los monstruos and los esqueletos to the Halloween party are throwing a in the Haunted Hall! Las brujas come on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren't even there yet! Marisa Montes' poem and Yuyi Morales spooky (and sometimes scary!) Halloween illustrations provide a chilling, thrilling read in this award-winning book.

Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo

Marisol McDonald and the Monster
Illustrated by: Sara Palacios
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Marisol McDonald loves words that begin with the letter "m"  — except the word "monster." One night, when Marisol hears loud bumps under her bed, she is immediately convinced that a monster is making the noise. Checking under the bed does not reveal a monster, but night after night, the bumps continue. When the bumps become especially loud one night, Marisol bravely leads the charge downstairs to find the cause.

Prietita and the Ghost Woman/Prietita y la llorona

Prietita and the Ghost Woman/Prietita y la llorona
Illustrated by: Maya Christina Gonzalez
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Ever since she can remember, Prietita has heard terrifying tales of la llorona — the legendary ghost woman who steals children at night. Against a background of vibrant folk paintings, Gloria Anzaldua reinterprets, in a bilingual format, one of the most famous Mexican legends. In this version, Prietita discovers that la llorona is not what she expects, but rather a compassionate woman who helps Prietita on her journey of self-discovery.

The Giant Bear: An Inuit Folktale

Illustrated by: Eva Widermann
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Product Description: One of the most terrifying creatures to be found in traditional Inuit stories is the nanurluk, a massive bear the size of an iceberg that lives under the sea ice. Its monstrous size and ice-covered fur make it an almost impenetrable foe. Jose Angutingunrik, a gifted storyteller and respected elder from Kugaaruk, Nunavut, brings to life a story of the great nanurluk that has been told in the Kugaaruk region for generations.

When the Chenoo Howls: Native American Tales of Terror

Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

"An interesting alternative for children who love horror stories. These 12 tales from the Northeast Woodland Native American nations are based on legends and mythical creatures from eight tribes. The authors use their own styles to tell about a wide variety of monsters while remaining as close as possible to the traditions of their ancestors. They have set the stories from 'the very distant past to very recent times.' Now as in the past, these legends offer entertainment and instruction." — School Library Journal