Spooky Season Titles For All: Halloween 2022 Recommendations

Whether sweet and silly or downright terrifying, ghosts and ghouls of all ages enjoy a good spooky story. And publishers did not disappoint this Halloween season, covering the gambit from gentle introductions to Halloween traditions to dark and twisty tales of the occult. So pick your favorite candy, pour yourself a mug of cider, and settle in for a read at your preferred level of spooky.

BOARD BOOKS: For the youngest ghosties!

The Monsters on the Broom
By Annemarie Riley Guertin
Illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn
Simon & Schuster/Little Simon
July 2022
0-3

A group of young monsters delight in a midnight flight in this bouncy Halloween celebration to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” A rich and moody color scheme perfectly captures the feel of a crisp fall evening. Cheerful little monsters tour their town by broom, on die cut pages that build as they explore, leading up to a group ride and wishes for a “Happy Halloween!”

Halloween is a Treat!
By Sabrina Moyle
Illustrator Eunice Moyle
Abrams/Appleseed
July 2022
0-3

More sweet than spooky, this detail packed little book includes all the most fun Halloween traditions—costumes, candy, jack-o’-lanterns, and more! A gentle rhyme weaves together the various holiday amusements for little cats (and kids) to enjoy. Busy pages full of neon orange highlights may even include some Halloween costume inspiration.


PICTURE BOOKS: Choose your favorite—sweet or spooky?

Happy Owl-Oween!
By Laura Gehl
Illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Abrams/Appleseed
July 2022
3-5

Owlet friends partake in all the Halloween traditions their neighborhood has to offer. Simple text, a sweet rhyme, and vibrant geometric illustrations combine to gently introduce the less-than-scary side of the holiday, helping owls of all ages to get into the spirit. Gehl includes an author’s note explaining the origins of many Halloween traditions, but it’s a bit sophisticated for all but the most precocious kindergarteners.

If Your Babysitter is a Bruja
By Ana Siqueira
Illustrated by Irena Freitas
Simon & Schuster
August 2022
3-6

A new babysitter might spell big trouble for a mischievous girl with an oversized imagination. Imagining her parents left her with a witch turns an ordinary evening into a magical Halloween adventure of broomsticks, bubbling caldrons, and ghostly castles. Spanish words and phrases are incorporated throughout, yet easily interpreted in context. Vibrant and exaggerated illustrations and inventive text combine for a unique and whimsical addition to Halloween book collections.

The Most Haunted House in America
By Jarrett Dapier
Illustrated by Lee Gatlin
Abrams
August 2022
4-8

Invited by the First Lady to play at the White House Halloween celebration, the Skeleton Drummers answer the call, entertaining both the living and the long-dead with their spooky tunes. Even when they are scared silly themselves, the show must go on, and the band plays ‘til dawn. Sepia tones mute the illustrations, adding age and mood to the images, and enhancing the drama of the event. Smiling skeletons and rhyming text tempers what could be a scarier picture book tale. An author’s note includes some of the most popular ghost stories told about the White House as well as the author’s experience playing the drums for White House Halloween party dressed as a skeleton.


Middle Grade: Just the right amount of scare factor!

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Candlewick
July 2022
7-9

Who says witches need to be spooky? Perhaps all they have to be is themselves. A trip to the big city department store—Broomingdale’s—is Crimson’s change to find just what she needs. Maybe a cat or a new hat, if she can find one that suits her. What she finds instead are friends that like her just the way she is—unique. Reminiscent of The Worst Witch in tone and language, with lovely black and white illustrations, this sweet chapter book is full of charm and charms.

Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel
By James Howe and Andrew Donkin
Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Based on the 1979 novel by Deborah and James Howe
Simon and Shuster/Atheneum
August 2022
8-12

Harold the dog and Chester the cat must contend with a new pet in the Monroe family home, a peculiar bunny who just might be a vampire. Chester, with Harold as trusty sidekick, investigates just what’s making all the vegetables in the house white and juiceless. And just how their new roommate might be responsible. A graphic adaptation of the original story, the varied layout and muted color scheme uphold the melodramatic nature of the novel, while keeping just the right amount of humor to keep things light.

August of the Zombie (Zombie Problems Book 3)
By K.G. Campbell
Knopf
January 2022
8-12

August DuPont has an unusual, and undead, problem—he attracts zombies. And what started as one sidekick has turned into a horde. In the final installment of this trilogy, he must finally find the Zombie Stone to lay his followers and some family secrets to rest. Moody, yet humorous, illustrations provide levity and show the zombies to be more ridiculous than ravenous. Quirky and clever, a delightful middle grade introduction to supernatural stories.

Wildseed Witch
By Marti Dumas
Abrams/Amulet
May 2022
10-14

One fit of temper and Hasani goes from a summer of fun and family (drama) to a premier finishing school for witches to hone her newfound abilities. But being the newcomer isn’t easy, especially when everyone else grew up in a magical family, and you’re starting from scratch. Dumas has created an alternative New Orleans, with all the charm and spirit of the original, and an additional spark of magic. Perfect for Harry Potter fans who will cheer for this determined and charismatic heroine of color. A tribute to learning your own balance between fitting in and standing out, and how to most gracefully be yourself.


Young Adult: From a hint of magic to downright scary!

Fraternity
By Andy Mientus
Abrams/Amulet
September 2022
13+

Scandal sends Zooey Orson from his New York high school to an all-boys boarding school full of secrets, secret societies, and not-so-secret biases. He is taken in by the Vicious Circle, a group of gay students that become his found family in their fight against very human and supernatural secrets, and an occult text that could destroy them all. Set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, this story of brotherhood and belonging combines episodes of LGBTQ history with paranormal thrills.

The Monarchs
By Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
Harper Collins/Clarion
January 2022
14+

The most popular sorority on campus hides many secrets—the rules of sisterhood, details of the death of their past president, and that they are actually a powerful coven of witches. New president Scarlett and new student Vivi balance schoolwork, love interests, and battling the ancient forces of evil in this sequel to The Ravens. An atmospheric college setting and emotionally charged relationships between the sisters add substance to this fast-paced and action-packed duology closer.

Spells for Lost Things
By Jenna Evans Welch
Simon and Schuster
September 2022
12+

Willow’s mom dragged her to Salem to sort out a family inheritance. Mason is in Salem with a foster care placement. And they both want to be nearly anywhere else. Drawn together by the mystery of Willow’s family history, they are kept together by a growing connection. YA romance with a dash of witchcraft combine for a charming story of finding family and finding yourself. Welch weaves in the thread of wanderlust that ties all her novels together, with Willow and Mason exploring all the lore and kitsch Salem, Massachusetts have to offer as they learn about life, family ties, and each other.

Fact or Fiction: A Review of What the Fact?: Finding the Truth in All the Noise

What the Fact?: Finding the Truth in All the Noise 
Dr. Seema Yasmin 
Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
September 20, 2022 
Ages 12 and up 

In What the Fact?, Dr. Seema Yasmin reveals how people interact with trillions of bytes of data every second and, depending on if it’s fact or fiction, can spark a viral information outbreak leading to fear or hatred. By using a virus as a metaphor for the spread of false information, Yasmin states why people fall for false information and biases, how news sources have changed over decades, and how social media has become the biggest influence on minds, both young and old. From beginning to end, Yasmin encourages readers to be freethinkers and be suspicious of information received from social media, social circles, or any supposedly credible source. 

Throughout the book, the author uses a humorous but down-to-earth tone that encourages readers to keep reading and provides small sidebars that give brain breaks between the chunks of information. Using graphs, pictures, and historical references all backed up by a thorough list of sources in the appendix, the novel is helpfully organized by topic, such as COVID-19, historical events, and governmental issues. Yasmin’s vast experience in fact-based fields—she attended medical school at Cambridge University, worked as a disease detective for the US government and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—has her well-versed in sorting through the noise for the facts beneath. Technical terminology is explained in a way that educates readers on how it is being used and defined, making it easy to follow along. Yasmin, very early in the book, states that this book is just a magnifying glass into how beliefs, thoughts, ideas, actions, etc. are influenced by approximately “1,099,511,627,776,000” (pg. 2) bytes processed and stored in the brain and that this is not a book that is going to tell readers how to think. This information-rich book describes the exhaustion and confusion of being aware of all information, yet bolsters all types of readers to gain skills in critical thinking, media, and digital literacy so they can thoughtfully navigate the information-rich world we live in. 

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Once Upon Another Time is the beginning of the storybook character mixing trilogy of middle-grade novels by James Riley. Follow Jin, a young genie, and Lena, the kid of giants, as they try to stop the machinations of the Golden King! Check it out along with the other titles below!

How to Build a Human In Seven Evolutionary Steps
Written by Pamela S. Turner and Illustrated by John Gurche
Published by Charlesbridge
Available April 12th!

Once Upon Another Time
Written by James Riley
Published by Aladdin
Available today!

Planting a Garden in Room 6
Written by Caroline Arnold
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Powwow Day
Written by Traci Sorell and Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

She Gets the Girl
Written by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Smitten with Kittens
Written by Florence Minor and Illustrated by Wendell Minor
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! In Stella Keeps the Sun Up written by Clothilde Ewing and illustrated by Lynn Gaines, Stella schemes to keep the sun up so she never has a bedtime! She learns the benefits of sleeping and why going to bed is great. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Catalina Incognito
Written by Jennifer Torres and Illustrated by Gladys Jose
Published by Aladdin
Available now!

Darryl’s Dream
Written by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Shawnee, Johnny Warfield, and Adam Padilla. Illustrated by Tristan Tait
Published by King of Rock Publishing
Available now!

Emile and the Field
Written by Kevin Young and Illustrated by Choima Ebinama
Published by Make Me a World
Available April 15th!

Finn and the Subatomic Slip-and-Slide
Written by Micheal Buckley
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

Lady Icarus: Balloonomania and the Brief, Bold Life of Sophie Blanchard
Written by Deborah Noyes
Published by Random House Studio
Available now!

Stella Keeps the Sun Up
Written by Clothhilde Ewing and Illustrated by Lynn Gaines
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Availible now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week we are featuring several books that are available Today! Right now! On the bookshelf you will find The Katha Chest. This picture book follows Asiya, a young girl learning about her aunts’ and grandmother’s memories through playing with their handmade quilts made from their worn saris. A beautifully illustrated tale about loving the memories you make and the ones that make them with you. Check it out along with the other titles below!

The Book that Did Not Want to Be Read
Written and Illustrated by David Sundin
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Today!

The Katha Chest
Written by Radhiah Chowdrury and Illustrated by Lavanya Naidu
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Today!

Listen to the Language of the Trees: A Story of how Forests Communicate Underground
Written by Tera Kelley and Illustrated by Marie Hermansson
Published by Source Books
Available Today!

My Own Way: Celebrating Gender Freedom for Kids
Written by and Illustrated by Joana Estrela
Published by Wide Eyed
Available Today!

Once Upon a Tim
Written by Stuart Gibbs and Illustrated by Stacy Curtis
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Today!

Turning
Written by Joy L. Smith
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Today!

Including Folktales in Black History Month

photo credit Tim Hensel

“For me, a huge part of Black history is celebrating who we are as a people. Celebrating us. Not that we are all alike – far from it. But there is a history we share – as powerful or as painful or as beautiful as it may be – that should be also be a part of our focus. When we talk about Black history, we should also talk about our folklore and mythology, and our culture as a whole. And how we can all contribute to history.” — Eden Royce

As I started pondering ideas for a Black History month book-list, I came across this Harper Stacks blog post from Eden Royce, author of Root Magic (a 2022 Walter Award Honor title). She thoughtfully encourages a broader celebration, not just a look at extraordinary figures, but a recognition of Black people and the rich folklore of their culture. Royce reminds us that these stories are for sharing–whether it’s on a back porch or in a library. Inspired by her shift in focus, I moved from the fabulous titles in our review collection to the treasures in Ellin Greene Folk and Fairytale collection. Below is a list of favorites (with links to the Dominican University catalog) that celebrate the stories and myths Royce lifts up, from some truly celebration-worthy Black creators, that would be make a wonderful addition to Black History Month lessons and programming.

Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan’s African tales, uh-huh
Bryan, Ashley. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books. 1998.

All Night, All Day: A Child’s first book of African-American spirituals
Bryan, Ashley. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books. 1991.


Virginia Hamilton

Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl
Hamilton, Virginia; Ransome, James, illustrator. Harper Collins/Blue Sky Press. 2003.

Her Stories: African American folktales, fairy tales, and true tales
Hamilton, Virginia; Dillon, Leo, illustrator; Dillon, Diane, illustrator. Harper Collins/Blue Sky Press. 1995.

The People Could Fly: American Black folktales
Hamilton, Virginia; Dillon, Leo, illustrator; Dillon, Diane, illustrator. Harper Collins/Blue Sky Press. 1985.

A Ring of Tricksters: animal tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa
Hamilton, Virginia; Moser, Barry, Illustrator; Harper Collins/Blue Sky Press. 1997.


Julius Lester

John Henry
Lester, Julius; Pinkney, Jerry, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Dial Books. 1994.

The Tales of Uncle Remus: the adventures of Brer Rabbit
Lester, Julius; Pinkney, Jerry, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Dial Books 1987.

More Tales of Uncle Remus: further adventures of Brer Rabbit, his friends, enemies, and others
Lester, Julius; Pinkney, Jerry, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Dial Books. 1988.

Further Tales of Uncle Remus: the misadventures of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Wolf, the Doodang, and other creatures
Lester, Julius; Pinkney, Jerry, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Dial Books. 1990.

The Last Tales of Uncle Remus
Lester, Julius; Pinkney, Jerry, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Dial Books. 1994.


Patricia McKissack

The Dark-Thirty: Southern tales of the supernatural

McKissack, Patricia; Pinkney, J. Brian, illustrator. Penguin Random House/Yearling. 2001.


What titles would you add to this list?

Peruse these books and more in the Butler Children’s Literature Center collections. Reach out to schedule a visit — butler@dom.edu.

Faults and Aftershocks: A Review of Odessa

odessa-9781620107898_lg.jpgOdessa
Written and illustrated by Jonathan Hill
Published by Oni Press
Available November 10, 2020
Ages 13+

Eight years ago, Vietnamese-American Ginny Crane’s earth shattered—and not just because an earthquake ripped the West Coast apart, tearing apart the land and communities. No, Ginny’s world was shaken when her mother left her family, taking off without a word. In the years that followed, Ginny and her dad took care of her two kid brothers, acclimating to a new way of life. Now, on her eighteenth birthday, Ginny receives a package from her mother, Odessa. Ginny knows this is her chance to find her mother. Ginny takes off in the middle of the night, leaving her family behind. Her brothers, Harry and Wes, however, tag along on her journey; they miss their mother, too. As the trio bushwhack their way through a post-apocalyptic America, they struggle with who they can and cannot trust. They encounter rival gangs—all bent on keeping their territory intact—and join forces with an enigmatic man called Four Dollars. Jonathan Hill’s images in Odessa are salmon-saturated and filled with exquisite detail. The landscape is decimated, and the population is weary. Hill’s drawings capture the fatigue and manic energy that is integral to their survival. The Crane family is full of love and secrets: the mysterious Four Dollars is actually the siblings’ long-lost Uncle Hank. Uncle Hank, in turn, is deeply connected to the warring factions that plague the Crane’s journey. As family mysteries are unearthed, the Cranes encounter violence and death. Hill ends the story with a new beginning: the remaining Cranes must set forth into Middle America to find the truth. This new #OwnVoices graphic novel from Oni Press is a taut and exciting exploration of perseverance, truth, and unbreakable bonds.

Opposites Attract: A Review of 10 Things I Hate About Pinky

10 things I hate about Pinky

10 Things I Hate About Pinky
By Sandhya Menon
June 30, 2020
Published by Simon & Schuster
Grades 7 and up

Fans of Menon’s previous works (When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something About Sweetie, and From Twinkle, With Love) will be excited to read her latest work, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Pinky is proud to be a social justice warrior, but her mother doesn’t feel the same way. After another fight where Pinky’s mother unfairly judges her, Pinky makes up a perfect fake boyfriend that her mom would love; but now Pinky must find this perfect boy. Enter Samir. A friend of a friend, Samir is stuck in D.C. after an internship with a coveted law firm falls through. When Pinky reaches out to him to be her fake boyfriend, Samir sees his chance to get an in with Pinky’s respected, lawyer mom. Although they start fake dating for their own reasons, they soon find that there might actually be something between them. Lines between fake and real begin to blur, and they both have to decide if this is what they want.

Told in alternating voices, Menon transitions seamlessly between the two. Menon leaves no loose ends, resolving all major and minor conflicts neatly. Clearly inspired by the movie 10 Things I Hate About You—which in turn was inspired by Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew—Menon makes the choice to keep the romance in the forefront but also explore issues of identity, environmentalism, familial discord, and more. All of this make for a refreshing take on a well-known and beloved story. A funny and charming book that will pluck at the heartstrings of many a rom-com lover.

Butler Bookshelf

butlerbookshelf2.25.jpgThis week’s Butler Bookshelf features some excellent nonfiction picks, including some great read-a-louds like Poems Aloud, written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett. Check out the list below for more!

The Surprising Lives of Animals
Written by Anna Claybourne and illustrated by Stef Murphy
Published by QEB Publishing
Available now!

Poems Aloud
Written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Truth App (Liars Book 1)
Written by Jack Heath
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
Written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Everybody Counts: A counting story from 0 to 7.5 billion
Written and illustrated by Kristin Roskifte
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Wonders of Wildflowers
Written by Anna Staniszewski
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

Search and Find A Number of Numbers: 1 book, 100s of things to find!
Written by Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley and illustrated by Allan Sanders
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

IMG_6954.jpg

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but we’ve still got love stories on our mind. This week’s Butler Bookshelf includes some star-crossed couples, like those in If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett and Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon.

In The Shadow of the Sun
Written by Em Castellan
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

The Ocean Calls
Written by Tina Cho and illustrated by Jesse X. Snow
Published by Kokila
Available August 4, 2020

With A Star In My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero
Written by Margarita Engle
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written and illustrated by Anna Kim
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Available July 7, 2020

In A Garden
Written by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Available now!

Of Curses and Kisses
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

If You Only Knew
Written by Prerna Pickett
Published by Swoon Reads
Available now!