Read Across America Day ~ March 3, 2014


Mark your calendars, and get ready to grab your hat and read with the Cat in the Hat on Monday, March 3, 2014 for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. The Seussical celebration will kick off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members gather students, parents, and community members together to share their love of reading.

The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day is the nation’s largest reading event, occurring each year on or near Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd).
Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!
Visit Seussville or the NEA for activities & ideas, to find ways that you can celebrate reading with young people, and information about receiving books by Dr. Seuss and many of your favorite authors for free or at significant discounts. You can find additional information on free and discounted books HERE.


Download the NEA’s Read Across America Activity Booklet

You don’t have to follow any set guidelines. Celebrate in a way that is unique to you & your spawn, any activity that encourages reading is a good one!
We’re raising & molding the next generation of horror lovers, so how can we incorporate this event with our love of the genre? (Be sure to share your ideas in the comments ❣)
I’m no expert, I’m just a gurl with a blog. Don’t scare the bejesus out of them with my twisted ideas! If you think that there is a chance something might be ‘too much’, it probably is – Reel it in.

Studies show that [most] kids who are read to – grow up to love reading.
THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, (recommended ages: 2-3 yrs), is a great way to induct our young ones. (Baptism by fire never worked out well for anybody!) They’ve most likely already watched Sesame Street on PBS. Fuzzy & loveable Grover is the perfect “MONSTER” to begin with, and – you’ll get to read using Grover’s voice! Yay!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is 50 years old, and still a bestseller for a reason! Young Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and his wild rampage leads him to the forest where the wild things are. For a lot of us, Sendak’s illustrations were our first ‘Monsters’. They can be creepy for a kid, not fluffy & cuddly like Pixar’s Monsters, INC. But, the wild things manage to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious.
If this book backfired and had the complete opposite effect – a screaming & crying kid who wants to sleep with you, instead of a kid who wants a wolf suit – then grab a copy of WHERE THE WILD THINGS AREN’T. *Synopsis: “From wild things under the bed to monsters behind the closet door, children are often scared by what is cooked up in their imaginations. Where The Wild Things Aren’t strives to teach young children that many frightening situations they encounter are in fact nothing to worry about.”

Hello, everybodeee!
His mother called him ‘WILD THING!’
“There’s no monster under your bed sweetie! But, that thing in your closet… that’s fucked up! G’Night, baby – Love you!”

The GOOSEBUMPS books by R.L. Stine are recommended for Ages 8 – 12 (and up!). I still love these, but you can’t trust anyone’s opinion but your own – not for this series. There are a couple that STILL creep me the Hell out. I’m looking forward to trying the new-ish set,GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND.
✵ R.L. Stine: “I don’t really want to terrify kids,” he said. “I want them to have a really good time reading.”

Love Neil Gaiman? You’ll be happy to know that he’s written some outstanding YA books, too! Recommended ages 8 – 12, CORALINE is probably the most recognizable title. Showing a reluctant reader a book that is also a movie they love may encourage them.

I couldn’t possibly publish this post without mentioning the HARRY POTTER series, and THE HUNGER GAMES. Technically… more fantasy than horror, but elements of horror are strong enough to include them here. THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE scared a few kids I knew – those witches are terrifying sometimes!!

Darren Shan‘s books are recommended for ages 12+ (Story coming…)
My neighbor’s daughter started reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, (I think she was around 13), and I read each book as she finished them. She would get a book on a Friday night, and give it to me when she went back to her mom’s on Sunday. I remember really liking them, and her dad read them after I did. We’d all be excited to discuss it when she came back on the following Friday. ::smiles:: I really love that. I remember her little sister (she was in preschool) couldn’t wait to learn to read – I need to check and see if she grew to have the same love of books that her sister & dad have. (Just curious.)
When she got a little older, (big sister, not little sister), and after reading the TWILIGHT SAGA, with a little nudging from me – her dad let her read the first few Anita Blake stories, and a couple Merry Gentry stories, before Laurell K. Hamilton started writing porn instead of horror.
This is the same time period that I read the *TWILIGHT books, too. (Don’t judge me!)
When reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK books, I remember the advertising in the back for Darren Shan’s DEMONATA series, and I wanted to try the first one out. If anyone has read those, leave me a comment, please? Let me know what you’re thoughts were.

The Holy Grail of all YA Horror is still SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, Volume 1, Volume 2, & Volume 3. If you’re lucky, you saved your old copies to pass along – because they’re no longer being sold with the original artwork. The drawings were what made these stories so terrifying!! ::shudders::

This is about when kids want to choose their own books, and nothing makes me happier than seeing kids shopping in book stores. That’s not saying that you can’t recommend books! Hopefully, by now, they’re trusting your bookish experience. The books I’ve talked about so far have been the more popular, better recognized titles. There are so many great indie authors that you can find on Amazon – the stories are usually better, and the prices are much more affordable!
MJ WARE has free & low cost YA Horror downloads available. MARISSA WOOD is a YA Horror author I adore – her stuff is like a YA version of Ed Lee! I found her through a (free) sale on Amazon, and have since read all but one of her available titles. (Reviews posted on the COVER TO COVER Review/Discussion Page) [If anyone knows her, please – put us in contact! I cannot find her, but would love to talk to her!] Alan Gandy, better known for his ‘children’s books for adults’, has a couple ‘children’s books for kids’ that I love – All I Want for Christmas Santa is You: A Zombie Children’s Book is recommended for, and reviewed by, ages 5 – 9+. Max and the Geeks, recommended for age 11+, is a fun & witty story about a group of sophomores who are fated to save the world when the zombies arrive. [I recommend this book highly, and suggest reading it with your kid – for fun.]
Jonathan Maberry has developed a YA-specific blog, It’s Scary Out There, to show how horror isn’t just one type of story.
I could continue naming authors & suggesting stories, but this post would be epic novel length!
These books are merely a jumping off point. A place to start, if you haven’t started already. If you would like more suggestions – leave a comment here, after the post, stating anything youre specifically interested in… what age group? any sub-genre interests? Whatever it is, if I can’t help – I’m sure that other members will have suggestions!!

* A few words on TWILIGHT
Being YA books, these are recommended for ages 12+
However, the Twilight series gets more mature as it goes along, and the author herself says that she didn’t write the books with younger readers in mind. The final book, Breaking Dawn, does have sexual situations, though the act is never described and it occurs between a married couple. NOW…
Forget that the movies exist. Forget every reason that you’ve sworn allegiance to the light.
When I heard whispers about this vampire story I hadn’t read yet, I decided to look into it. This was at the height of MySpace profiles, glittery gifs, and ♥ FLAIR ♥ – (I loved flair!) I searched Keyword: Twilight. My computer had a seizure. Long story short… when I read Twilight, I wanted to read it.

This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!
This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!

It’s a story about Bella Swan, a 17 year old girl, in a new town. When she starts her new school, she’s immediately drawn to mysterious senior Edward Cullen. They do the ritualistic HS mating dance, and fall truly, madly, deeply in love. But, he’s a vampire – she’s mortal. There are issues.
Eventually, there is more to the story. Bad guy enters, and then it really takes off.
If you can’t fall back into your high school self, when every trouble felt earth-shattering & true love leads to a heart-break with pain like none other… then this is probably not for you.
Hopefully – you can get past the sparkly, day-walker element.

To find more books, check out these links –


Horror in YA Lit is a Staple, Not a Trend: Great blog post from SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, includes many YA Horror titles – separated into categories / sub-genres

It’s Scary Out There: Jonathan Maberry’s YA specific blog is built around exploring the nature of horror and of fear, how that’s different for teens and adults, and why so many of today’s writers tackle that subject matter. The answers are always surprising. What we’re showing is that horror is different for each person.” Maberry also interviews Darren Shan.

Cliff McNish’s top 10 most frightening books for teenagers

Scary Book Lists on Goodreads: Lists broken down into groups by age

10 Children’s Books That Are (still) Frightening To Adults

P, L, & N ❤
~ sg