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With Halloween approaching, your children may be asking for spooky stories. While some younger readers love thrills and chills, others are more sensitive to things that go bump in the night. If you’re looking for a gentle scare, we’ve put together a list of 13 books that provide safe places for children to learn about the world and their own emotions.

Bad Kitty, Scaredy-Cat by Nick Bruel

A group of monsters shows up on Bad Kitty’s doorstop. Kitty is scared until she decides to take matters into her own paws!

Click, Clack, Boo! by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown doesn’t like Halloween, so he draws the shades and climbs into bed. However, the barnyard animals have other ideas. Big surprises are in store for Farmer Brown!

Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant

Herbert is worried about his first Halloween – but with help from his dad, a special tiger costume, and some roaring practice, Herbert finds confidence on Halloween night.

How to Scare a Ghost by Jean Reagan

Want to know how to scare a ghost? This book will provide young readers and listeners with all the tips they need to lure in and frighten a phantasm!

Tacky and the Haunted Igloo by Helen Lester

It’s Halloween, and Tacky the Penguin’s friends have prepared the scariest igloo in the Arctic. It’s the best Halloween ever, until a a group of ghostly hunters show up demanding treats. How will Tacky save the day?

Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! by Tad Hills

Duck and Goose go trick-or-treating, but what will they do when they hear a swamp monster is looking for them?

Fright School by Janet Lawler

In this story, school-age zombies, ghouls, and ghosts learn how to scare trick-or-treaters. But what in the world scares monsters?

The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael by Bonny Becker

When the Thirteen bus pulls up one stormy evening, Michael boards it despite some grave misgivings. Creepy and funny, with a surprise twist!

It’s Halloween, Chloe Zoe! by Jane Smith

It’s Halloween, but one house is way too frightening to visit. With the help of her friends and her dad, Chloe Zoe finds the courage to discover what treat is behind its foreboding front door!

Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl

Peep can’t wait to go trick-or-treating, but Egg thinks Halloween is too scary! What will convince Egg to brave the night?

Samurai Scarecrow: A Very Ninja Halloween by Rubin Pingk

Yukio loves Halloween and his sister loves him. When Yukio carves a pumpkin, Kashi carves one much like it. When Yukio maps out his evening, Kashi’s map looks veeery similar. Upset, Yukio says some things he doesn’t really mean. What can save their Halloween?

Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

In this atmospheric book, mysterious green eyes watch from the darkness as trick-or-treaters pass by. But to whom – or what – do the eyes belong?

Halloween Good Night by Rebecca Grabill

In this rhyming bedtime story, werewolves, witches, zombies and other cuddly monsters will help you count down the minutes until bedtime.


Dec 26 2012

Best in 2012

by Dea Anne M

As the year draws to a close, it’s no surprise to see “best of” lists appearing everywhere online. I’m always interested in these and sometimes even more interested in checking out the accompanying comments. Everyone it seems has an opinion about “the best” and many of us express our opinions on this topic with great, shall we say, energy. Here’s a roundup of some recent top reads lists.

NPR publishes several targeted lists each year. Lists for 2012 include:

The  New Yorker’s “Page-Turners” blog features favorites from regular contributors. Not all these picks are new books but the list is nonetheless thought-provoking.

On November 30th, the  New York Times published its 10 Best Books of 2012. Several of these titles are available from DCPL including:bodies



Goodreads, the popular “social cataloging” website has announced its Choice Awards for 2012. Readers vote for the best books in a wide range of categories including Paranormal Fantasy, Food and Cookbooks, Graphic Novels and Poetry. Some top picks include the following—all available at DCPL.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Sep 21 2011

Spine-tingling fiction…then and now

by Dea Anne M

September 21st is the birthday of Stephen King, arguably the world’s most widely recognized author of horror fiction. Since the publication of Carrie in 1974, King has published many horror novels, novellas, and short stories as well as fantasy and non-fiction. His work overall is characterized by “everyman” type characters and is particularly sympathetic toward children and adolescents. I haven’t read a Stephen King book in quite awhile, but I was a big fan at one time. I think The Shining is one of the most effectively frightening tales that I have ever experienced and I have a particular weird fondness for King’s epic, almost painfully  earnest, story of good versus evil The Stand ( I’ll even occasionally sit down and re-watch the 1994 television mini-series based on the book starring such 90’s luminaries as Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald…a  little over the top, but fun!).

Are you a fan of the horror genre looking for something new? Here are some fresh voices you might consider:

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: a zombie novel by Madeline Roux features a bookstore clerk/graduate student heroine who, while trapped by zombies at her place of work, begins a blog to try and connect with the outside world.

Another zombie story, Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory is the tale of how the title character, an undead infant, is rescued and reared by a human family and finally comes of age to explore and embrace his heritage.

Hater by David Moody is, according to the Publishers Weekly starred review, a “nail-biter” of a debut novel and concerns a regular working guy attempting to keep his family safe in a world gone mad with a violence-inducing virus. A film version is currently in the works and is supposed to be directed by Guillermo del Toro of  Pan’s Labyrinth fame.

On the YA front, White Crow by Marcus Sedgewick tells the story of sixteen- year-old Rebecca, her new friend Ferelith, and their exploration of a remote village’s sinister history. According to Booklist “This book is one thing very few YA novels are: genuinely scary.”

Finally, my own favorite horror offering of the past few years has got to be Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Emotionally nuanced (Cronin has previously published literary fiction) and told in an epic style reminiscent to me in some ways of The Stand, the story concerns the human survivors of a man-made plague attempting to survive in a world populated by “virals” or “dracs.” These vampires are not the the brooding teenagers of Twilight or the alluring undead of the Sookie Stackhouse series. This novel is, in my mind, completely original and highly recommended.



Sep 3 2010

ShareReads: The Last List

by Lesley B

ShareReads appears on the DCPLive blog on Fridays. Each week, a different person will share a little about what they’re currently reading, and why they like or don’t like it. The heart of ShareReads will be responses from blog readers, and the window of opportunity here is wide. Feel free to respond and discuss the book or author being mentioned, ask or answer a question, or even take the conversation in a different direction: mention what you are currently reading, and how you feel about it. The point of ShareReads is to have an ongoing discussion about books and reading. Remember: posting a response also counts as an activity for the Summer Reading for Adults program.

Fellow readers, we’ve come to the end of ShareReads and the 2010 Adult Summer Reading Program. You’ve got until Monday, September 6, to turn in your entry and be eligible for the prize drawing – but you’ve got the rest of your life to read one or some or all of the books that were shared here this summer. That’s not one of those ‘before you die’ tasks. Let us not look at a list of books and think despairingly, “So many books! I’ll never have time!” Let us look at our list (or our Library) and think, in awe and delight,  “So many books! I’ll never run out!”

From all of us at Share Reads, our thanks and appreciation to everyone who shared a book this summer.  See you next year!

All the Books:

June 4 – Welcome to Share Reads!

  • Facing the Music, Harold Schonberg
  • Just Like Us, Helen Thorpe
  • Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb
  • Check the Technique, Brian Coleman
  • Slonimsky’s Book of Musical Anecdotes, Nicolas Slonimsky
  • The New York Times Essential Library: Classical Music, Allan Kozinn
  • 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die, Matthew Rye
  • The Good NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Opera, William Berger
  • Puccini Without Excuses, William Berger
  • The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  • Singin’ in the Come Back Choir, Bebe Campbell Moore
  • Joplin’s Ghost, Tanarive Due

June 11 – Beat The Reaper

  • Beat The Reaper, Josh Bazell
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • A Short History of the Long Ball, Justin Cronin
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
  • If Men Are Like Buses, Then How Do I Catch One?, Michelle McKinney Hammond
  • Left to Tell, Immaculee Illibagzia
  • A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah
  • In the Landof Invisible Women, Qanta Ahmed

June 18 – Try a Local Author

  • Lost Laughs of 50s and 60s Television: 30 Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen, David Tucker
  • The Women Who Made Television Funny, David Tucker
  • Shirley Booth: a Biography and Career Record, David Tucker
  • Fifteen Years, Kendra Norman-Bellamy
  • Now I Sea!: Spiritual Life Lessons from the Sea, Jenny L. Cotes
  • Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor, Brad Gooch
  • Crackers, Roy Blount Jr.
  • Thunderland, Brandon Massey
  • Get Your Crochet On!, Afya Ibomu
  • Homeplace, Anne River Siddons
  • The Malignant Heart, Celestine Sibley

June 25 – Oldies But Goodies . . .

  • As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
  • The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
  • Jennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser
  • Dodsworth, Sinclair Lewis
  • Hatter’s Castle, A.J. Cronin

July 2 – Slightly Strange

  • The City & The City, China Mieville
  • The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead
  • The Stolen Child, Keith Donohue
  • Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
  • Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges
  • Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Cory Doctorow
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan
  • Shades of Grey, Jasper Fforde

July 9 – Find a New Favorite!

  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
  • The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
  • Gourmet Rhapsody, Muriel Barbery
  • Edisto, Padgett Powell
  • The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  • Wonder When You’ll Miss Me, Amanda Davis
  • Stay A Little Longer, Dorothy Garlock

July 16 – Chemical Concerns

  • Slow Death by Rubber Duck, Rick Smith
  • Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
  • An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore
  • Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
  • The World Without Us, Alan Weisman

July 23 – A Vote for Arthur and George

  • Arthur and George, Julian Barnes
  • The Skinner, Neal Asher
  • The Reader, Bernhard Schlink
  • Discovery!, Brian Fagan

July 30 – Try It, You’ll Like It

  • The Help, Kathryn Stockett
  • A Sudden, Fearful Death, Anne Perry
  • Love the One You’re With, Emily Giffin
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

August 6 – Yum!

  • My Life in France, Julia Child
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child

August 13 – Disturbingly Good

  • Geek Love, Katharine Dunn
  • Train, Pete Dexter
  • The Shining, Stephen King
  • World War Z, Max Brooks
  • 2666, Roberto Bolano

August 20 – Bugged Out

  • Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs, Sue Hubbell
  • A Book of Bees . . . And How to Keep Them, Sue Hubbell
  • A Country Year: Living the Questions, Sue Hubbell
  • Waiting for Aphrodite: Journeys Into the Time Before Bones, Sue Hubbell
  • Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels, Jane Lidz
  • The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart
  • Wicked Plants, Amy Stewart

August 27 – You Will Totally Love This Book! NOT!!

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
  • Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
  • Absurdistan, Gary Shytengart
  • Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
  • Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
  • The Shack, William P. Young
  • Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout
  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
  • Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold


Nov 20 2008

Dear Diary

by Ginny C

J’nai’s post on Tuesday about journaling got me thinking about books for children and teens that are written in a diary format.  Its popularity as a format has grown recently due to several factors – they’re easy to read, they bring an immediacy to the characters and setting, etc.  Probably most important is that kids and young adults like them.  One of the most popular books to come out recently is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffly’s Journal and its sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, both by Jeff Kinney.  Both books have waiting lists and are a big hit with middle school age kids, especially boys who enjoy the humor and the cartoons that appear throughout the books.  Listing all the books the library owns would make for a very long list, so I’ll just list a few of my favorites.

Diary of a Worm by Dorren Cronin:  A young worm discovers, day by day, that there are some very good and some not so good things about being a worm in this great big world.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee: In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother’s departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer.

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman:  The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.

And here are a couple for teens:

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flynn: Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.

Planet Janet by Dyan Sheldon: Sixteen-year-old Janet Bandry keeps a diary as she deals with an annoying family, school, a quirky best friend, and trying to find herself through vegetarianism, literature, romance, and her “Dark Phase.”

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Aug 28 2008

Calling All Paparazzi!

by DCPLive

This weekend, literary folks across the metro area will have an awesome chance to catch sight of celebrity authors. The third annual Decatur Book Festival will kick off on Friday night with a keynote speech by Billy Collins, a former United States poet laureate; tickets are required for this event, but are available free at Agnes Scott College’s box office and several local bookstores. There will be 250 national and local authors speaking around Decatur. These authors include Pearl Cleage, Eric Jerome Dickey, Emily Giffin, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and Haywood Smith. If you have children, fear not! This is a completely family friendly event. There will be a children’s parade Saturday morning with beloved costumed characters and a marching band. There will be many authors for children and teens reading from and speaking about their work, including John Bemelmans Marciano (the grandson of the author of Madeline), Chris Raschka, and Doreen Cronin.