Try as we may, we just can’t get enough of seasonal books. Do you have the same seasonal-book-buying affliction?
One of the ways I love using seasonal books is in a daily countdown to the holiday. Here’s how we count down to Halloween with a spooky read every day!
We already have a post about our favorite Halloween books but we have so many new favorites, we just had to share another round up of spooky reads!
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- Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams (illustrated by Alison Oliver) — We are both fans of everything by BabyLit and their seasonal books are no exception. Expose young kiddos to a bit of classical literature while doing some spooky counting.
- Frankenstein: A BabyLit Anatomy Primer by Jennifer Adams (illustrated by Alison Oliver) — This darling board book practices naming the body parts of Frankenstein’s monster. There’s a few small quotes from the original sprinkled throughout this fun board book.
- Seeking a Witch by Angela DiTerlizzi (illustrated by Allie Smith) — This is a board book but the language is actually much more suited to for a picture book for slightly older kids. You could get away with reading this fun Halloween want ad style board book with 1st and 2nd graders!
- Shivery Shades of Halloween by Mary McKenna Siddals (illustrated by Jimmy Pickering) — “What color is Halloween?” It’s green as an “eerie glow, evil grin, vile brew, clammy skin”.. this spooky book of color poetry is full of great literary language and tier 2 vocabulary. It’s a perfect companion book for our Halloween Color Poetry Writing Activity.
- Monster Goose by Judy Sierra (illustrated by Jack E. Davis) – Mother Goose’s classic nursery rhymes reinvented as disgusting, hilarious, and spooky new verses. It’s a long book but our 2nd graders loved hearing one or two a day in October!
- Trick or Treat: A Happy Haunter’s Halloween by Debbie Leppanen (illustrated by Tad Carpenter) — This collection of funny Halloween poems is perfect because the poems are not too long! The darling illustrations by Tad Carpenter are the cherry on top.
- The Ride-By-Nights by Walter de la Mare (illustrated by Carolina Rabei) — This beautiful poem is brought to life by Rabei’s engaging illustrations. It’s a great opportunity to introduce your students to this classic poem in an accessible format.
- Boo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell (illustrated by Bob Shea) — In our experience, 2nd graders love the funky format of haikus and kids of all ages will enjoy the spooky guessing game.
“Here’s a spooky haiku just for you!
broom across the moon
pointed hat at the window
Can you guess who from this haiku?”
- Zombelina by Kristyn Crow (illustrated by Molly Idle) — Zombelina loves to dance and so she enrolls in a ballet class for real girls. But on recital night she scares away the audience with her zombie groans. Luckily, her devoted family cheers her on and she still has the perfect ballet debut. Molly Idle’s darling illustrations of dancing girls (and dancing zombies!) make this a must-read.
- Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace (illustrated by LeUyen Pham) — If we already have Zombelina, do we need Vampirina too? The answer is yes. Though both follow a similar storyline, they each have a unique feel and their own darling illustration style. Vampirina’s outstanding illustrations feel vintage and charming.
- Mrs. McMurphy’s Pumpkin by Rick Walton (illustrated by — Mrs. McMurphy grows a pumpkin that turns out to be a little threatening! It’s a bit creepy but not too scary so it makes a perfect read for 2nd grade. And the characters are unusual for a Halloween story. The villain is a talking pumpkin who is threatening poor Mrs. McMurphy. Everyday the pumpkin gets further inside her house and every day she sends him further away. But don’t underestimate Mrs. McMurphy! It’s out of print now but worth tracking down if you can find it!
- I Am A Witch’s Cat written and illustrated Hannah Muncaster — A little girl believes her mother is a good witch and that she is her special cat! The illustrations are a charming paper and mixed media style that makes the story even more engaging as the little girl tells us about her good witch mama. “I know my mom is a witch because she keeps lots of strange potion bottles in the bathroom that I am NOT allowed to touch.”
- And Then Comes Halloween by Tom Brenner (illustrated by Holly Meade) — It’s time to get ready for Halloween! This book covers the familiar rituals of the beginning of fall and preparing for Halloween. The beautiful poetic language and fun collage illustrations makes this worth a yearly read.
- Fierce Yellow Pumpkin by Margaret Wise Brown (illustrated by Richard Egielski) A small, fat pumpkin dreams of one day growing up to be as fierce and frightening as the scarecrow in the field. And then one day he has grown up to be a fierce, yellow pumpkin himself. The gorgeous language in this book lends itself for teaching some tier 2 vocabulary to your students.
- Halloween Night by Arden Druce (illustrated by David Wenzel) — “On Halloween Night, when it’s dark and scary, who can swoop through the air, with a swish and a flurry? ‘I can,’ said the witch.” Your kids will love discovering the eerie characters in this rhyming text. And the illustrations are stunningly charming! The literary language makes it perfect for teaching tier 2 vocabulary!
- Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli (illustrated by Tim Zeltner) — A little seed wants to be scary for Halloween, but he can’t scare anybody. But he grows and grows (great way to see the pumpkin life cycle!) until he becomes a pumpkin. Finally he’s a big pumpkin and gets carved into a scary Jack-o-Lantern. Warning this one is on the text heavy side.
New(ish) Reads We Love
- How to Make Friends With a Ghost written and illustrated by Rebecca Green– Essential tips to know when you meet a ghost! This fun read has 3 parts: Ghost Basics, Ghost Care, and Growing Together. In this book you’ll learn that ghosts’ favorite snacks are mud tarts and earwax truffles, they love to read, and you’ll want to watch out that your ghost isn’t mistaken for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you’re not looking! It’s ADORABLE and the pictures are irresistible. This story would be a great companion to our My Pet Ghost activity.
- The Scariest Book Ever written and illustrated by Bob Shea — The cute little ghost narrator in the story is tells the reader why it can’t go out on Halloween. He’s terrified about what scare awaits him, but each page reveals that the ghost’s fears are unfounded. The Scariest Book Ever isn’t so scary after all.
- Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler (illustrated by Will Terry) — Darling little Bonaparte is struggling to keep track of all his bits and pieces. His friends try what they can to help keep him together so he can go to school. Before long Bonaparte learns all the great things about being the way the is. This is actually a great back-to-school read with a Halloween twist!
- Zip! Zoom! On a Broom by Teri Sloat (illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet) — Finally, a good Halloween counting book! Ten witches start the story on a broom and one by one they they fall off the broom, counting down from 10 in a fun rhyming story.
- Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock (illustrated by Ali Pye) — Shy little mouse goes off for her first day at Moonlight School. Little mouse is a good hider and they all play hide and seek together. You learn from the darling illustrations that the teacher at Moonlight School is a nice little witch. But the story itself is not overly Halloween specific.
- Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Ryland (illustrated by Steven Henry) — A good, sweet, introductory story about Halloween. Sometimes little 3 and 4 year olds might not remember much about Halloween the year before! This book is a great reminder about the fun of Halloween with the sweetest illustrations.
- Boo Who? written and illustrated by Ben Clanton — Little ghost wants to play with the other kids but they can’t see him! He feels sad until they discover there’s a game they can all play together: hide and seek!
Here’s a video of us chatting about some of our favorite Halloween reads!