Tag Archives: halloween

Halloween Horror Reads for Teens

30 Oct

There is no better way to get into the Halloween spirit then to borrow some Horror-themed YA reads for FREE at the Hoboken Public Library. Below are four suggested reads that are great for Halloween, Day of the Dead, and even all year round. If you like to feel the anxiety and adrenaline that comes with being a little scared and comfortable at home, CHECK OUT these awesome reads!

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
by Gwenda Bond
Stranger Things Suspicious Minds
The hit thriller Netflix series has a prequel!!! In the series, we are familiar with curious characters like Eleven. Like most things in the series, Eleven’s past is still a mystery. This book investigates Eleven’s mother’s past and the moments that set things in motion for the original series. The author, Gwenda Bond, makes the story her own with respect to the show by introducing new characters and following along with the original story. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, this is the book for you.

For Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Horror

by Neil Gaiman
Leaving your friends and moving away is tough, and there are no siblings to bother in Caroline’s case. She is not afraid to tell her parents that it was not fair that they had to move. But her parents do not care to acknowledge it or her for that matter. She is the only kid in the building of weird neighbors like Mr. Bobo, the mouse trainer, and Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, the building’s fortune-tellers. Even they could not keep boredom away. She counted the windows and the doors to fill in time but stumbles on a small door in the wall. This door happens to open to another dimension where the “other mother” lived. The other mother was the replica of her birth mother, except she gave her the attention she craved, and she had the TWO BLACK BUTTONS for eyes. The reader can get a virtual taste of the story’s setting through the black and white illustrations sporadically throughout the book. Coraline could not wait to go through the door and hang out with her “other mother and father.” But the day came when the “other mother” asked her to stay with her at the price of letting her sew buttons into Coraline’s eyes. Coraline escapes, the other mother is not happy, and kidnaps her birth parents. What can Coraline do now?  You can also borrow the movie adaptation.  You can also check out a previous post about Neil Gaiman here.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Paranormal, Horror, Graphic Novels

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenJacob grew up listening to his grandfather, Abraham’s, stories. He told stories of surviving monsters of human and mystical forms during World War II. Jacob always looked up to him, but as he grew into a teenager, he started to doubt his grandfather’s stories where true. When his grandfather is found brutally murdered, he ventures out to the island setting of his grandfather’s stories to find out more about him and his death. He stumbles upon to an orphanage of children with peculiar abilities. There is a boy with bees in of him and a floating girl which are displayed in old fashioned style pictures throughout the book. Little did he know was that his presence made the children valuable to the murderous monster’s that lark in the shadows.  A movie adaptation is also available.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Orphanages, Mystery, Supernatural, Monsters

by Pam Smy
The Thornhill orphanage intertwines the lives of two girls. Mary was a mistreated orphan of Thornhill 35 years before Ella moved into the neighborhood. How do they connect all those years apart? The secret is a diary and dolls! In this book of traditional text and haunting grayscale illustrations, the reader cannot help but wonder what became of Mary and if she wants Ella to join her.

Grades: Middle and High School

Theme: Bullying, Orphanages, Ghosts, Supernatural

By Elbie A. Love
Young Adult Library Associate

Want more Halloween suggestions?  Check out our Halloween Urban Fantasy post and favorite Horror movies.


Learning about Dia de los Muertos

31 Oct

Dia de los Muertos, or day of the dead, is a celebration that started with the Aztecs of Mexico and is still observed in Mexico and throughout Latin America, as well as in the United States.

For Dia, which lasts from October 31 until November 2, families come together to remember the deceased. People visit and clean their relatives’ gravesites at cemeteries; build altars (or ofrendas) with pictures and mementos of their loved ones; and prepare foods that were favored by the deceased. The goal of these acts is to entice their relatives’ spirits to visit, as it is believed that spirits come back to the living world on those days. While the occasion sounds somber, it is actually one of love, celebration, and feasts.

Orale Mexican Kitchen in Jersey City has a great example of an altar in their front window, which has pictures of Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Jim Morrison, and Marilyn Monroe. Note the marigolds, the candles, and the skulls, all of which are also included in these types of altars.

orale altar

I first learned about Dia de los Muertos at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. After that visit, I decided to find out more about Dia and its customs and history.

I think the following books are great for learning more about this lively and touching celebration. These books are aimed at children, but I feel that anyone can enjoy them.

Day of the Dead, by Carrie Gleason












This book is a straightforward overview of the celebration. It is nonfiction, and includes a dictionary of terms and an index in the back. Readers will also learn about the history of the Aztecs in Mexico, and how Dia evolved after the Spanish came to the country.

The Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos, by Bob Barner











The text in this book is written in English and Spanish, which is excellent for those learning both languages. There is a rhythm to the story that makes it ideal for reading aloud. The colorful and visually appealing illustrations make the skeletons seem friendly and not scary.

A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead, by Nancy Luenn












Image via

This is the story of Rosita, a young girl who prepares for a Dia de los Muertos celebration with her family, during which she hopes to see her beloved Abuelita. This is another book where the story is told in English and Spanish. The textured artwork illustrating the story is gorgeous.

Are you planning to celebrate Dia de los Muertos? Have a happy and safe Halloween!

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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