Is Horror A Genre That Children Must Avoid?

Some young readers may shy away as they find it too scary and worry about bad dreams at night. However, some young readers may find horror to be thrilling and even enjoyable. As parents we may worry about the impact, but should we reconsider if the child enjoys horror?




Children's fiction in horror typically have ghosts, witches, monsters etc that we do not see in our daily lives. To read about a character who is scared and yet finds the courage to overcome the scary situation inspires the readers to find courage in any scary situation that they may find themselves in. Books that are well written in this genre, clearly show the readers that ghosts etc,. are simply figments of one's imagination and need not be necessarily true.

Books that are well written in this genre, clearly show the readers that ghosts etc,. are simply figments of one's imagination and need not be necessarily true.

Making the fear of something/someone small and perhaps even funny

In Moin and the Monster, Anushka Ravishankar skilfully shows that monsters are a figment of imagination with a good dose of humour. In the book, Moin's drawing of a monster comes to life and is sure to entertain the reader, weakening the scary aspect of the concept of a monster. Anitha Balachandran's illustrations complement the text so beautifully in accentuating the humor element. It is is a LOL book!




Similarly, I Need My Monster! by Amanda Noll makes monsters under the bed sound funny and shows the protagonist accept a particular monster as his monster without whom he can't fall asleep! Stories such as these somewhat destroys all the hype around certain fears that find their way to children's minds. They help make these fear emotions sound small, irrelevant and even better something to be laughed at.

Listen to Rita Moreno read aloud this book. It is an absolute treat and will definitely dispel your worries and doubts about books of this kind.



Giving young readers a chance to see their fears from a distance

Writing down one's fears and worries is said to help as it kind of helps disassociate with them at some level. They have left your mind and hence don't bother you as much. Similarly, witnessing a character feel scared in a scary situation and finding out how the character musters all the courage to navigate through the situation to get past it, is an important lesson.

"The world is a scary place. By giving children scary books, young readers can be pushed to the edge of their comfort zone but still get a resolution at the end."- Cavan Scott, children's book author.

Paving the way for meaningful conversations:

Books beautifully pave the way for parent and child to talk about matters that otherwise may not come up in daily life conversations. If a particular story book is scary for some reason, children may choose to drop it. Discussing the reason why they chose to drop it would enable the parent to actively support the child and help them better navigate through what they fear.

"Instead of fueling their fears we can talk and explain that it's fiction. Kids understand."- Neha Jain, founder of Kahaani Box.


A cautionary note: Browsing the internet could open up a pandora's box of poorly written horror fiction.

The pandemic has made children more computer and internet literate. While this has multiple benefits, searching for random stories especially horror stories online may result in inappropriate content. Stories written by random authors often do not have a resolution of some sort and end abruptly. They are barely thrilling. Worse, they can convey completely wrong messages that innocent minds can easily absorb and be misinformed.


As a reader, I don't enjoy horror but my child does. How do I find good horror books?

One of the best ways to find good horror books is to buy books published by established publishers such as Scholastic, PenguinRandomHouse & Harper Collins. The other alternative is to seek help from a good librarian. Librarians are well versed in different books across genres and would be the best people to provide you with suitable titles.


To get you started, here is a list that Neha Jain from Kahaani Box recommends for the 8-10 age group.




Eerie Elementary #1: The School Is Alive! by Jack Chabert and Sam Ricks


Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He'll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it's too late! Source: Scholastic






Mister Shivers: Shadow in the Woods and Other Scary Stories

By Max Brallier Illustrator Letizia Rubegni


What is making that strange sound in the woods? Who wrote that dark message on the wall? These five spine-chilling stories will have beginning readers everywhere begging to stay up late to read (with the light on!). With authentically scary, easy-to-read text and creepy, full-color artwork throughout, this book is perfect for young children who crave lite scares. This scary story collection from New York Times bestselling author Max Brallier is THE book to share at sleepovers or around a campfire. It will send SHIVERS down your spine!


Source: Scholastic




Haunted library by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Aurore Damant


When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a real girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?









Nighttime Series by Todd Strasser and illustrated by Doug Cushman



The seven bite-sized stories in this second of the three-book series include a ghost train, a boy whose obsession with video games literally consumes him, and a hotel that still accepts guests . . . decades after its destruction in a fire. Just the thing for young readers who like their scares in small doses.








Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi



If you’re feeling brave, turn the page.

A game of hide-and-seek goes on far too long…

A look-alike doll makes itself right at home…

A school talent-show act leaves the audience aghast…

And a summer at camp takes a turn for the braaaains

This collection of all-new spooky stories is sure to keep readers up past their bedtimes, laughing, gasping, and looking over their shoulders to see what goes bump in the night.




Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker and illustrated by Junyi Wu



All that’s needed is a blazing campfire and a delicious plate of peaches and centipedes.” ―Kathi Appelt, Newbery Award honoree and National Book Award finalist The haunted season has arrived in the Antler Wood. No fox kit is safe.When Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they discover a dangerous world full of monsters. In order to find a den to call home, they must venture through field and forest, facing unspeakable things that dwell in the darkness: a zombie who hungers for their flesh, a witch who tries to steal their skins, a ghost who hunts them through the snow . . . and other things too scary to mention. Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen hauntingly beautiful illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes contains the kinds of adventures and thrills you love to listen to beside a campfire in the dark of night.



 

Think again: If your child does not get scared but in fact enjoys reading horror, what's wrong?


 

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Executives' Club program offers spoken and written communication skills development course for the 12-14 age group.

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