Gothic Children's Books

24 Gothic Children's Books That You Will Die For

It's always the best time to start your kid on reading Gothic children's books.


It can be hard to find the perfect books for your small spooky spawn. Most of the books people would recommend are ones about Halloween. But Gothic children's books don't have to be condemned to only ever being about October. There are plenty of gruesome books to give to your growing baby bat to make them into a bibliophile.

For kids:

1. "Dracula: A Baby Lit Counting Primer" by Jennifer Adams

Blurb: "Meet 2 friends, Mina and Lucy, and the 5 heroes who try to save them from the dreaded Count Dracula in Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer. Make sure you're wearing a necklace of 10 garlic flowers as you count wolves, ships, tombstones, and boxes full of soil in this witty retelling of Little Master Stoker's classic Gothic tale."

Kids have to learn how to count somehow, so why not teach them by counting castles and wolves and heroes? This board book is sure to be a hit for the baby bat in your life.

2. "Frankenstein: An Anatomy Primer" by Jennifer Adams

Blurb: "BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library."

You've heard the song 'Heads Shoulders Knees & Toes.' Well, this is that, but better! Why not learn about your feet with Frankenstein's monster!

3. "Five Little Pumpkins" by Dan Yaccarino

Five Little Pumkpins, and Five Little Pumpkins Came Back

Blurb: "With bouncy, rhyming text in verse from the classic nursery rhyme and bold, dynamic illustrations from acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino, "Five Little Pumpkins" is a must-have Halloween board book! Roll along with the pumpkins and their spooky friends as they get into some spirited Halloween fun. The perfect gift for little pumpkins everywhere."

A parody of 'Five Little Moneys Jumping on the Bed,' this book is sure to teach your kids to count and be safe.

4. "Peek-a-Boooo!" by Sandra Magsamen

Blurb: "Little ones will love this adorable new Halloween novelty book from the bestselling baby and toddler brand creator, Sandra Magsamen. They will adore the die-cut felt pumpkin on the front cover, and the peek-through mirror on every page is sure to entertain as they try on a wide variety of costumes and ultimately discover who is loved most of all! A perfect book for cuddling up with your little pumpkin and celebrating the Halloween season."

Kids love books with textures to touch and holes to have pages peek through. Find the best costume for your little fiend!

5. "Spooky Pookie" by Sandra Boynton

Blurb: "It's Halloween! What will little Pookie decide to be this year? Pookie tries on costumes one by one, but somehow can't find just the right thing. The resolution to Pookie's dilemma will delight toddlers and their caregivers alike. Told and illustrated with Sandra Boynton's celebrated charm and pizzazz, "Spooky Pookie" has all the makings of a beloved Halloween classic. Boo!"

Sandra Boynton was a staple in my childhood, and Pookie is a beloved recurring character. Your kids will love watching Pookie try on costume after costume, finding the one they like best.

6. "Eek! Halloween!" by Sandra Boynton

Blurb: "It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. 'WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Relax, silly chickens! It's HALLOWEEN!'"

Time for all the kids to learn the most fun things about Halloween in this silly story of the holiday. Don't be a scaredy cat, or chicken!

7. "Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody" by Michael Rex

Blurb: "Goodnight tomb. Goodnight goon. Goodnight Martians taking over the moon. It's bedtime in the cold gray tomb with a black lagoon, and two slimy claws, and a couple of jaws, and a skull and a shoe and a pot full of goo. But as a little werewolf settles down, in comes the Goon determined at all costs to run amok and not let any monster have his rest. A beloved classic gets a kind-hearted send up in this utterly monsterized parody; energetic art and a hilarious text will have kids begging to read this again and again."

Better than "Goodnight Moon" is "Goodnight Goon," a spooky and silly take on a classic tale. What's a better bedtime story than a story about monsters at bedtime?

8. "The Monster at the end of this Book" by Jon Stone

Blurb: "Lovable, furry old Grover is distressed to learn that there's a monster at the end of this book! He begs readers not to turn the pages, but of course kids feel they just have to see this monster for themselves. Grover is astonished — and kids are delighted — to discover who is really the monster at the end of the book!"

Make your child feel powerful as they turn the pages despite Grover's best attempts to stop them. A Sesame Street favorite, this book will have your child squealing with laughter at the surprising and heartwarming ending.

9. "Who's Inside the Haunted House?" by Courtney Acampora

Blurb: "See who's inside the Haunted House in this Halloween adventure! Peek inside the spooky house and see who's inside in this haunted Halloween adventure! Sturdy shaped pages invite readers to meet friendly Halloween characters on every spread. The sweet rhyming story and bright cheerful illustrations make the book just the right amount of fun and fright. So who's inside the haunted house? Come inside and see!"

Meet all the guests at the haunted house as you trick-or-treat your way through charming renditions of well-known Halloween monsters.

10. "How To Catch A Monster" by Adam Wallace

Blurb: "Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that's been so scary night after night! But what if things aren't what they seem and our monster isn't scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort? If you dare to travel beyond the closet door and into the land of the monsters... you might just find the very best reward of all. But with robots, lava pie, and a smattering of traps ― catching monsters is no easy business! Is there a monster living in your closet? Are you brave enough to catch him? Parents and children will love sharing this fun and inventive picture book, which reminds us that things aren't always as scary as they seem."

A perfect book for the child that is afraid of the monster under their bed or the one hiding in their closet. Help your kids stand up to the scary creatures they imagine up with this exciting tale.

11. "Room on the Broom" by Julia Donaldson

Blurb: "The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch's hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?"

Reminiscent of "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," learn if there's enough room for all the friends that want to climb up! Teach your kids the power of being helpful and making friends.

12. "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" by Linda Williams

Blurb: "Once upon a time, there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything! But one autumn night, while walking in the woods, the little old lady heard ...clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap. And the little old lady who was not afraid of anything had the scare of her life! With bouncy refrains and classic art, this timeless Halloween story is perfect for reading aloud."

Walk alongside the little old lady and she goes through the woods and hears spooky sounds. Perfect for letting your little one read along with you.

13. "The Hairy Toe" by Daniel Postgate

Blurb: "While out picking beans an old woman finds a hairy toe — and soon wishes she hadn't — especially when its owner comes looking for it... Humorously illustrated by Daniel Postgate this spine-tickling traditional tale is perfect for Halloween and shouts to be read out loud!"

One of my favorite stories as a child, be prepared to find out what comes to claim it's hairy toe from the old woman. "Who has my hairy toe?" You'll have to read to find out.

For tweens:

14. "Goosebumps" by R. L. Stine

Series Blurb: "The stories follow child characters, who find themselves in scary situations, usually involving monsters and other supernatural elements."

From mummies and yetis, to goo and ghosts, follow along as these kids find themselves surrounded by scary things in their lives. Haunted houses, theme parks, and camping trips might just turn into a paranormal experience. This is a series with so many books that you're tweens will be occupied for weeks.

15. "Monster High" by Various Authors

Blurb: "The books take place in a different fictional universe than the webisodes and deal with the Regular Attribute Dodgers (RADs) and their struggles with love, social life, school and not be outed as monsters to humans. Each of the books tells an ongoing story through the eyes of one selected character. In the case of the first book, it's Frankie Stein and Melody Carver, the second is about Cleo de Nile, the third about Clawdeen Wolf, and the fourth one about Draculaura. Another Monster High book called Drop Dead Diary was released on January 19, 2011; it was written by a pseudonym author Abaghoul Harris (rumored to be Ghoulia Yelps)."

Instead of secret monsters, follow along these characters living in a high school of creatures and cryptids. Let your freak flag fly, because even monsters can have school drama.

16. "The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids" Series

Blurb: "In each story, the Bailey School kids encounter a relatively innocuous character (such as a school teacher, custodian, etc.) who may or may not be a mythical being (e.g. a vampire, werewolf, dragon, etc.). The reader is left guessing whether the innocuous character is the said mythical being or not."

Read along with these kids to find out if all the adults in their lives are secretly monsters in disguise. When you get to the end, it's up to you to decide whether you think so or not. This series will leave your children with hours and hours of entertainment.

17. "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz

"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark", "More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark", and "Scary Stories 3: Tales to Chill Your Bones."

Blurb: "'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' contains some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time. Walking corpses, dancing bones, knife-wielding madmen, and narrow escapes from death—they're all here in this chilling collection of ghost stories. Make sure you read these books with the light ON!"

Turn on a flash light and gather everyone around for these spooky stories. And beware the girl with the green ribbon. These books will be perfect to read to your friends during sleepovers to keep them up at night.

18. "Bunnicula" by Deborah and James Howe

Blurb: "BEWARE THE HARE!Is he or isn't he a vampire? Before it's too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits...and fangs!"

Bunnicula is perfect combination of cute and creepy. No one ever suspects the little bunny, but how can you not when he has fangs?

19. "The Witches" by Roald Dahl

Blurb: "This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories — but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!"

Something wicked this way comes, and it might just be a witch on it's way for you. This book will tell an enticing tale about his stories coming to life as he meets not just any old witch, but the most important witch.

20. "Truly Scary Stories for Fearless Kids" by Bill Slavin and Joe Weissman

Blurb: "Here is an eerie collection of stories and poems from around the world and across time. With classic tales by such writers as Bram Stoker, Washington Irving, W.W. Jacobs, E. Nesbit and Guy de Maupassant, each story is guaranteed to send delicious shivers through even the most stalwart young reader. Readers will meet a groom who shows up for his wedding.... dead; a man who robs his wife`s grave and is haunted by her ghost every night; and even a boy who agrees not to reveal that he out-frightened the resident ghost in return for vanishing lessons. Fully illustrated throughout in fabulous color, this collection is sure to become a family favorite. Stories include: - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving - The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service - Dracula`s Guest by Bram Stoker - Buggam Grange: A Good Old Ghost Story by Stephen Leacock — Wedding by E. Nesbit"

A perfect amalgamation of classic horror and ghost stories, this book will give your tweens a glimpse into classical gothic literature. Get them geared up for the real deal when school hits with these hit stories.

21. "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman

Blurb: "When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life."

Welcome to a story that every kid has heard of when talking about gothic tales. This is a story that every baby bat should know.

22. "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Blurb: "IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy — an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack — who has already killed Bod's family."

Neil Gaiman is a beloved author of other books, but this story is a perfect way to slowly bring your child in to the world of spooky books. Spend the night reading about adventures in graveyards and learning about glorious ghouls.

23. "A Series of Unfortunate Events" Series by Lemony Snicket

Blurb: "Although they are classified 'children's novels', the books often have a dark, mysterious feeling to them. The books follow the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. After their parents' death in a fire, the children are placed in the custody of a murderous relative, Count Olaf, who attempts to steal their inheritance and, later, orchestrates numerous disasters with the help of his accomplices as the children attempt to flee. As the plot progresses, the Baudelaires gradually confront further mysteries surrounding their family and deep conspiracies involving a secret society known as V.F.D., with connections to Olaf, their parents, and many other family relatives. The series is narrated by Lemony Snicket, who dedicates each of his works to his deceased love interest, Beatrice, and often attempts to dissuade the reader from reading the Baudelaires' story."

This is a beloved story of children attempting to escape disasters. Book after book in the series tells of unfortunate events that 'accidentally' befall the children, and how they escape time and time again.

24. "Deep and Dark and Dangerous" by Mary Downing Hahn

Blurb: "Just before summer begins, 13-year-old Ali finds an odd photograph in the attic. She knows the two children in it are her mother, Claire, and her aunt Dulcie. But who's the third person, the one who's been torn out of the picture? Ali figures she'll find out while she's vacationing in Maine with Dulcie and her four-year-old daughter, Emma, in the house where Ali's mother's family used to spend summers. All hopes for relaxation are quashed shortly after their arrival, though, when the girls meet Sissy, a kid who's mean and spiteful and a bad influence on Emma. Strangest of all, Sissy keeps talking about a girl named Teresa who drowned under mysterious circumstances back when Claire and Dulcie were kids, and whose body was never found. At first Ali thinks Sissy's just trying to scare her with a ghost story, but soon she discovers the real reason why Sissy is so angry... Mary Downing Hahn is at her chilling best in this new supernatural tale that's certain to send shivers down her readers' spines."

There's nothing like a good mystery story, but throw in a ghost story on top of it all and you've got a great book. You'll be sucked into this book like a kid underwater.

Other good Gothic children's book lists can be found here and here.

These are the perfect books to start your little monster's To Be Read (TBR) list.

Popular Right Now

A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.

I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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What To Do When You’re Lacking Inspiration

Honestly, I have been in a rut. I have no idea what I want to do in life. I have been lacking creative ideas. So, I decided to try different methods to pull me out of this headspace.


It happens. Life comes at you so fast; it seems like it can only move up and then you stagnate. You get stuck, unable to pull yourself out of a cloud that seemingly engulfs you. It is okay. It is okay to be lost. It is okay to sit back and reflect. It is okay to be sad. But in these moments where you lack any type of inspiration or motivation, what do you do? I used two different methods in an attempt to pull myself back up.

1. Yoga

I became interested in the practice of yoga during my junior year of high school when the world seemed to just stop spinning. Things were not going well for me, so I decided to channel my anxiety into the practice of calm stretching. I started a yoga club in high school, and from there, found videos online to continue a free and relaxing practice. Yoga is a method to re-center and re-focus your values and recognize your place on this Earth. It can be hard when everything is so loud but doing just 15 minutes of yoga every morning is a reminder that you have a place and you are significant. You deserve to take time for yourself and quietly be, and the video above reminds me of that. I do this video every single morning before I leave my dorm room for the day. It allows me to refocus on myself and improves my mood.
This channel, Boho Beautiful, has allowed me to channel my stress into the calming practices of yoga and meditation. If I want a more rigorous workout, she has plenty of those too. By doing yoga, I found a passion and an interest. With this passion, I am reminded of my importance on this planet and that we all can do something to better ourselves.

2. Reconnect with yourself

Take a day to treat yourself. Treating yourself does not always entail indulging in your favorite foods or spa day. It can also entail simply just taking a few moments to breathe, be by yourself and just be. I have found that in LA it is very easy to get caught up in the fast-paced society, always searching for something better. However, oftentimes if you sit and reflect you will realize that you are exactly where you should be and are probably doing a lot more than you think. By reflecting I realized that I have been caught up in the mindset of "I can do better" or "I can do more". But, again, you are exactly where you should be. Slow down. Appreciate you.

While it is very easy to get caught up in the neverending cycle of social, economic, or status climbing in LA, remember that everyone has times when they lose motivation. We all have rock bottoms where it seems like nothing could get worst. But with this rock bottom remember. It truly is only up from there. To find your inspiration again, try something new. Like yoga, you may have a passion that reminds you why you are here. Remember to treat yourself. Sit. It is okay to do nothing every once in a while to ensure you are taking the best care of yourself as possible. Just sit. Be. Let the motion continue around you. And remember, it is okay to not always be a part of that movement.

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