This was originally published as a Sunday Stew article. You can view it here.
I thought that I would also publish it here because the original Samhain/Halloween Reading is a pretty popular post. You can view it here
Collecting children’s books is a personal hobby of mine. Some favorites are about witches, magic, or Halloween. I like to have a wide variety, and I also try to collect each one of a series. Sometimes that is easier as a thought than actuality, because the older books are hard to come by. I like to collect favorite books that I enjoyed from my childhood as well as finding new favorites. I do have grandchildren, so when they visit I love to read and share my books with them.
I’ve compiled a list of fun reads today. I wouldn’t really call them educational, with the exception of the first one; it touches on the history of Halloween in a simplified manner.
Some of these will have to be found as used books on Amazon or Ebay. Finding new versions is possible, but it could be expensive.
Some of these aren’t specifically Halloween stories, but are good reads nonetheless.
Let’s Find Out About Halloween by Paulette Cooper published in 1972, has delightful artwork by Errol Le Cain. It takes the reader through Halloween beginning with trick-or-treating. The origins of Halloween are told, as well as beliefs from other countries, in a simplified manner. Its main focus is on the modern childhood celebration of Halloween.
Old Black Witch by Wende and Harry Devlin (illustrator) first published in 1963. Nicky and his mother are looking for an old house to buy and turn into a tearoom in New England. They purchase Old Witch’s home and end up letting her live in the attic and make blueberry pancakes for the tearoom. Old Witch saves the day by turning some burglars into frogs. BONUS: you get the recipe for blueberry pancakes on the back of the book.
A Very Scary Witch Story by Joanne Barkan, Illustrated by Jody Wheeler, 1992. The illustrations contain pictures that glow in the dark, so it’s helpful if you read this one by flashlight. We first purchased this book when my daughter was in Kindergarten through one of the Scholastic magazines. The story is all about a young witch named Wisp. She wants to be able to go to the Witch’s Ball on Halloween night like her older sisters, but she has never flown a broom and her sisters tell her that she can’t go until she can do so. After her sisters leave for the ball Wisp is determined to get there. The story is all about the young witch’s perilous flight to the ball. TIP: If you are unable to get the glow-in-the-dark pictures to work, put the book in the freezer for 30 minutes. The freezer activates the glow.
The Magic Porridge Pot written and illustrated by Paul Galdone, published in 1976. A poor child and her mother are starving. One morning the child goes into the woods to look for nuts and berries and she begins crying because of her situation. An old woman appears and gives her a magic pot, with specific instructions for starting and stopping the pot. The girl runs home to her mother with the pot and tells her story about the old woman and instructions. They use the pot and are finally able to eat. The mother forgets how to stop the pot and one day she creates food chaos for the village with the pot. It does end happily, however.
The Witch Who Lives Down The Hall by Donna Guthrie, Illustrated by Amy Schwartz, published in 1985. A cute little story about a boy who is unsure of his neighbor, Ms. McWee. He says that she is a nice lady with a cranky cat. There are things about her that make him unsure, however, like her reading club and the yoga that she practices. It goes on to explain each reason that makes him believe that she is a witch. It ends with him going to her home on Halloween night and deciding that it’s okay to have a neighbor that is a witch.
The Little Witch’s Halloween Book written and illustrated by Linda Glovach, published in 1975. There is a whole series of Little Witch books, having 14 in all. The Halloween book is chock full of goodies. There are cards and decorations, parties and celebrations, and trick or treat. The sections include crafts, recipes, and games.
Little Owl’s Night written and illustrated by Divya Srinivasan, published as a boardbook edition in 2013. This is the boardbook edition that I have. I’m going to say that it is one of the best books that I’ve ever bought my grandchildren. It reads like a bedtime meditation. The illustrations are delightful. The story is about everything that Little Owl encounters during his nighttime flying.
Countdown To Halloween written and illustrated by Patricia Reeder Eubank, 2015. This is seriously my favorite board book! The illustrations are so pleasant! Little Kitty is excited every day for Halloween to come. He asks each of his friends in turn how many days and the book is the countdown to Halloween and the friends that he encounters.
I do hope that you have enjoyed the selections for Halloween reading this year. Have a blessed and happy Samhain.