Scare these kids and they love it. They rush in with the scary books and relish telling me they had nightmares. My students can’t get enough of scary stuff so I welcomed Bearport Publishing company’s new Scary Places series. Sarah Parvis has written Haunted Hotels, Ghost Towns, and Creepy Castles, while Dinah Williams wrote Haunted Houses, Spooky Cemeteries, and Abandoned Insane Asylums.
Intended for the interests of Grades 4-8 these six are a must have for middle schools. As for elementary schools, I’m going to suggest five of the titles. The sixth one should be in every high school also. Read on in this post and the next to see why I say this. Am I censoring that title? Ooo, you’ll have to decide for yourself.
When it comes to the elementary grades, I had some reservations about only one of the titles so I spoke with Adam Siegel, Bearport’s Editorial Director and the editor for Scary Places, about this series. I may be intimidating to editors when I ask them why they wrote certain series and for whom they’re aimed, but Adam stayed late at work to chat. He explained the series was created to engage students in learning about historical places through history, legend, culture, and folklore. "Kids love scary places!" Adam added. Bearport aimed to get kids excited about reading while learning at the same time without realizing it.
The format of this series is perfect for this age group. Each title contains the top eleven scary places in their category with each on a two-page spread. The Haunted House title includes Lizzie Borden’s House, the Winchester Mystery House, the Myrtles Plantation and 8 other equally mysterious homes from the United States. Spooky Cemetaries includes places in Asia, Africa, and Europe, while Ghost Towns has the greatest variety of places around the world with Roanoke Island, the Anasazi cliff dwellings, Angkor, Cambodia, Pompeii, Uxmal, and six others.
Each title has a map at the end showing where these scary places are in the world. A creative educator can take advantage of student interest to inspire discoveries in geography. I found that wherever I carried these titles teens and adults would take the books from me to examine them. Students were rubbing their hands with anticipation of reading. Two of them took turns reading about scary places from their books – each trying to top the other with the fear factor. Interest is high and these titles meet a need.