Dive Into Diversity: Spooky Stories

White Plains is a wonderfully diverse community! Parents, children, and teens have expressed an interest in titles that reflect the diversity in the community, and Ashley, Kathlyn, and Raquel's “Dive Into Diversity” column will spotlight noteworthy children's and teen titles that are inclusive, diverse, and multicultural to fulfill that interest. Ashley's portion is aimed at readers in grades 4-6.

School has begun again and the weather will turn chillier as we head into fall and the spooky season! When I was a kid, I was a big fan of watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? and reading the Goosebumps books. To this day, I still love Halloweentown, Hocus Pocus, and The Nightmare Before Christmas (which I believe counts as both a Halloween and a Christmas film). Grab a hoodie or light blanket and your favorite hot beverage while you delve into one of these spooky, diverse stories!

Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
For children in grades 4 and up.
Library Collection: Print
Hoopla: Audiobook
OverDrive: Audiobook & eBook

Twelve-year-old Lucely Luna lives with her father, Simon, and helps him out with the ghost tours he runs during the weekends when she isn’t in school. But ghosts are more than just the family business. Lucely’s family is from the Dominican Republic. In her culture, there is a myth that fireflies are the souls of the deceased watching out for their still living loved ones. Lucely’s departed family members live as firefly spirits in the ancient willow tree in her backyard and she can see as well as communicate with them when they’re in their human form. But her usual life has been altered with worries lately. The bank is threatening to foreclose on their home if the ghost tours don’t bring in more money. Some of Lucely’s dead relatives have been acting scary as well as strange and keep warning her that something bad is coming. After learning about a spellbook used by the famous Las Brujas Moradas, a local coven of witches, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, set out on a quest to find it in the hopes of using a spell to help her spirit family. Unfortunately, the spell goes horribly wrong and evil spirits awaken to unleash havoc on the city. Can Lucely and Syd find the counterspell in time to save their hometown? Despite a bit of scariness throughout the book, this is a really fun tale with a lot of heartwarming moments as Lucely grows aware of how important that family – and found family – really is! Our Project LIT Book Club for Kids & Tweens will be meeting on Wednesday, October 13th at 4:30 p.m. to discuss and play trivia about this story. We hope you’ll join us! Please use this link to find out more information and to register.

Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith
For children in grades 5-7.
Library Collection: Print
Hoopla: Audiobook & eBook
OverDrive: eBook

“A sinister stranger stalks young Hoodoo Hatcher in rural 1930s Alabama. Hoodoo has already lived a life shadowed by tragedy; his mother died at his birth, and his father, a ‘powerful mojo man,' left town and ‘came to a bad end.' Hoodoo, despite his name, has never been able to practice folk magick like much of the rest of his family. And his name has made him the butt of jokes at school. Living with his grandmother, Mama Frances, in a tiny town has never been too exciting until a carnival fortuneteller’s dark predictions force Hoodoo to investigate his family’s past and the ways of hoodoo in order to save himself and his remaining family from a demon stranger. What does the stranger want? And can Hoodoo prevail when it seems the people he cares about most are keeping things from him? Smith’s debut is an engaging, creepy mystery that doesn’t shy away from the harshness of its Jim Crow setting but that doesn’t dwell on it either—the Hatchers’ community is largely independent of the white world, and Hoodoo’s quest and developing abilities unfold believably within it…Seekers of the scary and ‘something different' need look no further.” –Kirkus Reviews

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
For children in grades 4-6.
Library Collection: Print
Hoopla: Audiobook & eBook
OverDrive: eBook

“Harper Raine, 12, feels unsettled in her family’s new house in Washington, D.C.—especially in her four-year-old brother Michael’s oddly cold room. Michael’s new imaginary friend, Billy, seems harmless at first, but when Michael starts acting strange and lashing out violently, Harper begins to reconsider the rumors of the house being haunted. With the help of a newfound friend, Dayo, Harper explores the house’s troubled history and delves into her own past, questioning her missing memories about a school fire and an accident that left her with multiple broken bones. Occasional entries from Harper’s ‘Stupid D.C. Journal' provide insight into her feelings about the move, the creepy goings-on, and her resurfacing memories. Her estranged Korean grandmother, who lives nearby, grounds the supernatural aspects of the story in family and tradition, and the mysterious events that led to Harper’s accident and the family’s move are skillfully employed, offering an engaging reprieve from the eerie events in Harper’s house. Oh has crafted a truly chilling middle grade horror novel that will grab readers’ imaginations.” –Publishers Weekly

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