10 Spooky Novels for Upper Elementary

Image of 10 covers of upper elementary novels with the title 10 spooky novels for big kids www.fifthintheforest.com

Sometimes a spooky read is just what your students need. Whether it's Halloween season or not, what’s more intriguing than magic and mystery? In this post, I’ve compiled 10 kid-friendly novels that are perfect for your home or classroom. Plus most of these are part of a series! I LOVE introducing students to books in series. When they fall in love, the reading just keeps going!

Bonus: Read to the bottom to find 3 spooky novels for BIGGER kids. These 3 are a little scarier than the rest and would be interesting for mature upper elementary or middle grades. 

Cover image of Harry Potter, the Witches, Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories, Serafina and the Black Cloak, and the Mysterious Benedict Society

1. Harry Potter By: J.K. Rowling

A character all students should know: Harry Potter! This magical series has fantasy, suspense, and drama. J.K. Rowling’s writing will draw your students in and keep them reading each sequel!

>>View my read aloud companion for this title on Teachers Pay Teachers!<<

2. Roald Dahl Collection

Pick any Roald Dahl book and you’ve got a spooky classic! The BFG, the Witches, James and the Giant Peach, you name it. They will all leave your students feeling the suspense!

>>View my read aloud companion for The BFG on Teachers Pay Teachers!<<

3. Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories By: Rowley Jefferson

If your students love the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, this is for them! This time Jeff Kinney brings us spooky (but silly) stories. The comic-style pictures and quick moving text is sure to please! 

4. Serafina and the Black Cloak By: Robert Beatty

This novel is set at the Biltmore Estate in 1899. Young Serafina is 12 years old and works to uncover a mystery. Several young guests of the estate have disappeared and a mysterious man appears to be to blame. This novel is considered American historical fiction and fantasy. 

5. The Mysterious Benedict Society By: Trenton Lee Stewart

In this mysterious novel, 4 intelligent children are sent on a secret mission. Along the way they find that their school is not what they expect. When your students get hooked on this one, they can read one of the sequels and watch the Disney+ adaptation!

Cover images of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Chasing Lincoln's Killer, A Wrinkle in Time, A Break with Charity, and Goosebumps

6. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow By: Washington Irving

Spooking its readers for generations, Sleepy Hollow is the perfect short read. You’ll meet Ichabod Crane, a romantic school teacher in the 1800s who is haunted by the headless horseman. This is a classic tale every student should learn!

>>View my read aloud companion for this title on Teachers Pay Teachers!<<

7. Chasing Lincoln's Killer By: James L. Swanson

This non-fiction book reads like a fiction thriller, thus it is very interesting for students! You will learn about the 12 day chase of John Wilkes Booth with first hand accounts from trial manuscripts and interviews. 

8. A Wrinkle in Time By: Madeleine L'Engle

Meg Murry and her family go on a science fiction journey to save her dad, and in the process, the entire planet! Sci-Fi has been spooking for generations—and this one will keep your students on their heels. 

>>View my read aloud companion for this title on Teachers Pay Teachers!<<

9. A Break with Charity By: Ann Rinaldi

The author of this novel, Ann Rinaldi, is queen of historical fiction with female protagonists. A Break with Charity follows a young girl living through the Salem Witch Trials. While this story is fiction, your students will be intrigued by the true historical details. 

10. Goosebumps Series By: R.L. Stine

The classic horror series for kids-Goosebumps! This set is great for inspiring reluctant readers. With countless sequels, the reading will go on and on!


Scary Books for BIGGER Kids

Cover images of Coraline, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and Scary Stories for Young Foxes

11. Coraline By: Neil Gaman

When Coraline's family moves into a new home, she discovers a mysterious door to another dimension. Soon Coraline fights to save herself, her parents, and the souls of other children. This is classified as a dark fantasy children's novella and may be scary for younger audiences. There is also a movie adaptation.  

12. Scary Stories for Young Foxes By: Christian McKay Heidicker

This book is written in the style of "cautionary tales" told by an old vixen to two young foxes. There are 7 interconnected stories, all told while Mia and Uly experience dangerous adventures. This novel received a Newberry Honor in 2020 and is appropriate for older middle grade students.  

13. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children By: Ransom Riggs

Jacob, traumatized by a recent death, is taken to his grandfather's childhood home. Here he finds that things are not as they should be. "Peculiar" children live here in an endless loop and Jacob's help is needed! This novel is intended for a YA age group (13-17 yrs). 


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