Off the Shelf: Librarians' Recommendations - October 2021

Dr. Heather Purcell, Lower School Librarian, and Colleen Boerner, Upper School Librarian

Lower School Librarian

Upper School Librarian


Graded's Lower and Upper School Libraries provide reading materials for a wide range of interests and maturity levels, complementing and expanding on all curricular areas. But, with so many options available, deciding upon one's next read is not always an easy task. Graded librarians, Dr. Heather Purcell and Colleen Boerner, have come to the rescue!  

Did you know that Halloween originates from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people lit bonfires and dressed in costumes to protect themselves from ghosts? According to History.com, “Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.” Over the years, Halloween has evolved into a day of fun, with activities such as trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, dressing up in spooky costumes, and celebrating with friends, teachers, and family. 

This month, in honor of Halloween, Librarians Dr. Purcell and Ms. Boerner have selected spooky book recommendations for the Graded community’s different age groups. There is something here for everyone — regardless of your tolerance for fear — from witch tales and amusing mysteries to scary thrillers.

While you are planning your perfect costume for tomorrow's Graded’s Halloween Parade, make sure to carve out some time to pick your next book to put you in the spooky season spirit!

Enjoy your October read, and Happy Halloween!

Lower School

Pre-primary - Grade 1: 

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Scary Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman

The You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series consists of short, simple rhyming stories to be read in pairs or chorally. This addition to the series is made up of fun, slightly scary tales of witches, ghosts, skeletons, and more.

Grades 2-3: 

Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories by Max Brallier

The first in the Mister Shivers series, this collection of short illustrated tales will bring a chill as you read about neglected toys plotting revenge and a cold statue coming to life. 

Grades 4-5: 

The Most Frightening Story Ever Told by Philip Kerr

This Halloween story, set in The Haunted House of Books, has several surprising twists. Who will survive a night inside this spooky store stocked with ghastly tales? Will Billy Shivers take the challenge? Would you? 

For more creepy tales from the LS Library, from picture books through middle-grade fiction, check out this collection

Middle School

Grades 6-8

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn 

In this spooky tale, a family moves to a run-down old house in West Virginia, where creepy things begin to happen. Daniel and his sister, Erica, are teased at school and find their new surroundings frightening. Eventually, Erica disappears into the woods and is replaced by a girl taken 50 years earlier. Can Daniel save the day, or is his sister lost forever?


High School

Grades 9-12

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett 

Fans of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Collins' Hunger Games, and Golding's Lord of the Flies might want to give The Grace Year a try. Thirty-three girls are sent to an isolated island for their "Grace Year," where they must release their seductive, poisonous magic into the wild before taking their proper places as wives and mothers. Not everyone will make it home alive. This survival story also explores the dark undertones of relationships between women. 



Parents, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, Grandparents

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Fans of gothic suspense will enjoy this shiver-inducing tale. Set in the 1950s, 22-year-old socialite Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a manor in the Mexican countryside, to check on her distraught newlywed cousin Catalina. The manor and its inhabitants have a cursed, violent history with many secrets. Naomi will need all her wits for the battle that ensues. 


If you like dark tales and horror is a genre you enjoy, check out these additional titles from the US Library: Middle SchoolYoung Adult, and Adult.