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Tracy C. Gold

AUTHOR, EDITOR, TEACHER

12 of the Best Halloween Books for Kids

Woohoo, it’s spooky season! Here are some great reads to get your kiddos in the Halloween spirit. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to find these books used for cheap enough to hand out as extra special treats on Halloween!

Of course, I’ve got to include my own book, “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat,” on this list, but I thought I’d compile some other favorites, too. Thanks so much to my Twitter friends for recommending some books to include by diverse authors. I found some new favorites to mix in with this list of both new and classic Halloween books for kids.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of great Halloween books for kids. I would love for readers (and authors and illustrators) to comment with their favorites to grow the list!

For ease, I’ve included Amazon affiliate links, but you can order online from most local bookstores if they don’t have these in stock. All Amazon links here are affiliate links.

Not Too Scary: For The Littlest Kids and Up

Approved by my easily-spooked four-year-old!

“Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat” by Tracy C. Gold (me!), illustrated by Nancy Leschnikoff

Obviously, I had to include my own picture book here! Critter-loving kiddos love reading about this adorable bat and all of the yummy bugs it eats (Nancy Leschnikoff’s illustrations are fabulous, in my biased opinion). Mix in some science with your Halloween fun!

If Your Babysitter is A Bruja,” by Ana Siqueira and illustrated by Irena Freitas

Does your child love Halloween…but hate babysitters? Introduce them to the not-so-scary idea of having a babysitter come over with this adorable Halloween tale. Plus, it comes in a Spanish edition, too (“Cuando tu niñera es una bruja”).

If You Ever Meet a Skeleton,” by Rebecca Evans and illustrated by Katrin Dreiling

You’ve never met a cuter skeleton…or a better book about what to do when you’re feeling a little shy or scared. This one is a must for kiddos who love a stinky feet joke!

“Stumpkin,” written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Will this stemless pumpkin be able to live his dream of becoming a Jack O’ Lantern? Read and find out! The illustrations are stunningly simple in favorite Halloween colors.

“Mother Ghost,” by Rachel Kolar and illustrated by Roland Garrigue

A spooky twist on many favorite nursery rhymes! This book is so creative; it’s like multiple books in one. Younger kids will enjoy it on its own merit while older kids and adults will get an extra layer of appreciation by reading it in conversation with traditional nursery rhymes. You can even ask your kids what kind of twist they would like to put on a nursery rhyme!

“The Monstore,” written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by James Burks

My kid loves this one year-round! She’s an only child and still loves this, but it’s extra special for squabbling siblings who perhaps could be spooked into getting along.

“Spooky Pookie,” written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton

This tiny board book is perfect for the youngest trick-or-treaters (or for a short bedtime read for older children). So cute and fun!

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“Room on the Broom,” written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

This one has a classic feel, though it was only published in 2001 (so that makes me feel a bit old!). Fly through the sky with a very accommodating witch!

“How to Catch a Monster” by Adam Wallace and illustrated by Andy Elkerton

If your kid likes fart jokes, you’re probably going to want to get this one. Pee-ew! A great read for any child who is scared of the “monster under the bed” or in the closet or wherever, no matter what time of year it is!

“Ghosts in the House,” written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara

The illustrations in this one are so fun and bright. Younger children will enjoy the simple and high-contrast illustrations, while older children will get an extra level of enjoyment from getting the concept of ghosts turning into white sheets!

Slightly Spooky

My four-year-old partly loved these…and partly was scared by them. “Too scary!” So, read at your own risk!

“Boo Stew,” by Donna L. Washington and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

What a root-tooting-hoot this one is! Chef Curly Locks can’t find anyone to eat her creepy cooking creations. The town can’t find anyone brave enough to get rid of their terrifying Scares. Ah ha! When Curly Locks comes into town, she finds the Scares love her cooking, and follow her away from the townspeople to cook and eat happily ever after. A great read aloud. This one run’s on the long side; great for story times but maybe a bit too long and spooky for bedtime (especially for younger children).

“Los Gatos Black on Halloween” by Marisa Montes and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

What a twist, what a turn…all the scary monsters are actually terrified of…human children! Rhyme your way through many monsters (and a peppering of Spanish vocabulary) with this fun read.

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“Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat” is Officially Published!

I am so excited that this spooky Halloween book is officially published today! “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat” is a fun, informative picture book geared toward kids from ages 4-8.

"Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat": Halloween book by Tracy C. Gold

This book started when my literary agent, Carrie Pestritto, mentioned that publishers were looking for Halloween books. While brainstorming, I remembered seeing a million bats flying out from Congress Bridge in Austin, TX in a huge wave at sunset, setting out in pursuit of bugs. Boom, “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat” was born! I did some revising at an “unworkshop” at the Highlights Foundation retreat center, worked on it with Carrie and with my critique partner Tamara Girardi, and we sent it out to publishers!

Thanks to Carrie’s submitting skills, the book found its home with Kelly Barrales-Saylor at Sourcebooks eXplore right as Covid was shutting the world down in March 2020. Sourcebooks found amazing illustrator Nancy Leschnikoff, who created adorable purple and pink bats without even knowing purple was my favorite color!

I got some extra bat fact checking from my friend and bat expert Liz Mering, and worked with the Sourcebooks team to create what I think is a pretty darn cute book!

I’m so excited for this book to start soaring into homes. Look out for lots of fun events and giveaways coming your way in September/October!

In the meantime, here are a few places where you can buy the book, though any bookstore should be able to order it:

The Ivy Bookshop: 5928 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD: order at this direct link for pickup or delivery

Amazon (affiliate link)

Bookshop

Walmart

Barnes & Noble

Target

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“Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” on What’s for Launch Podcast

I had so much fun chatting with Maria Frazer on her “What’s for Launch” podcast all about what it was like to publish “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby.” Take a listen if you’re curious about what it takes to publish a board book, the poetry inside picture books, and what it was like to launch a book in the middle of a pandemic.

Also, I’m super excited for Maria’s forthcoming middle grade book, “Margarita in the Spotlight,” which is an Audible Original coming out this Fall! I love audiobooks, and this one is about a family of musicians, so it sounds perfect for the format!

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“Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” is Officially Published!

My adorable little debut board book, “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby,” is officially published as of today, April 13th, 2021.

Here is some amazing news: thanks to the generosity of my friends, family, and readers, I have had ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR preorders, which means I am donating ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR books to babies in need via ShareBaby. *Update–the total number was actually 184 when I checked with the local bookstores!

Want better news? Well, the books come in boxes of 40. So I’m just going to round up and donate TWO HUNDRED books to ShareBaby! I’ll be back to update this post when I have pictures of the gigantic stack of books going to their warehouse. *Update: below is the stack of books plus some diapers we took over in my mom’s car, plus me with Amina Weiskerger, ShareBaby’s executive director, outside their warehouse!

Copies of "Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby" that I am donated to babies in need via ShareBaby

Thank you so much to everyone who preordered, requested the book at their library, and helped spread the word. I am so happy to be helping two hundred families in Baltimore start their libraries.

Here is a darling book trailer to give you a sneak peek of the book!

You can buy the book wherever books are sold (at least online!), but here are some links to make it easy for you! I’ll be doing the rounds to sign stock at local stores in the coming weeks. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram to see where I’ve signed books! “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” makes a wonderful baby shower gift book if you have friends who are expecting or have recently become parents.

The Children’s Bookstore, 4717 Harford Road in Lauraville (Baltimore, MD): order via this direct link for pickup or delivery.

The Ivy Bookshop, 5928 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD: order at this direct link for pickup or delivery.

National Bookstores

Amazon (affiliate link)

Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble allows reviews to be posted before launch, so you can see what a few early readers think of the book here! 

Familius: My publisher is offering a buy-one get-one 50% off deal as I type this only for books bought on their site (code: BOGOFAM)

Target

Walmart

Indiebound

Local Bookstores

Charm City Books, 782 Washington Blvd in Pigtown: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery (local delivery is free!)

Greedy Reads, 320 West 29th Street in Remington: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery

Greedy Reads, 1744 Aliceanna Street in Fells Point: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery

You should also be able to find the book online via the website of local bookstores across the country, or call/email your favorite store to order.

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Halloween Book Cover Reveal on Tara Lazar’s Blog: “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat”

I am so excited that the cover for my book, “Trick or Treat, Bugs to Eat” is finally live! Illustrator Nancy Leschnikoff and the team at Sourcebooks Kids did such beautiful work on this book!

Here is a little video with the cover at the end that my agent, Carrie Pestritto, helped me put together!

To read about how I got the idea for this book, and enter to win a virtual call from amazing author Tara Lazar, head over to her blog, where the cover for this Halloween book was first revealed on April 8!

I am doing a preorder campaign for this book–if you preorder it, I will send you free stickers! I have details about that here. It comes out from Sourcebooks on August 1, 2021, with plenty of time before Halloween.

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Read New Kid Lit and Win with the “12 Months of Books Challenge”

If you’re looking for some NEW books to read to or give to your kids, my friend Tamara Girardi has built an amazing list of books coming out in 2021! She has organized them by month, so you can preorder books for a kid in your life and know that they’ll have books every month of 2021 (yes, I am three months late in posting this, but I hope Tamara will do this for 2022 as well!).

What’s the cookie? If you submit each book you preorder to Tamara’s Google Form, she will enter you in a drawing for a $100 gift card.

The books range from picture books up to young adult, and they are, at a glance, from very diverse creators, featuring diverse characters.

Of course, as I know well, the original month of a book’s publication isn’t always the month it will come out, so why not order two per month to be safe? (;

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New Release Date for “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby”

Now releasing March 16, Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby

Well, publishing my debut in a pandemic has caught up to me. Due to shipping delays, “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” will now be releasing on….record scratch…April 13th, not March 16th, and not the original date of March 2nd.

The GOOD NEWS is that I have more time to reach my goal of donating a few hundred books to babies in need via ShareBaby! (I’m at 140 right now, spread the word and help me get to 300??)

If you ordered this book for a baby shower or any reason that makes it a pain that it’s delayed, please let me know! I will likely get my author copies closer to the original date and might be able to help you out.

Details about preordering (and signed copies via The Children’s Bookstore!) here: https://tracycgold.com/preorders/.

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5 Tips for a Bring a Book, Not a Card Baby Shower

When I was pregnant, I went to a friend’s baby shower, and she asked guests to bring a book instead of a card. At first, I was hesitant—weren’t books more expensive than a card? But then I found the wealth of baby books available for about the same price as a card (under $10, and in some cases under $5), and I knew I had to do this for my own baby shower, too! After all, it was so much better to have lots of books we’d use for years than a giant pile of cards we’d eventually throw out.

Baby reads "Nita's First Signs"

Now that my daughter is almost three, I am so glad I did this! We have so many books that are signed by friends and relatives. Every time we read them, we think of that person. This is something we will treasure for years to come!

So here are my 5 tips to have a great “bring a book, not a card” baby shower. 

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15 of the Best Baby Shower Gift Books for Under $10

I did a “Bring a Book, Not a Card” baby shower, and it was absolutely wonderful! Every time we read one of the books my friends and/or family members signed, we think of them with love.

Of course, the trick to doing this without coming off as greedy to your family and friends is to find a bunch of inexpensive books to put on your registry! The good news is there is a wealth of amazing baby shower gift books to include.

The following list was compiled on 2/10/21, and it is possible that the prices of these books have changed since then. But at the time of this post, they’re under $10! These are all affiliate links. I will likely spend my commission on buying more books! If you’d like a longer list with options at more price point, I have listed some of the best baby shower books regardless of price here. None of them should break the bank!

“Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby”: shameless plug, I have to start with the book I wrote as an exhausted new mom!

“Nita’s Day”: A great way to learn sign language with your baby!

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Writing a Brilliant First Page: Mini Virtual Class via JHU Odyssey

Looking to join a community of writers and get some feedback on your work? Join “Writing a Brilliant First Page,” my monthlong virtual course with the Johns Hopkins University Odyssey program. This is a “lifelong learning” class that is open to anyone, anywhere. This is a LIVE, highly interactive course that will be limited to 20 students. I will, however, record each class, so if you have to miss one, it’s no big deal.

The last class I taught with JHU Odyssey filled up, so register before all the spots are gone!

More details and registration information at this link!

Dates:April 6-27, 2021
Meets:Tu from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM EST, 4 sessions
Hours:6.00
Location:Online: Zoom
Instructor:Tracy C. Gold (me!)
Fee:$105.00 

“The first page of your novel, story, or memoir is key to capturing readers’ attention. In this class, students will analyze excellent first pages from published works of various genres and apply what they learn to their own work. Each student will have their first page critiqued by the class.”

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