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Tracy C. Gold

AUTHOR, EDITOR, TEACHER

I Wrote a Picture Book. Now What? 

One of the best parts of my work as a picture book author and freelance editor is talking to people who have written their own picture books. I love hearing their ideas and guiding them along the process of figuring out what to do next with their books. 

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I recently found myself wishing for a centralized place for the resources and advice I most commonly share. When I first started working with picture books, I had to piece together all of this by myself, and a blog post like this would have been super helpful. 


So, here we go! 

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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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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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Free Virtual Event: The Basics of Writing Picture Books

Always wanted to write a picture book, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve written a few and don’t know if they’re any good, or what to do with them now that you’ve written them.

Join me for a free class on “The Basics of Writing Picture Books” via the Orange County Library System on Tuesday March 9 at 6:30 to 7:30 pm EST. You don’t need to have a library card there to attend. Anyone can register at this link!

We’ll cover picture book writing basics, trends in the current picture book market, and what to do after you’ve written a book. Plus, we’ll do a fun creative writing exercise! Hope to virtually see you there!

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A Book Deal in the Time of Coronavirus

The evening of Thursday, March 12th, Covid-19 was grabbing hold of the United States. I was sad that my regional SCBWI conference had been cancelled, and fretting about whether we should even see my parents and in-laws for my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday (we didn’t).

I had finally decided to stop checking the news, social media, and my email to hang out with my toddler and dog while we waited for my husband to get home from work.

Then I got a text message from my agent, Carrie Pestritto: “Tracy, check your email :)”

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