Sunday, October 30, 2016

Do you read scary stories to children?

(witch = wise woman. Something I endeavor to be.)

Happy Halloween!

I recently wrote a scary picture book for children ages 6 to 9 years old and I brought it to my writing group for feedback. 

A fellow member asked, "Why would you want to scare children?"

This is my answer...

Yes to sharing scary stories with children...


We all want to believe that childhood is a time of endless bliss. That worries and fears are foreign to the mind of every child. But this desire may leave your child unequipped to deal with their fears--great and small.

Few times in life are you as vulnerable as you are in childhood. Where you go, what you do, who you meet are largely beyond your control. Your parents go to work and leave you in the care of an adult you just meet. You're outside playing and your neighbour's snarling dog confronts you. What do you do?

 'It's a spooky time to be a kid... let's give them some tools to cope with it.' -writes Greg Ruth  in his article Why Horror is Good for You and Even Better for Your Kid  

Sharing scary stories with your child allows the two of you to name her fears and  talk about effective ways to deal with them.

As Heather Shumaker writes in her article Why We Should Share Sad and Scary Stories with Kids'Books are a safe place for children to learn about the world and their own tough emotions.'

'Being frightened by a book, said [psychologist] Kenny, "helps forge resilience." ' -One third of parents avoid reading scary stories, study finds

(from my days caring for children in day care centres)

Years ago, as a University student, I participated in a heated discussion regarding Bruno Bettlehelm's The Uses of Enchantment.

"Why would you want to traumatize children?" I asked my classmates.

No to sharing scary stories with children...


Literature is a powerful tool that must be used wisely. We must always be conscious of the messages it is sending to children.

Some children are ready for scary stories. We are told that it gives the child an opportunity to work through their fears with the promise of a happy ending.

However, some children are not ready. Instead of helping them deal with real fears, it creates horrors of its own that the child's mind cannot escape.

'[W]hile scary stories are terrific, they shouldn't be forced on a child who doesn't want to read them.' -Scary Stories:  Are They Good for Your Child?


How can tell if your child is ready for scary stories...


Start with a mildly scary story such as The Monster at the end of this Book (this link takes you to a YouTube video reading of this book). Watch your child's reaction. If he shows signs of being afraid, check in with him by asking questions about the characters and the story.

Proceed with caution, at your child's pace.

I was a sensitive child easily frightened by books such as Sleeping Beauty and The Red Shoes, but as an adult, I enjoy reading horror novels. One of the scariest novels in my collection is...




On a remote island off the coast of Seattle, a man lies buried alive. Miles away, his captor--the elusive killer known only as Mephisto--listens through a transmitter to his victim's dying screams, waiting for him to reveal a secret only he knows. But learning the secret is only the beginning of Mephisto's maniacal game...
Tracking the madman are two detectives. In Canada, Superintendent Robert DeClercq, a man who has experienced horror up close. In America, Jenna Bond, a young detective who has never know true horror--until now.
Together they will uncover a trail of clues that will lead them to Mephisto, and into the bloody past in which he exists. Because the most terrifying secrets are buried, lying admidst the bones of the dead... 
Do you read horror? What's the scariest story in your collection?

Next post:  November 6th (published at approximately 5 pm)

Marketing 101
How exactly do you market yourself, your work, your book? What do you say to attract readers? Over the last six years, this blog has received 268,000 page views. What did I say to attract you to this blog?

Picture Book in Canada

Peanut Butter Press is a Canadian children's book publisher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We have found our niche in creating quality picture books that children enjoy because of their interesting content and engaging illustrations.
And this in from the Children's Book Council... 




Sharing my Author Journey...

It's hard to believe that I worked this hard this month but...

I sent out 36 submissions (this included picture book manuscripts, short story collections, a short story manuscript, queries to literary agents, a query for my YA novel and an entry to a contest) 
Oh, yeah and I also wrote a short story.
Can you believe there are only two months left in 2016?

4 comments:

Darlene said...

Wow!! You have been busy. All that hard work will pay off. I can´t read horror as I get nightmares. Always did as a kid too. I even got nightmares from Goldilocks and the Three Bears!! But a scary story once in a while is OK. The Little Stranger by Sara Waters is the scariest book I have read recently and it was very good. I am trying to make my next Amanda book a bit more scary. I do think kids like that.

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Darlene. : )
I'm adding The Little Stranger to my must-read list.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Holy Toledo Leanne — You're "got done" list is amazing. You work like a MACHINE! Whew!

Leanne Dyck said...

: ) Thank you, Laurie. And the really cool thing is that I'm having a ball.