Kids can address fear via Halloween books

Oct. 29, 2011 at 2:06 AM
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MANHATTAN, Kan., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Halloween is a great time to treat kids to scary or horror-related literary works written especially for them, U.S. children's literature experts say.

Phil Nel, director of Kansas State University's graduate program in children's literature, said many might think having kids read scary stories sounds like a recipe for nightmares, but many of these books can help kids confront their fears.

"A book is a safe place to explore fear -- much, much safer than the real world," Nel said in a statement. "And if a book is too scary for a child, she or he can close the cover and stop reading it."

When it comes to books in which Halloween is a major part of the plot, Anne Phillips, associate professor of English at Kansas State University, said young children will enjoy the picture book "John Pig's Halloween" by David McPhail. The book depicts what happens when John Pig is too timid to go out and trick-or-treat. With the help of a friendly witch, John discovers that Halloween can be a wonderful holiday, Phillips said.

Another possibility is "Six Creepy Sheep" by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler, with illustrations by John O'Brien.

"This picture and counting book follows six friends who decide to trick-or-treat one spooky Halloween night and they meet all kinds of interesting creatures, including a passel of pirates, who turn out to be pigs; a herd of hobos, which are horses; and a gaggle of goblins, which are geese; and many other interesting creatures," Phillips said.

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