The Kids Are All Right

Children’s Books for the Spooky Season

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

I have to admit that Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I am not a huge fan of scary books or scary movies or horror. So around this time, I always open packages of review books from publishers with one eye closed. Some of the covers of spooky books really scare me! But I know so many kids love to be scared or love the holiday, so here are some book picks for Halloween!

Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima (picture book)

I am a huge fan of Jessie Sima’s work (Not Quite Narwhal is adorable!), so I was thrilled to see Jessie’s new book come out. The story centers around this house you see on the cover. She is a little spooky, a little cobwebby, her hinges creak, and her pipes bang. She thinks she might be haunted, which is not a good thing because nice families don’t want to live in haunted houses! Is House destined to be alone forever?

Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Amber Ren

Tracey Baptiste’s wonderfully scary middle grade series The Jumbies is now for the picture book crowd! Inspired by traditional Caribbean tails, most people think that jumbies exist only in stories. But Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself, sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends.…

Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago (picture book)

This darling book by Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago is about Gustavo, who is very good at all the ghostly things. But making friends is a whole different skill, one that he has never mastered because no one can see him! Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves?

The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race by Max Brallier (middle grade book)

I love so much about Max Brallier’s hugely popular The Last Kids on Earth series. He creates fun and fantastic worlds, his characters are believable as they face very dangerous situations, and there is plenty of humor. I can see why so many readers are drawn to these stories. I actually gifted a whole set to a fifth grade class I was mentoring a couple of years ago, and I got a lot of mail from them telling me that they loved the books. This is the seventh book in the series, so if you’re new to it, start from the first one (The Last Kids on Earth) and read them all.

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo (middle grade book)

Charlie Hernández loves his Latin American heritage: the culture, the art, and especially the myths. His abuela has shared stories with him since he was young, and Charlie knows them all, every monster and ghoul who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. But when the myths become real, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind.

What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time!

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*



We’re giving away five copies of Sleepless by Romy Hausmann to five lucky Riot readers!

Enter here for a chance, or click the image below!

From the author of the international bestseller Dear Child, a haunting and thrilling new novel of friendship and murder.

Riot Rundown


Today In Books

Marvel’s ETERNALS Gets Review Bombed Due to LGBTQIA+ Representation: Today in Books

Stacey Abrams’ Never Tell Being Redeveloped at CBS with Barbara Hall

CBS has put an adaptation of Stacey Abrams’ novel Never Tell back in development with new writer Barbara Hall (Madam Secretary). The project is based on a thriller by Stacey Abrams (written under the name Selena Montgomery) in which a linguist takes on a new identity as a professor in New Orleans to escape the secrets of her past. There, she teams up with a journalist and a local detective to solve crimes in the city. Never Tell is being produced by Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi’s PatMa Productions and CBS Studios.

Marvel’s Eternals Gets Review Bombed Due to LGBTQIA+ Representation

Marvel’s Eternals is heading to theaters across the US in early November, and the Chloe Zhao-directed film has thus far received largely positive reviews. However, the upcoming Marvel movie has already been hit by review-bombers on IMDB because of the LGBTQIA+ representation in the film. Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos is the first openly gay MCU character, and the film will include a gay kiss. Some reviewers on IMDB have accused the film of being “woke and mediocre” and say the movie “tick[s] all the Hollywood Woke boxes.” IMDB has since removed the negative reviews and the review section for the movie has been closed until Eternals is released on November 5th.

Authors Respond to Investigation of Their Books in Texas Schools

On Tuesday, Texas state representative Matt Krause released a list of 850 books under investigation in public schools. Krause did not explain why the books were chosen, but the majority of the books on the list were included because of their discussion of race and/or sexuality. Now, authors are responding to their books being included on the list.

Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism, tweeted, “A couple of folks have reached out about my book being banned. And y’all I am in great company, but also? This is a fight…I’ll write more books. We will write more books. I’ll tweet & make TikToks & do book events & write articles. I’m not exactly a delicate flower. I write like a knife for a reason. Baby I will cut through one way or another. It doesn’t have to be a butcher knife, it can be an ice pick or a scalpel.”

Can’t Take That Away author Steven Salvator tweeted, “We did it, Joe! Can’t Take That Away has finally made a list! Life imitating art imitating art, much?”

Texas school officials have until November 12th to respond to Krause’s list of books that he claims might violate state laws.

Barnes & Noble Names Third-Annual Book of the Year Finalists

Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year Finalists, chosen by booksellers working across B&N company stores, have been announced. The books chosen include fiction and nonfiction across a wide range of genres.

True Story

Henry Louis Gates is Leading a New Book Series

Hello nonfiction friends, and happy early Halloween! This weekend I’m excited to tag along trick or treating with some little friends in my life and talk to anyone who will listen about The Great Halloween Blizzard of 1991 (if you know a Minnesotan of a certain age, you know what I’m talking about).

Literary scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is launching a new book series about Black thinkers and artists, each written by a contemporary author. The series will begin appearing in 2023 with pairings like Farah Griffin on Toni Morrison and Brandon Terry on Malcolm X. Gates said the idea is to allow authors to take a more personal take on each subject, which just sounds so incredibly interesting.

Jeff Horwitz, leader of the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook reporting, is writing a book! The book will be a look at “how Facebook, through its algorithm and its decision-making at the highest levels, amplified and distorted human behavior.” On Twitter, Horwitz said the book is going to focus on employees in the Integrity, Newsfeed, Policy, and Civic teams of Facebook. I’m absolutely fascinated by everything that’s coming out about the problems at Facebook and can’t wait to see more of it synthesized in book form. If you can’t wait, I highly recommend The Ugly Truth by Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel.

There have been a few stories lately about new (or updating) nonfiction imprints: 

And this last one isn’t really a news item, just a newsletter edition I want to highlight if you, like me, are struggling a bit with life in October. Anne Helen Peterson on fall regression is so smart and thoughtful and helped me a lot.

Weekend Reading

book cover the genome defense by jorge contreras

I get to tell you about an actual nonfiction book I am actually reading right at this very moment! The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA by Jorge L. Contreras is an account of AMP v. Myriad, a case brought to the Supreme Court by the ALCU about the idea of gene patents. Contreras follows the case through the entire process, clearly explaining both complex scientific concepts and intricate legal maneuvering in ways I’ve found very engaging – no small feat! This book is great.

For more nonfiction reads, head over to the podcast service of your choice and download For Real, which I co-host with my dear friend Alice. If you have any questions/comments/book suggestions, you can find me on social media @kimthedork. Happy weekend!


🎃 Happy Haunted Riot, Everyone! 👻

Welcome back, ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, to the Haunted Riot! Whether you’re looking for full-on spine-tingling reads, just a touch of hair-raising horror, or are a spooky season novice, our writers have been brewing up posts that should suit.

Want some feel-good horror, or perhaps books rated Safe For Scaredy-Cats? Perhaps you need read-alikes for your favorite horror movies, or a travel guide to the most haunted bookish places around the world. Maybe you’ve got your thinking cap on and want to contemplate the popularity of gothic horror, or the enduring appeal of Stephen King to teenagers. Perhaps haunting queer tales are more likely to float your (ghostly pirate) boat. Pick your poison, and enter if you dare!

a photograph of a skull surrounded by lit candles, bathed in orange light, against a black background
Read This Book

Read This Book…

Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

I know I’ve been giving you all lots of very creepy and atmospheric picks this month. I am sorry if that’s not your jam, but I can’t help it—I love filling my October reading list with seasonal books! Since this is the last Friday in October and Sunday is Halloween, I couldn’t resist recommending one more creepy book this month, and then I promise I’ll go back to some lighter picks!

CW: Racism, allusions to child sexual abuse (nothing detailed), rioting, arson, anxiety, addiction and drug use (marijuana)

White Smoke cover image

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D. Jackson is best known for her incredible mysteries and thrillers, but White Smoke is her first foray into the horror scene! It follows Mari, a California girl who relocates with her newly blended family (which includes a new white step-dad and very annoying little step-sister Piper) to a Midwestern town that is hoping for some rejuvenation. Her writer mom has won a residency with a free newly renovated house as part of the gig. But things are weird from the get-go: the house is the only one on the block that’s not abandoned or condemned. There is a horrible stench in the house that comes and goes. Weird noises come through the vents, and the strangest things go missing. But perhaps worst of all? Piper has an imaginary friend and she tells Mari that her friend wants Mari to get out of her house.

This book is as chilling as it sounds, and one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much was because it did a great job at building tension on multiple levels. Mari has an anxiety disorder which is connected to her past, and something that happened that she’s still very ashamed of. Not only is Mari still struggling to come to terms with her past, but it has caused her parents to lose trust in her. This puts her in a vulnerable position to be starting a new school in a new town, then add on top of that a new step-sister who is out to get her. Between the town’s new vibes and her house’s weird happenings, it’s a lot for Mari to process. When her suspicions and anxiety get the best of her, it seems the less people want to believe her when she uncovers evidence that Piper is purposefully setting her up, and there is a deeper conspiracy in her new town. Jackson understands that not being believed when you think you’re in danger is about as scary as the prospect of a haunted house, and she leverages all of these fears and anxieties to tell a really compelling story about a town with a tragic fall from prosperity and a dark past. And where there are poor, marginalized people trying to make a living, there’s always the predatory rich ready to seize control.

This is a YA novel, but one that I think will definitely appeal to adult and YA readers alike because of its sophisticated take on horror and the dark mysteries in this fictional community. It’s hard to come up with readalikes in the YA field, but I think the closest I can think of is if you want a horror YA version of Alyssa Cole’s When No One is Watching or a (less gory) horror read in the vein of the new Candyman, this book is for you!

Happy reading, and stay safe this weekend!


Find me on Book Riot, the Insiders Read Harder podcast, All the Books, and Twitter. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, click here to subscribe.

Check Your Shelf

Let the Library Add Spice To Your Life!

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I feel like my face is slowly morphing into a Grumpy Cat-like expression behind my mask, and by the time the mask mandate finally ends, my face will just be stuck that way. I don’t know if it helps or hurts to know that virtually every employed person is going through the same troubles (overworked, understaffed, and underpaid), but boy has it been a week. I feel like I say that every week, but it’s true.

Be forewarned that the Banned & Challenged Books section is depressingly long this week. So, here we go…

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Penguin Random House has extended its temporary eBook and digital audio terms for libraries through March 31, 2022.

Campbell County commissioners are no longer allowing comments about the public library during their meetings.

A Drag Queen Story Time protester who has tried to shrink the mission of the Lafayette Parish Library System was elected to lead the library board for the next year.

Cool Library Updates

This library offers monthly spice kits for patrons to check out!

The Kent District Library (MI) is launching its own local music streaming platform.

Worth Reading

Librarians to the defense: Groups form to fight a conservative-led attack on libraries’ efforts to promote social justice.

Book Adaptations in the News

Tessa Thompson’s production company is adapting Raven Leilani’s Luster for HBO.

Casting update for Uglies and The House of the Spirits.

What to know about Dune before seeing the movie. (I like to say that I know just enough about Dune to send the most irritating memes to my husband!)

Also, mark your calendars for 2023 when the Dune sequel hits theaters!

The rise and fall of YA dystopian adaptation franchises.

13 book-to-screen adaptation changes that authors loved, and 14 that they absolutely loathed.

Banned & Challenged Books

Media refuses to give the title of a book pulled from the New Kent Middle School (VA) library “to ensure no other student could get to it.” However, recent footage from a board meeting revealed that the book was The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Floyd County Schools (KY) kill a $600,000 curriculum after a parent complained about the descriptions of “white faces” used in a book about Ruby Bridges, and said that the curriculum was teaching “critical race theory.”

A Cass County (MO) public library said that they will not be taking the book It’s Perfectly Normal off of the shelves.

Katy ISD schools have put New Kid by Jerry Craft back on library shelves after determining that the book does not contain any objectionable content. Meanwhile, a petition organizer says that the school district caved to pressure by returning the book to shelves.

North Kingstown High School (RI) elects to keep Gender Queer on the shelves despite pressure from parents.

The Bloomington Public Library (IL) says that they’ll use more scrutiny in selecting the titles highlighted in a monthly display area, after a parent complained that their child selected a graphic novel from the display that was not age-appropriate.

Why some North Hunterdon (NJ) parents want certain LGBTQ books removed from the school library.

Tennessee librarians speak out against a Chattanooga school board member’s attempt to ban books.

A GOP candidate for Virginia governor airs a new ad featuring a parent who wanted to remove Beloved by Toni Morrison from the schools because it gave her teenage son nightmares.

“Critical race theory” is the new Satanic panic in right-wing politics.

Saudi readers finally get to read banned books.

Books & Authors in the News

Award-winning children’s illustrator Jerry Pinkney dies at 81.

The mental health charity This Is My Brave declines a donation from Jamie Lynn Spears’s upcoming book, Things I Should Have Said.

The lawsuit against Jennifer Bickel Cook’s recent book about Mary Kay could pose lasting problems for company whistleblowers.

Numbers & Trends

Books about trauma have been especially popular during the pandemic, but are they really what we need to be reading right now?

Pop Cultured

10 Latinx horror films that will give you chills.

On the Riot

You should be taking advantage of your library’s website!

Book Riot has a new podcast about movie and TV adaptations!

A rare fragment from Shakespeare’s first folio is on the auction block.

Goodreads and the curious case of the wrong genres.

Why this reader stopped rereading their problematic favorite books.

Mid-book crisis: what to do when you lose interest halfway through a book.

Last chance to get limited edition Book Riot merch! Once October ends, it disappears.

Let’s all do something nice for ourselves this weekend, okay? Catch you next week!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.

Swords and Spaceships

Vampire Reads To Sink Your Teeth Into

Happy Friday, shipmates! Here we are, last Friday in October and two days away from my personal favorite day of the year. We bought the good candy in the hopes we’ll get some trick-or-treaters–though in a worst case scenario, hey, mini Snickers, right? The only bump in my Halloween plans is it look like we’re not getting the Colorado traditional Halloween snowstorm, but we’ll make it work. Have a great one, friends. Stay safe out there, and I’ll see you on Tuesday!

Let’s make the world a better place, together. Here’s somewhere to start: and

News and Views

Ursula K Le Guin prize for fiction to launch in 2022

Telling Our Stories: When Mexican Folklore and Oral Tradition Meet Sci-Fi

The entire concept behind Pixar’s upcoming Lightyear movie is shockingly meta

The Blockbuster That Hollywood Was Afraid to Make

The Enduring Appeal of Dune as an Adolescent Power Fantasy

Dune: Part 2 Officially Greenlit, Release Date Set for 2023

Asking the Tough Questions About Superheroes and Public Nudity

Kickstarter for From Here to Timbuktu: A Steamfunk Adventure

SFF eBook Deals

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark for $2.99

The Second Bell by Gabriela Houston for $1.99

Song of the Forever Rains by E.J. Mellow For $1.99

On Book Riot

Quiz: A Pirate’s Book for Me! Which YA pirate book should ye read next?

The best LGBTQ books that aren’t YA (lots of good SFF on this list!)

This week’s SFF Yeah! is about immortality

This month you can enter to win a Kindle Oasis, a waterproof Kindle Paperwhite, a year of free books, a stack of fall new releases, an audiobook bundle, and $100 to spend on books plus a romance tote bag.

Last chance to get our limited edition Book Riot merch! Once October ends, it disappears.

Free Association Friday: Vampires

It’s the last Friday in this monsterful October, and I decided to save perhaps the easiest monster for last: vampires! Boy, are they popular. But what I have for you is a selection of vampire (and vampire-like-being) novels written entirely by authors of color, and I’m only just scratching the surface here. Happy Halloween, my friends!

Certain Dark Things book cover

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A garbage-collecting street kid in Mexico city hooks up with a jaded vampire who is the last scion of an ancient family of Aztec blood drinkers. These two cynical survivors find friendship in each other as they dodge narcos and corrupt cops and try their best to simply survive.

Also check out her short story collection, This Strange Way of Dying.

Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson

In 1920s New York, Zephyr teaches night school for the underprivileged of the Lower East Side to keep herself fed, because social activism doesn’t pay the bills. Desperate for her next rent payment, she agrees to help a student to bring down a vampire mob boss, using her charity work as cover. She should have asked why…

cover of fledgling by octavia butler

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

An apparently young girl with amnesia turns out to be a 53-year-old genetically modified vampire who has lost her memories to an attempt on her life. If she wishes to survive, she needs to quickly learn where she came from, who she is, and why people tried to kill her–and are still trying to kill her.

A Small Charred Face by Kazuki Sakuraba, translated by Jocelyne Allen

Bamboo is a vampire “born” from the tall grass that is his namesake, shockingly gentle considering the necessity of his diet. He befriends a human named Kyo, and together they share a strange sort of life together. But other vampires of Bamboo’s type don’t take kindly to him communicating with a mortal human…

cover of The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo

Felix Gomez got turned into a vampire during his tour of duty in Iraq; when he comes home, things have somehow get even weirder. There’s an outbreak of nymphomania at Rocky Flats, which is not only a superfund site, it’s a secret government facility. He’s brought in to investigate, and it’s a race to see what gets him first: the vampire hunters, the shady government agents, or the aforementioned nymphomaniacs.

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

Jessica’s perfect husband turns out to be anything but; when people around him begin mysteriously dying, he confesses that he’s actually from an Ethiopian sect who traded their souls for immortality… over 400 years ago. His immortal brethren are trying to force him to come home, but he has a better idea: making Jessica and their daughter immortal like him, even if both of them would much rather keep their souls.

The Gilda Stories cover

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Gómez

Gilda is a woman who escapes from slaver in the 1850s and finds community and family in a group of benevolent vampyres. With these immortal companions and an ever-lengthening life stretching out before her, she goes on an dangerous adventure that’s filled with laughter and terror in equal measure.

Venous Hum by Suzette Mayr

After the death of an old high school acquaintance, Lai Fun and Stefanja decide to organize a twenty-year reunion. Of course there are secrets and drama… Lai Fun’s relationship with her wife is crumbling, she’s sleeping with a married man (and he’s married to Stefanja), and her mother, an immigrant and vegetarian who has… unusual appetites, has decided that she just wants Lai Fun to be happy.

See you, space pirates. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.

Unusual Suspects

The Strange History of the Worst Sentence in English Literature

Hello mystery fans. It’s Friday so I have a roundup of mystery links and news, plus ebook deals–would have stuffed the newsletter with Halloween candy but *le sigh* the internet has its limits.

From Book Riot and Around the Internet

When No One Is Watching cover image

Fondness and Fatalities: 8 Books That Mix Love With Murder

Nusrah and Katie talk about horror and suspense reads set in haunted houses just in time for Halloween on the latest Read or Dead!

What Murder Mysteries Get Wrong About The Law

Patricia and Liberty discuss recent releases including Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest and All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris on All The Books!

Thrills and Chills: A History of Fear Street

Elizabeth Holmes allegedly duped Betsy DeVos’ family out of $100 million

Velvet Was the Night Book Cover

CWoC Presents Edge of Your Seat Thrillers

Listen in as best-selling author Liane Moriarty discusses tennis, the writing process, and her new critically acclaimed mystery novel.

Robert Dugoni Signs Four-Book Deal with Thomas & Mercer

The Strange History of the Worst Sentence in English Literature

9 Shows Like Monk You Should Watch if You Miss Monk

How Amina Akhtar Changed Her Life at 40

Giveaway: Enter to Win a Fall New Release Stack!

Giveaway: Win an Audiobook Bundle!

Last chance for Book Riot’s limited-edition merch celebrating 10 years!

Recent Interests That May Also Interest You + My Reading Life

Silent Parade cover image

Reading: Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino, Giles Murray (Translator) / The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Streaming: Final season of Insecure (HBO Max) / Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (Netflix)

Laughing: the 80’s

Helping: No Hunger November and whether you’re in Virginia or not there’s a ton of ways you can help this weekend get out the vote before the November 2nd election.

Upcoming: Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake author Alexis Hall has written a mystery book, Murder Most Actual, coming in November!

Kindle Deals

Dial A For Aunties cover image

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

A comedy of errors mystery meets a romance novel for $6.99! (Review)

Know My Name cover image

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

An excellent true crime memoir for $1.99 (Review)

The Jigsaw Man cover image

The Jigsaw Man (An Inspector Anjelica Henley Thriller Book 1) by Nadine Matheson

A British procedural about a detective tasked with figuring out how there are new murders if the serial killer is behind bars for $1.99! (Review)

Leaving Atlanta cover image

Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones

A literary historical novel set during the Atlanta Child Murders by an exceptional writer for 2.99! (Review)

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See upcoming 2021 releases. Check out this Unusual Suspects Pinterest board and get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own, you can sign up here.