The best creepy dollhouse books for middle grade readers

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved dollhouses, from the one my mom built for me when I was ten, to the ones I refinished and decorated as an adult with my own kids. There’s something magical and mysterious about miniature rooms, tiny furnishings, and dolls who may have secret lives unknown to us. My first novel, Time Windows, features a dollhouse found in an attic that allows Miranda to see through its windows into different times in her real house’s past. In my second dollhouse novel, Sweet Miss Honeywell’s Revenge, Zibby’s antique dollhouse turns out to be teeming with ghosts. I am intrigued by other authors’ novels of dollhouses, and I hope you will enjoy those on this list as well as my own two creepy tales.


I wrote...

Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge: A Ghost Story

By Kathryn Reiss,

Book cover of Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge: A Ghost Story

What is my book about?

Zibby knows there's something very wrong with the dilapidated antique dollhouse she bought for her twelfth birthday at a miniatures market. She hears strange rustlings in the house and one of the dolls never seems to be where she left it. Most frightening of all, whatever make-believe Zibby plays with the dolls comes true—but in a warped, twisted kind of way. Terrified, she tracks down the original owner and learns that the dollhouse is haunted by the ghost of a stern and terrifying governess named Miss Honeywell. Zibby and her friends must race against time to lay this ghost to rest before someone else winds up dead.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Dollhouse Murders

Kathryn Reiss Why did I love this book?

In this book the dollhouse is in the attic. The main character, Amy, is terrified by the scratching noises and flashing lights coming from the dollhouse. And the dollhouse dolls are never where Amy left them. This haunting novel combines complicated family secrets with a spine-tingling mystery. I love that the dollhouse is connected to secrets in Amy’s own family—and a murder long from long ago.

By Betty Ren Wright, Leo Nickolls (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Dollhouse Murders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Dolls can't move by themselves. . . . Or can they?

This special anniversary edition of the hair-raising mystery that's kept readers up at night for thirty-five years features a foreword by Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine.

Amy is terrified. She hears scratching and scurrying noises coming from the dollhouse in the attic, and the dolls she was playing with are not where she left them. Dolls can't move by themselves, she tells herself. But every night when Amy goes up to check on the dollhouse, it's filled with an eerie light and the dolls have moved again! Are the dolls…


Book cover of The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story

Kathryn Reiss Why did I love this book?

Alice and her mom move to a huge manor house where Alice's mom will take care of a rich old lady. Then Alice finds a dollhouse in the attic that's an exact replica of the house she's living in. (What is it about dollhouses hidden away in attics?) But the tale moves in a very different direction when Alice wakes up one morning to find a strange girl asleep next to her in her bed—a girl who looks just like a doll from the dollhouse. Where has she come from? What is her connection to the dollhouse, and to the unpleasant woman who owns it? 

I love the way this novel merges mystery and ghost story.  I was immediately hooked. 

By Charis Cotter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dollhouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A creepy, mysterious dollhouse takes center stage in this atmospheric middle-grade mystery for fans of Doll Bones and Small Spaces.

Alice's world is falling apart. Her parents are getting a divorce, and they've cancelled their yearly cottage trip -- the one thing that gets Alice through the school year. Instead, Alice and her mom are heading to some small town where Alice's mom will be a live-in nurse to a rich elderly lady.

The house is huge, imposing and spooky, and everything inside is meticulously kept and perfect -- not a fun place to spend the summer. Things start to…


Book cover of Mindy's Mysterious Miniature

Kathryn Reiss Why did I love this book?

This is the one that will really appeal to readers who wish they could shrink down to the right size to enter into a dollhouse. Mindy finds the miniature house hidden in an old barn and can’t believe how realistic it is. The tiny furnishings are almost too realistic... But before she figures out its terrible secret, she and her neighbor become trapped inside!  

I always wanted to shrink down small enough to fit into my dollhouses, so this story really appeals.  

By Jane Louise Curry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mindy's Mysterious Miniature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A young girl and her neighbor become mysteriously trapped inside an elaborate dollhouse


Book cover of The Doll's House

Kathryn Reiss Why did I love this book?

A little wooden doll named Tottie is excited when an antique dollhouse is given to the children in her human family. But while the dollhouse itself is lovely, a dreadful doll named Marchpane comes with it.  She is a horror—and completely disrupts the harmonious life of the doll family. What to do? How can she be gotten rid of?  

This is a tale with a race against time, and an effort to restore balance to a damaged world. I especially love that the story is told from the doll’s point of view. Tottie is a sweet little thing, always worrying about others, but very determined to set things to rights before Marchpane ruins everything forever.

By Rumer Godden, Tasha Tudor (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Doll's House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Rumer Godden, one of the foremost authors of the 20th century, and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Tasha Tudor, comes a heartwarming tale filled with imagination and creativity that is ideal for any girl who has ever loved a doll so much that it has become real to her.

For Tottie Plantaganet, a little wooden doll, belonging to Emily and Charlotte Dane is wonderful. The only thing missing is a dollhouse that Tottie and her family could call their very own. But when the dollhouse finally does arrive, Tottie's problems really begin. That dreadful doll Marchpane comes to…


Book cover of The Doll House Caper

Kathryn Reiss Why did I love this book?

The Dollhouse family in this novel comes to life every Christmas. This year feels different because the three boys in their human family are growing up and don’t seem interested in playing with them. Worse still, the Dollhouse family learns that burglars are planning to break into the house and steal the valuables—and possibly the dollhouse itself. How can they warn the human family when the humans don’t even believe they are real? They make plan after desperate plan, and as each plan fails, they must come up with a solution before it is too late.

This story made me chuckle even as the plot thickens and the danger intensifies. I love the blend of fantasy and invention, and the satisfying ending.

By Jean S. O'Connell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Doll House Caper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vintage book


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Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

By Rebecca Wellington,

Book cover of Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

Rebecca Wellington Author Of Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am adopted. For most of my life, I didn’t identify as adopted. I shoved that away because of the shame I felt about being adopted and not truly fitting into my family. But then two things happened: I had my own biological children, the only two people I know to date to whom I am biologically related, and then shortly after my second daughter was born, my older sister, also an adoptee, died of a drug overdose. These sequential births and death put my life on a new trajectory, and I started writing, out of grief, the history of adoption and motherhood in America. 

Rebecca's book list on straight up, real memoirs on motherhood and adoption

What is my book about?

I grew up thinking that being adopted didn’t matter. I was wrong. This book is my journey uncovering the significance and true history of adoption practices in America. Now, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the renewed debate over women’s reproductive rights places an even greater emphasis on adoption. As a mother, historian, and adoptee, I am uniquely qualified to uncover the policies and practices of adoption.

The history of adoption, reframed through the voices of adoptees like me, and mothers who have been forced to relinquish their babies, blows apart old narratives about adoption, exposing the fallacy that adoption is always good.

In this story, I reckon with the pain and unanswered questions of my own experience and explore broader issues surrounding adoption in the United States, including changing legal policies, sterilization, and compulsory relinquishment programs, forced assimilation of babies of color and Indigenous babies adopted into white families, and other liabilities affecting women, mothers, and children. Now is the moment we must all hear these stories.

Who Is a Worthy Mother?: An Intimate History of Adoption

By Rebecca Wellington,

What is this book about?

Nearly every person in the United States is affected by adoption. Adoption practices are woven into the fabric of American society and reflect how our nation values human beings, particularly mothers. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the renewed debate over women's reproductive rights places an even greater emphasis on adoption. As a mother, historian, and adoptee, Rebecca C. Wellington is uniquely qualified to uncover the policies and practices of adoption. Wellington's timely-and deeply researched-account amplifies previously marginalized voices and exposes the social and racial biases embedded in the United States' adoption industry.…


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