100 books like The Screaming Staircase

By Jonathan Stroud,

Here are 100 books that The Screaming Staircase fans have personally recommended if you like The Screaming Staircase. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Mistborn

Wayne Thomas Batson Author Of Dreamtreaders

From my list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist.

Who am I?

I believe with all of my heart that each one of us was created with two achingly powerful inner drives: 1) the longing for new worlds and 2) the desperate urge to do something meaningful. I simply could never believe that human beings are all simply cosmic accidents produced by some sort of cosmic casino. I believe God created people and gave us each an instinct to seek our true home. The books I write—all 22 of them—are tales of flawed individuals, thrown into unexpected, life-changing events, and given the chance to journey through many astoundingly lush worlds, all in an effort to do the seemingly impossible.

Wayne's book list on fantasy with a unique ingredient or twist

Wayne Thomas Batson Why did Wayne love this book?

Mistborn was my first experience with gazillion-selling epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson.

Kel and Vin are the two main characters, and I bonded with them immediately. IMHO what sets Mistborn apart from any other fantasy I’ve read is the magic system. I don’t want to spoil it, but it has something to do with metallurgy.

The twist is in worldbuilding, creating a world in which magic exists almost as a natural property, seemingly adding new laws of nature that are absolutely unique to the fantasy genre. It was so cleverly written and believable. I loved it.

By Brandon Sanderson,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Mistborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brandon Sanderson - the international phenomenon who finished the Wheel of Time sequence - introduces a fantasy trilogy which overturns the expectations of readers and goes on to tell the epic story of evil overturned in a richly imagined world.

A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. The sun shines fitfully under clouds of ash that float down endlessly from the constant eruption of volcanoes. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk are condemned to lives in servitude, sold as goods, labouring in the ash…


Book cover of The Graveyard Book

M.R. Fournet Author Of Brick Dust and Bones

From my list on giving kids beautiful nightmares.

Who am I?

As a middle grade horror writer, I attribute my love of everything spooky to my early obsession with reading. Of course, my little brain was twisted already, but I found a perfect home in the monsters and ghouls of the library. These are the five books that inspired me to become a writer who scares children in the best possible way.

M.R.'s book list on giving kids beautiful nightmares

M.R. Fournet Why did M.R. love this book?

The perfect teen horror book doesn’t exist…oh wait, yes it does. Unlike the others, I read this as an adult, but wow! This was a huge influence on my horror book, with its scenes of living in a cemetery.

Gaiman paints certain evil things as beautiful and worthy of redemption, and I appreciate that. A murderer on the loose, a boy living in a cemetery with ghosts, and all manner of monsters lurking in the pages. It’s a gorgeous book and deserves that Newberry Medal on the cover.

By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Graveyard Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing his entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?


Book cover of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

David Neilsen Author Of Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors

From my list on spooky middle grade books.

Who am I?

I've been writing Spooky Middle Grade for a number of years, and before that, I wrote horror for Hollywood. Living in Sleepy Hollow, spooky is in my blood, and if I didn't write creepy stories, they'd kick me out. I'm also a professional storyteller and have scared the bejeebus out of kids and adults in places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Halloween is my favorite time of year. It more or less becomes a month-long village-wide celebration in October. Being inundated with all this crazy rubs off on you, and I have been well-steeped.

David's book list on spooky middle grade books

David Neilsen Why did David love this book?

When I read this book, I was thrown sideways and bowled over. It is just so unique! The creep factor is ridiculously high, and it goes places that are totally unexpected and unheard of in a middle-grade novel. This is not your standard spooky tale, but rather one that will eat into your soul and give you series willies.

By Claire Legrand, Sarah Watts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. An atmospheric, heartfelt, and delightfully spooky novel for fans of Coraline, Splendors and Glooms, and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster-lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does, too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he's not the only one. Victoria soon discovers…


Book cover of Oddity

David Neilsen Author Of Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors

From my list on spooky middle grade books.

Who am I?

I've been writing Spooky Middle Grade for a number of years, and before that, I wrote horror for Hollywood. Living in Sleepy Hollow, spooky is in my blood, and if I didn't write creepy stories, they'd kick me out. I'm also a professional storyteller and have scared the bejeebus out of kids and adults in places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Halloween is my favorite time of year. It more or less becomes a month-long village-wide celebration in October. Being inundated with all this crazy rubs off on you, and I have been well-steeped.

David's book list on spooky middle grade books

David Neilsen Why did David love this book?

A story about evil puppets? Sign me up! Oddity is a town only the Addams Family could love, with weird, strange, unusual, and downright wrong things taking place at all hours of the day and night. What I love about this book is the way it manages to give us an entire town of spookiness, and yet still find a plot that is even more spooky. The characters are unforgettable, and the villains are a joyous wonder.

By Sarah Cannon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oddity 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?

Welcome to Oddity, New Mexico, where normal is odd and odd is normal.

Ada Roundtree is no stranger to dodging carnivorous dumpsters, distracting zombie rabbits with marshmallows, and instigating games of alien punkball. But things haven't been the same since her twin sister, Pearl, won the town's yearly Sweepstakes and disappeared. Along with her best friend, Raymond, and new-kid-from-Chicago Cayden, Ada leads a self-given quest to discover Oddity's secrets, even evading the invisible Blurmonster terrorising the outskirts of town.

But one of their missions goes sideways, revealing something hinky with the Sweepstakes . . . and Ada can't let it…


Book cover of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies: Devin Dexter #1

David Neilsen Author Of Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors

From my list on spooky middle grade books.

Who am I?

I've been writing Spooky Middle Grade for a number of years, and before that, I wrote horror for Hollywood. Living in Sleepy Hollow, spooky is in my blood, and if I didn't write creepy stories, they'd kick me out. I'm also a professional storyteller and have scared the bejeebus out of kids and adults in places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Halloween is my favorite time of year. It more or less becomes a month-long village-wide celebration in October. Being inundated with all this crazy rubs off on you, and I have been well-steeped.

David's book list on spooky middle grade books

David Neilsen Why did David love this book?

I like a little humor with my spookiness and this book has humor to spare. Just the idea of a horde of demonic stuffed animals brings a smile to my face. Rosen does a fantastic job creating a fully-fleshed out world and filling it with interesting and engaging characters. But seriously, it's the bunnies that make this shine. Even now, just writing about them brings a smile to my face.

By Jonathan Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies 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?

Twelve-year-old Devin Dexter has a problem. Well, actually, many of them. His cousin, Tommy, sees conspiracies behind every corner. And Tommy thinks Devin's new neighbor, Herb, is a warlock . . . but nobody believes him. Even Devin's skeptical. But soon strange things start happening. Things like the hot new Christmas toy, the Cuddle Bunny, coming to life.

That would be great, because, after all, who doesn't love a cute bunny? But these aren't the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with. These bunnies are dangerous. Devin and Tommy set out to prove Herb is a warlock and to stop…


Book cover of Out to Get You: 13 Tales of Weirdness and Woe

David Neilsen Author Of Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors

From my list on spooky middle grade books.

Who am I?

I've been writing Spooky Middle Grade for a number of years, and before that, I wrote horror for Hollywood. Living in Sleepy Hollow, spooky is in my blood, and if I didn't write creepy stories, they'd kick me out. I'm also a professional storyteller and have scared the bejeebus out of kids and adults in places like Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Rockefeller State Park Preserve, and Washington Irving's Sunnyside. Halloween is my favorite time of year. It more or less becomes a month-long village-wide celebration in October. Being inundated with all this crazy rubs off on you, and I have been well-steeped.

David's book list on spooky middle grade books

David Neilsen Why did David love this book?

Writing a really good spooky short story is hard. Writing 13 of them is near-impossible. Yet Allen has put together an anthology of sheer terror, with each story hinging on something simple and mundane. Basically, Allen makes you afraid of everything, and does it with a smile.

By Josh Allen, Sarah J. Coleman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out to Get You 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?

Thirteen ordinary kids. Thirteen ordinary towns. Danger lurks around every corner!

"Wonderful and weird, compelling and unsettling." - Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor author

Get ready for a collection of thirteen short stories that will chill your bones, tingle your spine, and scare your pants off. Debut author Josh Allen masterfully concocts horror in the most innocent places, like R.L. Stine meets a modern Edgar Allan Poe. A stray kitten turns into a threatening follower. The street sign down the block starts taunting you. Even your own shadow is out to get you! Spooky things love hiding in plain sight.…


Book cover of The False Prince

Aly Kay Tibbitts Author Of Operation Latensification: HADES

From my list on young adult for spy lovers.

Who am I?

One fateful day in 4th grade, after finishing the Chronicles of Narnia, I picked up a YA spy novel off my teacher’s bookshelf. I never went back. I was immediately drawn to the depth of the characters, the nuance of how their public persona didn’t always match their internal thoughts, and their ability to succeed when no one thought they could. Eventually, what I read became what I wrote. Now, whenever I get overwhelmed, I love to turn to the genre that helped me through High School. Whether I reread old favorites, revisit my own stories, or find new friends, these characters remind me I can do anything.

Aly's book list on young adult for spy lovers

Aly Kay Tibbitts Why did Aly love this book?

When my roommate suggested I read The False Prince, I did not expect to be drawn in and read the entire 5 book series in a week. What’s a sleep schedule?

Sage is the kind of character that can keep everyone guessing…including the reader, even though you are reading from his point of view. He is guarded and defiant. As he is being sculpted to be what someone else wants him to be, he remains spitefully himself, even when it might mean his demise. He might not technically be a spy, but he embodies everything I love about the genre.

Sage has an unwavering knowledge of who he really is, and I can only hope I can have that for myself someday.

By Jennifer A. Nielsen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The False Prince 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?

If you love the danger and sword-fighting of MERLIN, you'll like this! In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point - he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. As Sage's…


Book cover of Hoodoo

Rachel Kolar Author Of Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters

From my list on spooky middle grade audio for family car trips.

Who am I?

I’ve loved scary stories ever since I was a kid thumbing through Goosebumps, and I’m delighted that my children enjoy them as much as I do. Since they’ve outgrown spooky picture books like mine, middle grade horror audiobooks are our favorite way to pass the half-hour drive to school—but not every excellent book has an equally excellent narrator. Some sound downright bored with the material; others have such engaging voices that I will never read the books again without hearing them in my head. These are five of the most deliciously creepy middle grade novels that we’ve discovered for those long car trips.

Rachel's book list on spooky middle grade audio for family car trips

Rachel Kolar Why did Rachel love this book?

A Southern Gothic historical horror, Hoodoo is a story of fair and foul folk magic in 1930s Alabama. Hoodoo Hatcher is the only person in his family without a knack for the hoodoo that gave him his name—and that’s a problem, because the evil Stranger is coming for him, and he’ll need all the courage and smarts he can summon to keep himself and his family safe. To me, the greatest joy of this wonderful book is Hoodoo’s distinctive, humorous voice, and Ron Butler brings him perfectly to life in his performance; it’s not easy for an adult to make a child’s voice sound authentic, but Butler knocks it out of the park. 

By Ronald L. Smith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hoodoo 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?

Twelve year old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic - hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell. Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger's black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He'll just…


Book cover of The Serpent's Secret

Rob Vlock Author Of Sven Carter & the Trashmouth Effect

From my list on middle-grade readers will love.

Who am I?

I remember the night it happened. I was lying next to my son in bed, reading to him. It was already well past his bedtime, but when we came to the end of the chapter, he begged me: “Just one more chapter, Dad! Pleeeease!” That was the moment I knew I wanted to write novels for kids. And ever since then, I’ve been passionate about helping young people learn to love reading by introducing them to books they’ll truly love—even if they’re what some might call, “reluctant readers.” That’s what’s behind the books I recommend and will always be behind the books I write. 

Rob's book list on middle-grade readers will love

Rob Vlock Why did Rob love this book?

Combining rich, imaginative Bengali folklore, pulse-elevating action, laugh-out-loud humor, and an amazing narrative voice, this book had me hooked, literally, from the first line. (“The day my parents got swallowed by a rakkhosh and whisked away to another galactic dimension was a pretty craptastic day.”) The twists and turns in this lovely novel were utterly unpredictable and kept me guessing page after page. 

By Sayantani DasGupta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Serpent's Secret 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?

From New York Times bestselling author comes a world packed with action and adventure, perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Soman Chainani.

MEET KIRANMALA:INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMON SLAYER(Only she doesn't know it yet.)On the morning of her 12th birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey...until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents' fantastical stories -- like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this…


Book cover of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Rob Vlock Author Of Sven Carter & the Trashmouth Effect

From my list on middle-grade readers will love.

Who am I?

I remember the night it happened. I was lying next to my son in bed, reading to him. It was already well past his bedtime, but when we came to the end of the chapter, he begged me: “Just one more chapter, Dad! Pleeeease!” That was the moment I knew I wanted to write novels for kids. And ever since then, I’ve been passionate about helping young people learn to love reading by introducing them to books they’ll truly love—even if they’re what some might call, “reluctant readers.” That’s what’s behind the books I recommend and will always be behind the books I write. 

Rob's book list on middle-grade readers will love

Rob Vlock Why did Rob love this book?

This was my first experience with Jonathan Auxier and it made me into an instant and always fan of his books. Its fairytale-like feel and enthralling story of Peter Nimble, a blind orphan and master thief, was so wonderful to read, I experienced some serious book withdrawal when I reached the end. (Luckily, we get to spend more time in Peter’s world in Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard!) This book’s story and characters are so beautifully crafted, you’ll probably want to read this one more than once—like I did!

By Jonathan Auxier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery. One fateful afternoon, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island where he is presented with a special quest: to travel to the dangerous Vanished Kingdom and rescue a people in need. Along with his loyal sidekick a knight who…


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