Halloween is a time of fun, but it can also be scary for some children. Fortunately, Fairfax County Public Library offers many amusing picture books to help children learn about overcoming fear.
In I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, a young girl tells us how she conquered her fears by discovering the positive side of things – such as the beauty in a spider’s web or the fun of making shadow puppets on the wall. Simple text and cut-out illustrations make the book appealing for younger children.
Poor Yeti sees frightening shadows on the wall when he turns out his bedroom light in Yeti, Turn out the Light! by Greg Long. But every time he turns the light on again, he finds it’s just another winsome forest friend who wants to cozy up under the covers.
The spunky little girl (who just might be a witch) is undaunted when she moves into a creepy old house inhabited by ghosts in Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara. She finds they make perfect curtains and tablecloths.
These next two classics can be a bit creepy until you reach the reassuring endings:
A little old lady goes for a walk in the woods and is followed by some strange things – empty shoes, a shirt, a hat… she keeps telling them she isn’t afraid. Then she comes up with a creative solution in The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. (Make this book more interactive by inviting kids to act out the “scary” things - stomp their feet when the shoes go “clomp, clomp” and shrug their shoulders when the shirt goes “wiggle, wiggle,” etc.)
Included in Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss is the tale “What was I Scared of?” The furry protagonist is startled by a pair of spooky, pale green pants with nobody inside them - until he realizes the pants are just as frightened of him as he is of them!
As always, don’t be afraid to ask for more suggestions at your local library branch.
-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library