Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Collected from American Folklore, by Alvin Schwartz; illustrations by Stephen Gammell
It happened just a few weeks ago—summer is the time I seem to get this sort of request—that a youth patron came to the reference desk to ask for ‘scary stories.’ She detailed her request further, “you know, good ones to tell around a campfire.” And I knew just what would fill this request: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell.
I knew this because, although this book was originally published in the early 1980s, it was still highly sought after when I was in elementary school. Growing up as part of the generation that loved Are You Afraid of the Dark on Nickelodeon and reading the Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine, discovering frightening tales became a regular pastime among my classmates. I’m not sure if the school librarian located Scary Stories for a student because of a request or if someone found it by browsing, but finding it was like striking gold or oil. It became so popular in my school library that it was made non-circulating because there weren’t enough copies for everyone who wanted to check it out. We had to get our fill of its spooky tales and bone-chilling
As an adult, I still sought out Scary Stories and others from this collection—including More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3. My copies have come from library book sales, garage, or rummage sales, and I was sure to get editions with the Stephen Gammell illustrations—he is an award-winning artist after all.
So, if you—or a kid in your life—is looking for a spine-tingling good time, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark continues to deliver.