Summer Scares Is Back to Celebrate Horror In Libraries (And Beyond!)

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Now on its third year, Summer Scares is back to highlight the wide range of horror reads and help librarians and other gate keepers connect these great books with middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Summer Scares is a collaborative project hosted by the Horror Writers Association in partnership with Book Riot, United for Libraries, and new this year, Booklist.

The annual program asks committee members to elect a spokesperson each year who writes and believes in the power of horror. The 2021 spokesperson is none other than Silvia Garcia-Moreno.

Summer Scares is a reading program that provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult (teen), and middle grade readers. It introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations extending beyond the books from each list and promote reading
for years to come.

Award-winning author Silvia Moreno-Garcia and a committee of five library workers will select three recommended fiction titles in each reading level, totaling nine Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to encourage a national conversation about the horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries nationwide and ultimately attract more adults, teens, and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also make themselves available at public and school libraries.

“When I tell people I like to read horror books, they often look at me like I’m a pervert,” Silvia says.“Horror has a bad reputation, even though it’s the genre that gave us classics such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” or Daphne du Maurier’s “Don’t Look Now.” Like any other genre, horror is multifaceted and has a rich history. From pulpy scares to cerebral thrills, horror deserves more love and we’re here to share some exciting titles.”

The committee’s final selections will be announced on February 12, 2021—right before National Library Lover’s Day. Moreno-Garcia, along with some of the selected authors, will appear on a panel to kickoff Summer Scares at the 5th Annual Horror Writers Association Librarians’ Day during StokerCon 2021.

Between the announcement of the titles and the kickoff event, the committee and its partners will publish lists of more suggested titles for further reading. Official Summer Scares podcasting partner, Ladies of the Fright Podcast, will also record episodes in conjunction with Summer Scares.

Look for more updates coming soon from Booklist, Book Riot, and United for Libraries, as well as at the HWA’s website: www.horror.org. For more information about Summer Scares, contact JG Faherty, HWA Library Committee Chair (libraries@horror.org), or Becky Spratford, HWA Secretary (bspratford@hotmail.com).

This year’s Summer Scares initiative includes the updated Summer Scares Programming Guide, courtesy of Konrad Stump and the Springfield-Greene County Library, which provides creative ideas to engage horror readers. Centered around the official Summer Scares titles, the guide offers tips and examples for readers’ advisory, book discussions, and special programs, and enables librarians, even those who don’t read or especially enjoy the horror genre themselves, to participate in
Summer Scares. More information is available here.

Previous Summer Scares selections include:



Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2017)

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (Harper Voyager, 1998)

Earthworm Gods by Brian Keene (Deadite Press, 2012)

Young Adult

Rotters by Daniel Kraus (Ember, 2012)

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke (Speak, 2016)

Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow (Penguin Random House Publisher Services, 2015)

Middle Grade

Doll Bones Holly Black (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015)

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014)

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (Algonquin Young Readers, 2016)



In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson (Skyhorse, 2017)

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Tor.Com, 2016)

She Said Destroy: Stories by Nadia Bulkin (Word Horde, 2017)

Young Adult

The Agony House by Cherie Priest, Illustrated by Tara O’Connor (Scholastic 2018)

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (Sourcebooks Fire, 2017)

Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics (Harlequin Teen, 2015)

Middle Grade

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh (HaperCollins, 2017)

Case Files 13: Zombie Kid by J. Scott Savage (HarperCollins, 2012)

Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (Clarion Books, 2015)

And to catch up with the incredible library of content about horror and the Summer Scares program, dig into Becky Spratford’s archive.