Bookshelf Bests: Spooky and Mysterious Twists (Grades 6-8)
This October, keep your students in suspense with these thrillers.
- Grades: 6–8
Go with the flow of Halloween month by featuring these suspenseful books in your classroom library or language arts curriculum. All the mystery and magic will keep pages turning and book discussions high-spirited. October is also a great time to explore the wizarding world of Harry Potter with middle school kids. Even students who have read Harry Potter independently will enjoy reading the books again with classmates and then discussing themes, conflicts, and main characters in class. Use Scholastic's discussion guide to help you plan.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Set in a luxury high rise apartment on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, this Newbery Award-winning who-done-it brings together 16 quirky heirs for the reading of eccentric millionaire Sam Westing's will. One of them murdered Westing and someone will inherit his estate worth $200 million. But that means winning a game that involves mystery, danger, trickery, and wordplay. Readers will be intrigued to play along. Plenty of plot twists and turns will keep everyone guessing until the very end.
A Ghost in the House by Betty Ren Wright
Sarah is from a cash-strapped family and the move to a big old house in the suburbs was perfect until her ailing and cantankerous great-aunt moved back in unexpectedly. Now when the two of them are home alone, eerie, unexplained events keep happening. Despite the friction between them, the unlikely pair overcome supernatural forces and form a tight intergenerational friendship.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
This Newbery Award-winning historical fiction book takes readers back to colonial Connecticut. Here, the growing friendship between Kit Tyler, a feisty 16-year-old originally from Barbados, and Hannah Tupper, a Quaker woman accused of being a witch, has dangerous consequences. The storyline presents lots of opportunity for discussion and journaling about outsiders, intolerance, witch trials, and colonial America.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Meggie's father, a bookbinder named Mo, is a gifted storyteller who doesn't read aloud anymore. That's because when he does, characters from the book can jump out and become a part of the real world. Evil Capricorn emerged nine years ago and has finally tracked Mo down with dark plans to force him to read aloud and call out more villains and treasures. This highly imaginative and suspenseful book features captivating characters and a plotline that won't disappoint. The adventure continues in two sequels, Inkspell and Inkdeath. To find out more about author Cornelia Funke, check out this Scholastic interview. Use these discussion questions to get the class chatting or writing essays.