There are a huge amount of Halloween books out there. And a huge amount of “The best of Halloween books” too. I daren’t think I can compete. But what this is, is a list of Halloween books I was able to secure in Japan, that I can read to all four of my children at the same time despite their varying ages. For what its worth, I am a monstrous fan of Halloween and took due care in choosing our Halloween book collection. *This post contains Amazon Affiliate links*
Thanks to the likes of Amazon Japan and Book Depository it is relatively easy to get English language children’s books in Japan through the Internet. But you can also get some English Halloween books in some select stores, mainly in Tokyo with a few in the Greater Tokyo area too.
My four children are aged between 3 and 8 years old. Here is a selection of Halloween books that I can read to all four of them together. And a couple of suggestions for younger kids too.
Halloween Books Family Reads
These are Halloween books we can still read together as a family, even though my kids are of varying ages.
I will start with my personal favourite, which all my kids delight in reading.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Frank L.Baum, art by Robert Sabuda
I bought this stunning pop-up book in Village Vanguard in Higashimatsuyama, Saitama. I have seen it in many other book stores in Saitama and Tokyo. The hardcover on Amazon is by far the cheapest, at the moment anyway. It is about five years since I bought mine, but I am pretty sure I paid over 2,000 yen for my copy, I think it was about 3,000 yen. Each page literally leaps up from the book and enthralls children with the colours, details and movement. The book comes with tinted glasses to view the Emerald City.
Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson, art by Alex Scheffler
This one we got on Amazon Japan. I thought my 8 year old would be too old for this book this year, but he still enjoyed it when I took it out of the Halloween box at the start of this month. One read was enough for him though. Meanwhile, my five year old wants me to read it over and over again. For my almost three year old, I read an abridged version as she is keen to get to the next page. When my current six year old was four she was afraid of the dragon that enters toward the end of the book. A job well down on Donaldson’s part to instill that kind of reaction. This book is good for young readers too as some sentences are repeated on each page.
The Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski
There aren’t many words in this short story by Jan Pienkowski, it is more visual than oral, but it is a treat for children to turn the pages and discover the spooky surprises. Even my 8 year old gets a kick out of this book as he tries to figure out how the author made each of those spine-tingling surprises. The book is very sturdy too. Sometimes with pop-up books they can be easily destroyed by toddler hands, but this one has passed the toddler playgroup test and lived to tell the tale! I got this in a Tsutaya book store. It was actually cheaper in Tsutaya than the current list price on Amazon. This book has been translated into Japanese and many bookstores carry the Japanese version.
Ghosts in the House, by Kazuno Kohara
Ironically we first read this book in Japanese after borrowing it from the library, but although the author is Japanese the book was originally written in English. It was translated to Japanese by a third party. You can get the Japanese version in libraries and bookstores around Japan, but Amazon Japan is the easiest place to pick up the English version. Ghosts in the House features linocut illustrations in two colours. I thought that this book would be too basic for my older two children, but the story intrigues them and the linocut illustrations fascinate them.
Skeleton Hiccups, by Margery Cuyler, Art by S.D. Schindler
We were very lucky to get gifted this book. This book gets great reviews on Amazon Japan and quite rightly in my opinion. It engages young children and they find it funny. I read English once a month to all grades at my older children’s primary school and this book received a great reaction from 1st graders through to 3rd graders.
Froggy’s Halloween by Jonathan London, Art by Frank Remkiewicz
The Froggy books were introduced to me by a friend who teaches in an all English kindergarten in Saitama. We have been big fans ever since and are well on our way to owning the whole collection! They are great books for preparing children for new transitions and showing them what to expect, for example, at school or a camping trip or playing in a band etc. This Halloween book is no different. It introduces the customs of Halloween in a way that is easy for children to follow. The books always have a humourous element to them too. But please note, in each book Froggy tends to say one borderline naughty thing!
Curious George goes to a Costume Party, by Margret and A.H Rey
Curious George stories are another staple in our book collection. The kids have enjoyed this story from the time they were toddlers. However, my recently turned 8 year old is a bit beyond it now, but he will still listen when I am reading it to his younger sisters or read it to them himself. Interestingly, this book is also on Amazon Japan under the title “Hooray for Halloween, Curious George”.
All year classics that we like to read during the Halloween period too:
Halloween books for Toddlers
This book was passed down to us by a dear friend, but I see they have it on Amazon Japan. It is a short story with (literal) magic on each page!
What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen?
We are big fans of Nick Sharratt in this house. We have a number of his books. I didn’t get this book until my 3rd child was a toddler, but for both her and her younger sister this was by far their favourite Halloween book at around 2 years old. Their older siblings enjoyed it when it was still a new-to-us book, but they have no interest in it now at 6 and 8 years old. However, we have used it for reading practise although it is not officially a reader. There are repetition of words and visual cues which make it easy enough for an early learner to grasp.
Halloween Books for babies
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey’s Halloween by Disney Book Group
I have seen the Japanese version of this book in Tsutaya, but we got the English version on Amazon Japan. It is a great board book for babies as it is fairly sturdy and it has over 40 flaps, which intrigues them. It can be used with older children too. My kids liked this Halloween book most when they were around three years old. It has challenges for the children on each page, which include finding hidden Halloween paraphernalia, counting items and answering questions.
Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
We actually got this abroad, but you can buy it on Amazon and it is reasonably priced. It follows the usual style of Katz’ popular baby lift the flap board books.
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There are other Halloween books that each kid enjoys, but these are the books that we have got most leverage out of at varying ages. I can still read the “family reads” selection to my four children together at family reading time. And most of these are useful for yomikikase volunteer reading at Japanese kindergartens and primary schools too. Have you any recommendations for us, of Halloween books that are suited for children up to 8 years old? Please do share! And Happy Halloween.
Halloween crafts on this blog: