As I was looking up some books, I realized that a lot of picture book titles can be foreboding. Some sounded like they belonged to horror films rather than picture books. With that thought spiraling out of control, I decided to create my own horror film synopses for different children’s book titles. 

10.7 Bye Bye Baby BrotherBYE-BYE BABY BROTHER!
By Sheena Dempsey

Actual Book: This is a story for children who are about to become older siblings. It addresses the jealousy children may feel when they have to share their parents. 

Horror Movie Idea: An older sibling decides to oust their new baby brother. Is there a changeling in the midst? Or a demonic spirit? Don’t know. But this title could be truly frightening. 


10.7 Ruby Red ShoesRUBY RED SHOES
By Kate Knapp

Actual Book: This book is about a rabbit named Ruby and her life with her grandmother. They love quilts, buttons, tea and more. This book is a calming and lovely. 

Horror Movie Idea: Think a twisted Wizard of Oz prequel that explains how the ruby slippers got their color. The Witch of the East loved the blood of her victims (I know. The original slippers were silver, but the movie slippers are so pretty!). 


10.7 Youll Find MeYOU’LL FIND ME
By Amanda Hill

Actual Book: This book is told in rhyme and encourages hope throughout the grieving process. Losing someone can be hard, and this story helps create a space for parent-child conversations on the tough topic. 

Horror Movie Idea: A girl with a loving boyfriend starts receiving life threatening notes. She and her boyfriend go to the police but they can’t find substantial evidence. She eventually figures out that her boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder and his alternate personality is a serial killer who’s chosen her as the next target.  The nice side of her boyfriend tells her to run away when he finds out the truth. Now the question is, will the crazy half of the boyfriend find her or will her feminine wiles find the hero beneath the monster? 


10.7 Swim Swim SinkSWIM SWIM SINK
By Jennifer Harney

Actual Book: This is a cute book about three ducklings following their mama out for a swim, but then something strange happens. One of the ducklings sink! The little one tries and tries again to swim but it takes a little creativity to keep the duckling afloat. 

Horror Movie Idea: A family decides to vacation at a rented beach house. A storm comes in and they spend the day indoors. Then they realize the house is flooding and slowly sinking into the ocean. They try to leave, but they’ve been locked in with no way out. The family swims from furniture to rafters as the house sinks deeper into the ocean. Oh, and there’s a creature in the water. 


10.7 Everyone AwakeEVERYONE’S AWAKE
By Colin Meloy

Actual Book: Told in rhyme, this book talks about what happens when everyone stays awake at night. Someone practices their trapeze skills while others do house chores. The whimsical illustrations bring the story together in a delightful way. 

Horror Movie Idea: No one on earth has been able to fall asleep for 42 days. Anesthesiologists can’t even put their patients to sleep for surgery. Everyone is growing tired, weary, and more irritable. Then people start seeing things and people realize that their childhood nightmares are coming to life.  What are some titles you’d rewrite as horror movies?


Spooky House and Man in Fog

BOO! It’s that time of year, my favorite time of year, with cooler weather, pumpkins, hot chocolate, and of course ghosts and ghouls. As human beings, many of us have a weird fascination with the strange and macabre. We tell stories around the campfire, go on haunted tours or visit haunted houses, and watch movies that scare us to the point that sleep is just not an option.

There are of course many things in the paranormal and horror realm that can capture our attention. There are skeletons, witches, vampires, serial killers, and monsters such as Big Foot or the Wendigo. The most popular of the paranormal that we often dive deep and become detectives is that of ghostly visitations. There are countless people through the ages that have experienced their own ghostly visitor - maybe you have your own experience - and have shared the creeks, the chills, and the apparitions in various stories. Some places even become landmarks as must-see attractions when visiting a city.

The most interesting part of telling or reading ghost stories is being invested in a person’s life when you otherwise have no connection. It’s genealogy with a spooky twist. With many stories we not only learn about the dead’s active spiritual life but we dive deep into their mortal lives as well. We learn about where they were from, what they were like in life from family or friends, read journals and notes, learn about loss and illness they went through, and look at old photographs as we paint a picture in our heads of who these people were and why they are not resting in the afterlife. If this is something that interests you and you are wanting to get into the Halloween spirit then do we have you covered. To get started, check out these books that have some fascinating and spooky tales. They range from ghostly love affairs to performers who can’t let go of the spotlight. Get caught up in the ghosts of our past.          

10.5 Haunted Universal StudiosHAUNTED UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
By Brian Clune

Talented entrepreneur Carl Laemmle led and won the fight against Thomas Edison's filming monopoly and built Universal City out of the dirt of Hollywood. He created a place of wonder and imagination, and now, decades later, Universal Studios is filled with rumors of ghosts.


10.5 Haunted Salt Lake CityHAUNTED SALT LAKE CITY
By Laurie Allen

Uncovering ghost stories in Salt Lake City leads to a spooky mixture of legend, lore, and local history. The guides of Story Tours' Salt Lake City Ghost Tour reveal characters who just can't seem to leave the valley.


By Chris Gonsalves

Romance is undeniably otherworldly. Heart racing, breath quickening, senses ablaze -it’s all apart of what makes love so frighteningly grand. As the French writer Francois de La Rochefoucauld said four centuries ago, “it is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.” And yet, there are those who have seen both. Welcome to HAUNTED LOVE. 


By Tom Ogden

Thirty-five gripping tales of ghostly goings-on and other worldly encounters in theaters across North America and London. The hard part isn't finding theaters that are haunted-it's finding theaters that aren't!


By Sarah Bartlett

Packed with rich illustrations, National Geographic's first-ever guide to the world's supernatural places showcases more than 250 spooky destinations around the globe, revealing a dazzling array of haunted castles, forbidden hideaways and otherwise eerie landmarks.


Little Girls Holding Hands

It is so important for young readers to see themselves and their experiences represented in the books they read. But it is just as important for children to read about experiences of people who are different from them. Reading diversely can help readers understand different cultures and challenge their own racial biases. 

Still, no one said that these conversations are easy. In our community, many of us are fortunate that we don’t need to think about how our race affects how people see us. It’s easy to want to keep young children innocent from the uglier realities of the world, but often innocence makes children susceptible to misinformation. If you’re struggling to initiate discussions about racism and hate with your children, know that books and media can help. Books can make difficult conversations feel less threatening and are a good way to naturally bring up issues like race and diversity. Here are our recommendations from Black authors to help facilitate those conversations. 

10.2 SulweSULWE
By Lupita Nyong’o
Illustrated by Vashti Harrison

Sulwe, whose name means star, has skin the color of midnight. She has the darkest skin in her family and the darkest skin of anyone in her school. She longs to be light and bright like her sister and mother and does everything she can think of to lighten her skin until her mother, and a magical journey into the midnight sky help her see her own brightness. Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o handles racism and colorism in a picture book begging to be a bedtime read aloud. This book can help facilitate important conversations about systemic racism and how it affects the self-worth of others. 


10.2 Going Down Home with DaddyGOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY
By Kelly Starling Lyons
Illustrated by Daniel Minter

Alan is excited for his family reunion and the chance to see his cousins and great-grandmother, but he’s also hesitant because he knows he’ll have to find a way to contribute to the family celebration. As he spends time with his family and appreciates their property and crops that they own, he realizes that the best tribute he can offer his family is to celebrate their heritage. Gorgeous Caldecott Honor winning illustrations enrich this story about African American history. 


10.2 The Day You BeginTHE DAY YOU BEGIN 
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

When a new student, an immigrant from Venezuela, joins Angelina’s class she is keen to show him that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. Jacqueline Woodson’s poetry reflects the apprehension that kids feel on the first day of school and the joy of a new friendship and is matched by big, bright illustrations filled with flowers and swirling vinery. At the center of the book, Angelina finally sees value in the places she’s visited via books and a rich imagination. This is a great back-to-school book, and a non-didactic message about being kind to classmates who may look or act differently than you. 


10.2 I Am EnoughI AM ENOUGH 
By Grace Byers
Illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo

The simple text of this self-affirming picture book begs to be read over and over. The message here is clear and straightforward – no matter who you are or what you look like, you are enough. This book focuses on young girls of every color being celebrated just for being themselves – and insists that what makes girls beautiful is how they are different. This book belongs in the hands of all young readers, but it is an especially good conversation starter for talking about racism. 


By Tricia Elam Walker
Illustrated by April Harrison

Zura loves her grandma, Nana Akua, more than anyone in the whole universe. But she is still not excited to bring her grandmother to school for Grandparents Day. She worries that her classmates or their grandparents might laugh at the marks on Nana Akua’s face – placed there when she was a child to designate her tribal family according to Ghanaian tradition. Nana Akua handles it in stride, explaining to Zura’s classmates the importance of the symbols she wears on her face and inviting the kids and grandparents to choose their own symbols. This wonderfully inclusive book is a bright and heartwarming story of heritage and inclusion. Zura’s diverse classmates are welcoming of Nana Akua’s culture and eager to learn more for themselves – a good model for kids learning to celebrate differences.


Provo History

Did you know that Utah has been home to more than 100 movies? Or that Butch Cassidy was born here in Utah? There is lots of Utah history that is often forgotten or unknown. Here are just a few of our books in Special Collections that are about some little known or hidden history of Utah.  

By Larry R. Gerlach

During the 1920s Utah experienced a brief, but important, period of Klanscraft, as well as several later revivals. The KKK was seen as both a national patriotic fraternity and a local vigilance committee. When discussing the nature of the KKK in Utah, the author stated, “The Ku Klux Klan exists in Utah today because such manifestations of prejudice fall within the normal range of acceptable behavior and values for too many Utahns. So long as people persist in making arbitrary judgments based solely on color, creed or ethnicity, the Klan or similar organizations will continue to find a niche in society.” 


By Honey M. Newton

Early pioneer midwives and women doctors made a lasting impact on the West by providing compassionate care from the cradle to the grave. But accounts of these supreme examples of service are rarely told. During the late 19th century, a larger proportion of female physicians were in Utah than anywhere else in the world, except possibly Russia, and Utah’s first hospital and Department of Health were organized and run by female midwives and physicians. Learn about 28 amazing women and the trials they faced and service they provided.  


By Sandra C. Taylor

Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. government in the spring of 1942 forced about 110,000 Japanese American from their homes along West Coast. About 7,000 of these people, the majority of whom were American citizens, were moved to an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. Using the interviews of 50 former Topaz residents, newspaper reports, and the archives of the War Relocation Authority, the author shows how relocation shaped the lives of these Japanese Americans and Utah. 


By James V. D’Arc

Get the inside scoop on low budget movies to some of the most memorable films ever made in this history of moviemaking in Utah. Utah has played host to Kevin Bacon in FOOTLOOSE, Robert Redford in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. Learn about these and other films that showcase Utah’s beautiful scenery in this book of Utah filmmaking. What is your favorite story from Utah history? Share in the comments, and be sure to check out these and other great books in our Special Collections.  Source for photo: (


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