January 28, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

love horror? Summer Scares is back in 2023!

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is proud to announce the Fifth Annual Summer Scares Reading Program in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot and Booklist. 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 school readers. It introduces readers and librarians to new authors and helps start conversations that go beyond the books on each list, encouraging reading for years to come.

Summer Scares is proud to announce the narrator for 2023 as author Daniel Kraus:

“Libraries were the space where I nurtured my early interest in horror. I was able to make autonomous decisions about my own limits and how to push them, which benefited my confidence, intellect, courage, and empathy. I couldn’t be more honored to work with Summer Scares to help other children have their own life-changing experiences.”

Kraus is assisted by a committee of five librarians who together select three recommended fiction titles at each reading level, for a total of nine Summer Scares selections. The goal of the program is to stimulate a national conversation about the horror genre at all ages in libraries across the country, and ultimately to attract more adults, youth and children interested in reading. Official Summer Scares authors will also make themselves available in public and school libraries.

The final selection of the committee will be announced on February 14, 2023, Library Lover’s Day. Kraus, along with some of the selected authors, will open Summer Scares at the 7th Annual HWA Librarians’ Day on Friday, June 16 during StokerCon 2023 at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel in Station Square in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Additional content, including podcast appearances and lists of recommended titles for further reading, will be made available by the committee and its partners between the announcement of the Summer Scares 2023 titles and the kickoff event.

Of particular note is the annual Summer Scares Programming Guide, courtesy of HWA Library Committee Co-Chair Konrad Stump and the Springfield-Greene County Library, which offers creative ideas to hook horror readers. Centered around the official Summer Scares titles, the guide provides tips and examples of readers’ advice, book discussion guides, and sample programs that enable librarians, even those who don’t read or aren’t particularly fond of the horror genre, to engage with their communities network summer terrors.

To see Summer Scares titles, speakers and program guides from the past year, please visit the program archive:

And keep an eye out for more updates coming soon from Booklist, Book Riot, and United for Libraries, as well as the HWA website www.horror.org and RA for All Horror:

Questions? Email HWA Library Committee Chairs Becky Spratford and Konrad Stump at libraries@horror.org.

Members of the Summer Scares Committee:

Daniel Kraus is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and graphic novels. He co-wrote The Living Dead with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. He co-wrote The Shape of Water with Guillermo del Toro, based on the same idea they developed for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-wrote Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. It has won two Odyssey Awards (for Rotters and Scowler) and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Books of the Year. His books have included Library Guild Selections, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Picks, Bram Stoker Finalists and more. His works have been translated into over 20 languages. Daniel lives in Chicago with his wife. Visit him at danielkraus.com.

Becky Spratford is Library Advisor and the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, Third Edition, published September 2021. She reviews horror for Booklist Magazine, is a horror columnist for Library Journal, and runs the blog Readers’ Advisory Horror, RA for All: Horror. Becky is also a member of United for Libraries and currently serves as Secretary of the Horror Writers’ Association.

Konrad Stump is the Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County (MO) Library, where he co-coordinates Springfield-Greene’s popular Oh, the Horror! Row that attracts hundreds of visitors in October. He founded the Donuts & Death horror book discussion group featured in Book Club Reboot: 71 Creative Twists (ALA) and co-created the Summer Scares Programming Guide. Library staff interested in cultivating horror programs can contact him at konrads@thelibrary.org for free assistance.

Carolyn Ciesla is an academic librarian based in the Chicago suburbs. She has worked as a youth librarian and reference librarian, reviewing horror titles for Booklist Magazine. She’s currently enjoying providing her teenage daughter with all the scary books and re-reading some along the way.

Kelly Jensen is a former librarian who works as an editor for Book Riot (bookriot.com), where she runs the biweekly What’s Up in YA? Young Adult Newsletter. Her books include the award-winning (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health and Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, both from Algonquin Young Readers. She is also a well-known and longtime co-blogger at Stacked (stackedbooks.org). A lifelong lover of all things scary, she’s eager to scream about horror reads for teens with those who love good thrills and chills.

Julia Smith joined the Books for Youth team at Booklist in 2015, where she is now Senior Editor. Her love of junior high school literature and all things disturbing and weird draws her to spooky children’s stories. You can follow her at @JuliaKate32 on Twitter.