Reasons Why Horror in Children’s Literature is a Good Thing

August 17, 2022

Written by Ella Rebecca Horton

Ella Rebecca has been in love with the horror genre since an early age. The Bride of Frankenstein began her love of the classics and she's been writing and collecting since.

Why could it possibly be a good idea for your children to hear scary stories? The instinctive reaction of many parents is that it’s irresponsible and could give them nightmares. 


They aren’t wrong in wanting to protect their children, but there are, in fact, many reasons why injecting some fear into children’s literature can be a good thing. Of course, the level of horror must be taken into account when selecting a scary book for a child. 


We live in a scary world


Fear is fine as long as there’s a safety net. Scary books take children on a thrilling ride that’s out of their normal circumstances but without them being in actual danger. There’s so much that children don’t understand about the world. It can be a big, scary place. They have to learn that they may experience fear, anger, disappointment and other emotions. 


Scary books can help to teach them that life isn’t always easy and it’s fine to be scared. Giving them the opportunity to talk about what scares them can be helpful. It can prevent them from just burying their feelings of being scared and never learning to deal with them. 


Help with assignments for literature students


Students studying literature in school will learn all about why horror in children’s literature is a good thing. They may even have to write assignments about what effect this has on children. Students can buy assignment online from EduBirdie if they need help from professional writers. A professional writer with a background in education knows exactly what’s required when writing an academic essay. The writers will deliver good quality essays within the required deadline and ensure that you perform well in your writing tasks.


It gets children interested in reading


Fear is a powerful emotion, and there is something about feeling afraid that’s intriguing for children of all ages. They love spooky stories. It is thrilling for them to open up a book and read about monsters, ghosts, dragons and anything weird. 


If a child gravitates to this type of book, it can help them to develop a lifelong interest in reading. It gives them a sense that they’re exploring new territory, and such stories are often not only scary but highly entertaining. No child will want to pick up a book and read if you don’t read them stories that engage and excite them. 


It teaches children more about themselves


Children’s literature can be dark, and stories by popular children’s authors like Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman are proof of this. When children explore the darker side of things and the nature of fear, it helps them to understand more about themselves. They start to find out their strengths and weaknesses. 


Writers have to be sensitive and not push things too far when writing for younger children. They do like happy endings and heroes winning the day over evil forces. But heroes can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. When children realize that heroes can come in unlikely forms, this can empower them. They can start to recognize their own potential to make a difference. 



They learn life lessons


Horror in children’s books, such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, can teach children life lessons. Edmund’s experience of being drawn in by the witch could lead to discussions about ‘stranger danger.’ They could learn that staying out late and not telling their parents where they are can be dangerous. Wandering off in the dark to look for a pet is not a good idea. 


Reading stories infused with horror can give children an opportunity to discuss various dangerous situations and why they should avoid them. They can exercise their emotions in a secure setting where there’s no risk of physical danger. When children learn how important it is to face their fears, this can greatly improve their self-esteem. It can give them a tool that will be useful throughout their lives. 




Ultimately, reading horror stories can be reassuring because they come in books, and the stories do not reflect everyday life. Children aren’t likely to encounter a dragon or a monster in real life. When they’ve finished the book, they can put it away. They can experience fear in a safe place and learn that it is possible to manage it and move forward. Having to read in front of the class at school isn’t that big a deal when they’ve been to a different planet and battled creepy aliens before finding their way home. 


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