Horror Writers Association, SLJ, & Partners Announce Second Annual Summer Scares Reading Program

The Summer Scares Reading Program, which provides libraries and schools with an annual list of recommended horror titles for adult, young adult, and middle grade readers and encourages a national conversation about the horror genre, will continue throughout 2020, with new titles announced in February.

Today, the Horror Writers Association (HWA), in partnership with Library Journal and School Library Journal, United for Libraries, and Book Riot, announced that the Summer Scares Reading Program, which debuted in 2019, will continue throughout 2020. The program provides libraries and schools with an annual list of Summer Scares logo with ghoulrecommended horror titles for adult, young adult, and middle grade readers. The goal is to encourage a national conversation about the horror genre, across all age levels, at libraries nationwide and ultimately encourage more adults, teens, and children to read.

Award-winning author Stephen Graham Jones and a committee of four librarians, including Becky Spratford, library consultant, author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, and the creator of the RA for All blog; Carolyn Ciesla, library director and academic dean at Prairie State College, IL; Kelly Jensen, author, editor for Book Riot, and cohost of the Hey YA podcast; and Kiera Parrott, LJ/SLJ reviews director, will select three recommended fiction titles in each reading level, totaling nine Summer Scares selections, which will be announced on February 14—National Library Lovers Day. Official Summer Scares designated authors will also make themselves available for public and school library visits.

“The first stories told around campfires forever ago,” Jones says, “were about monsters the hunting party had seen one valley over, and when the hunter describing this creature raised their arms to re-enact this scary encounter, the shadow the flames threw back from those upraised arms went for millennia. We're still cowering in that shadow. To be afraid is to be human. Horror gifts that back to us with each story, each book, each movie, each story told around all our many campfires.”

Jones, along with some of the selected authors, will appear on a panel to kick off Summer Scares at a special Librarians Day on May 7, 2020, at the Naperville Public Library, IL. Details on the event and sign up materials will be available in January 2020.

Between the announcement of the titles in February and the kickoff event in May, the committee and its partners will publish lists of more suggested titles for further reading. Official Summer Scares podcasting partner, Ladies of the Fright Podcast, will also record episodes in conjunction with Summer Scares.

For more information about Summer Scares, contact JG Faherty, HWA Library Committee Chair, or Becky Spratford, HWA Secretary. In addition, this year the Summer Scares program is pleased to welcome Konrad Stump as the new Summer Scares Library Programming consultant. Konrad is the Local History Associate for the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Missouri. Library workers and authors who are interested in cultivating horror programming can contact Konrad for free assistance.

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