Living Ghosts and Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories

Scholastic Nonfiction. Sept. 2021. 176p. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9781338681628; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781338681604.
Gr 4 Up–A frightening ride via Native American storytelling. Jones (Ponca) explains that these 32 entries have been handed down from a variety of tribes and storytellers across Indigenous country. This collection is divided into five sectionsghosts, spirits, witches, monsters, and the supernatural. Illustrator Alvitre (Tongva) provides unsettling yet age-appropriate visuals to accompany the selections. While most collections of creepy stories feature fictional tales, this volume is composed of scary reads that come directly from cultural and historical accounts, including the author’s own. Each tale is prefaced with a short introduction on how it was shared with permission from tribe members and omits anything that should not be shared among non-Native readers. However, Indigenous students who follow these cultural traditions might still find some of the content to be taboo.
VERDICT Reminiscent of Robert San Souci’s “Dare to Be Scared” books or the ever-popular Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, add to your library for a diverse cultural representation of scary stories.

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