With Halloween right around the corner, this is the perfect time to read about ghosts, goblins, witches and all things spooky.

Picture Books

“Twitchy Witchy Itch” by Priscilla Tey does have witches, but it isn’t too scary for young readers. Two witches are coming over for tea in nine minutes when Itch thinks her house is too itchy for company. Itch cleans and uses magic to keep it all away in the closet. When her witch friends Fidget and Glitch come over, things start to shift and slide.

Itch magics away the unsteadiness, but her friends disappear, too! Itch realizes that friends are more important than a perfect house and undoes her spell so that everyone can come out and have tea.

Another new spooky picture book perfect for fall is “Hardly Haunted” by Jessie Sima. There are no witches in this book, but there is a lonely old house that is afraid it might be haunted!

The house creaks, whistles and makes all kinds of noises. Not wanting to be haunted, the house holds in all its sounds until a wind comes and the sound cannot be stopped. The house has fun making sounds and thinks being haunted might not be a bad thing after all.

This story has just enough spookiness to join in the fun of the season but not so much to cause nightmares.

Middle Grades

“The Memory Thief” by Jodi Lynn Anderson is a darker fantasy featuring Rosie, a tween who discovers she descends from a long line of witch hunters. The realization occurs after years of living with her neglectful mother, whose memories were taken by a witch when Rosie was born.

Witches are evil, and there are 12 of them who have their power only when it’s dark. Rosie learns all of this after coming up against the witch named the Memory Thief, and she realizes she needs to take up the mantle of witch hunter and get her mom’s memories back.

To do that, she will need help from Ebb, a child ghost who has been watching over her all her life, and Germ, her best friend who seems to be pulling away from her.

Rosie is a delightful protagonist who wrestles with the insecurities and complications inherent in a girl of her age. “The Memory Thief” is the first book in the planned Thirteen Witches trilogy, and I can’t wait to see where Rosie’s adventures take her.


Ciannon Smart’s first novel, “Witches Steeped in Gold,” focuses on the oppression of one group of witch people over another. The characters and setting are Jamaican inspired, making this not your average story about witches.

Doyenne Judair Cariot leads the Alumbrar witches, who invaded and currently rule the island. The native Obeah are controlled by having limited access to gold magical conduits and forced to labor for the Alumbrar. There is a rumor of a witch with extraordinary power who can turn the tide and free the Obeah.

This fantasy novel has people striving for true justice on both sides of the fight, a mystery being worked out about how they came to this point, and wonderfully vivid imagery of the people participating. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something riveting to read.

All of these books are available at the library. Place holds at roseburg.biblionix.com, or contact library staff at library@cityofroseburg.org or 541-492-7050 for assistance.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at kwiley@cityofroseburg.org or 541-492-7051.

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