I knew the perfect column to appear in today’s paper would be one that focused on scary books. Just one problem: I don’t read very many scary books. I have some guilt over this because, as a librarian, I feel like I should read all types of books. And I try. I really do. But the truth is, I don’t enjoy scary books, and, while I advocate reading widely to stretch your mind and to be exposed to all the wonderful literature out there, I also think there are so many good books available that you shouldn’t spend time reading a book you really aren’t enjoying. So, I don’t read scary books unless I have to, like when I need to prepare for a book discussion group.
Alvin Schwartz, writer of many books for children that collected and shared traditions from times past, first became interested in folklore as a child, although at the time he did not think of it as something to study. Folklore was just something that was part of his childhood: the games, riddles, rhymes, superstitions and scary stories. He grew up to become a journalist and also worked as an adjunct English professor. Later, his writing and research skills would play an important part in the job he eventually took on to make many types of folklore familiar to young readers.