Scared Witless Featured in October Book Giveaway with August House and TeachingBooks.net

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Why Feeling Afraid Can Be So Much Fun

Students enjoy learning when their teachers integrate lessons with upcoming holidays, and using scary stories in the classroom has significant educational benefits that go beyond simple Halloween fun.

This month, August House and TeachingBooks.net will be giving away 5 copies of Scared Witless: Thirteen Eerie Tales to Tell, by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss, to lucky teachers looking to use the book in their classrooms. Check TeachingBooks.net for details on how to enter the contest. Students enjoy learning when their teachers integrate lessons with upcoming holidays, and using scary stories in the classroom has significant educational benefits that go beyond simple Halloween fun.

Scary stories like the tales in Scared Witless: Thirteen Eerie Tales to Tell have a curious relationship with happiness. Publishers call them “thrillers” because readers don’t just feel fear; they get excited at the same time. When people are scared, their brains release dopamine that tends to increase pleasure and activate the body for action. Feeling afraid in a fictional setting through a scary story enables children to explore their fear at a “distance” in a safe environment. Their minds find fear exciting and they get a “rush” of excitement as they pretend to dodge danger, similar to the experience of a thrill ride in an amusement park. This Halloween, educators and parents can create that thrill and excitement by reading ghost stories from books like August House Book of Scary Stories or Scared Witless.

Not only are ghost stories entertaining, they can also help children learn about different cultural traditions and expand their sense of community. Sharing ghost stories can even help children develop a better sense of bravery. Scary stories can show children that it is okay to be afraid and that they can use their brains and instincts to keep themselves safe and escape from dangerous situations.

Childhood can be a scary time, and if children are given the tools to cope with their fears they are more likely to flourish. It is particularly helpful for children to have the chance to explore scary stories through books. Letting children feel scared and challenged can build emotional resiliency and teach them different ways to cope with fear. While a child’s heart might be racing while reading about monster teachers or ancient ghost legends in The August House Book of Scary Stories, it is important for him or her to learn what fear feels like while in a safe environment where the imminent danger is temporary and safely contained.

Scary stories are plentiful in all world cultures and have played an important role woven into the oral traditions of every society. Like fables and fairy tales, horror stories take on different shapes and emphasize different fears depending on the culture of origin. As a result, taking time to read or explore scary stories can be an important way to supplement a History or Social Studies lesson. For example, The August House Book of Scary Stories includes Mexican Folk Legends, African-American Folktales, and Japanese Ghost Stories that can easily be integrated into classroom units about these countries’ culture, history, and geography. Additionally, sharing ghost stories from different cultures helps children feel united and part of a wider, more diverse community. Children giddily scared together can learn that no matter where they are from, everyone gets scared at times and those fears are rooted in universal archetypes such as ghosts, witches, goblins or monsters.

August House is a highly acclaimed and award-winning multimedia publisher of children’s picture books, folktale anthologies, and resource books. Located in Atlanta, GA, August House has developed one of the most highly respected collections of folktales from the world’s great oral traditions.

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Steve Floyd
August House
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