Picture this: you’re sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories - the scariest ones you can think of. As you start to share it you realize, there are kids around. So how do you make the story kid-friendly? Look no further than “The Ghostly Tales of The Haunted South” written by Dr. Alan Brown.
Dr. Brown is an award-winning professor of English at the University of West Alabama. He has a deep interest in Southern folklore, especially Southern ghostlore and African-American culture and music and has written over 30 books. He even does his own ghost hunting on the side.
The book is adapted from Arcadia Publishing’s best selling Haunted America series, now rewritten for a middle-grade audience. The idea of the book came from Dr. Brown’s grandsons, who urged him to write a book that would be “age appropriate” for them and their friends to read.
“I am very familiar with the types of books they read, having read to them at night time ever since they were little,” Brown said. “I did not think I was capable of writing this type of book until I was asked by the editors at the History Press to adapt my adult collection of ghost stories—The Haunted South—for young readers. I have always liked a challenge, and I was eager to please my grandsons, so I agreed to write it.”
24 haunting stories take place in 11 states throughout the country. Some of them include North Carolina, Louisiana, and right here in Georgia.
When collecting the stories, Dr. Brown referred to his personal collection of “true” ghost stories, on top of visiting the actual haunted sites and interviewing people who have had ghostly encounters. When adapting the book for children, he removed stories he thought to be too adult or violent for the young readers the book targets.
“First of all, I want children to have fun reading this book,” Brown said. “When they are finished, I hope that they will discover the pleasures of using their imagination to conjure up images instead of relying on movies or television programs to do it for them. I also want them to develop an interest in history. I begin all of my stories with historical background. These little footnotes in history, which form the plots of all of the stories, tend to humanize the players in some of the broader events of history, like wars.”
Spooky America is the first series from Arcadia’s new imprint, Arcadia Children’s Book. Publishing Director of Arcadia Children’s Book Nancy Ellwood said books like this make up the series to not only entertain children, but to also teach them at the same time.
“Arcadia’s speciality is local history, and the Spooky America books are no different,” said Ellwood. “While readers are wrapped up in hair-raising tales, they’re also immersed in the history of a specific place, and learning about its people, its way of life, and evolution. That’s not something you usually find in this genre. These terrific, well-researched ghost stories are a true celebration of everything we do at Arcadia.”
“The Ghostly Tales of the Haunted South” is intended for readers ages eight to 12. To learn more and get a copy of the book, visit arcadiapublishing.com