I’m a lifelong horror fan who’s read everything from Stephen King to H.P. Lovecraft. But the scariest thing I ever read was a children’s book. Even as a grown-ass woman, there is no way I could re-read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and still get any sleep at night. To be honest, I lost my original copy of the book in a flood when I was 19, and I purposefully never replaced it. It just goes to show that there are some children’s books you should not read as a child (even though you totally did).
Seriously, some children’s lit can mess you up. Whether it covers serious themes like grief or just aims to give you nightmares for the rest of your life, kit lit is not something to take lightly. Most of these reads would greatly affect adults. I mean, grown-ups can check sites like Does The Dog Die? to avoid unnecessary grief, but kids just plunge into stuff like Where the Red Fern Grows with no warning. It’s rough. So here’s a list of the most brutal reads from your younger years that probably scared or grieved you greatly at the time (but ultimately helped you prepare for the realities of adulthood.)