The things that scare us: Analyzing the impact of the series "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" by Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Magathan, Kathleen L.
DeFrain, Darren

One of the most influential collections of folktales for children in the last half century are those found in the three-volume series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark compiled by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Schwartz took the strangest and creepiest tales being shared across the country around countless campfires, in backyard tents, and living room blanket forts, stripped them down to their most basic form and gave them back to America with Gammell’s uniquely imaginative and terrifying illustrations to accompany them. These books have influence young readers for over forty years, some of whom have grown up to become artist and writers themselves. This collaboration of Schwartz and Gammell’s frightened some parents and adults far more than the children who read them, leading to the controversial efforts to remove them from library shelves. Efforts at censorship are a testament to the power these words and images hold.

Table of Content
Honors thesis (HB)-- Wichita State University, Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College.
Accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Honors Baccalaureate with concentrations in English and Art History.