Today’s guest blogger deserves a huge round of applause. Not only does he spread the love for reading via his blog, November Notebook, he also teaches English to middle school students. In addition, Grant Goodman is talking about a series of books that filled my childhood, and I’m sure you’re familiar with these novels as well…They haunted all of our nightmares. Thank you for Goosebumps, R.L. Stine.
The Importance of Goosebumps
Most of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books left me terrified.
I remember how Night of the Living Dummy made me afraid to get up in the middle of the night because I knew that Slappy would be sitting at the top of the steps, waiting for me. I’ll never forget that moment when I hit the end of Stay Out of the Basement and the big twist made my stomach feel like it was full of ice. These books left me scarred, because even though I knew they were fiction, they took root in my mind and always threatened to crawl off the page and into reality.
For some reason, though, I kept reading them.
Many of you, I’m sure, have strong memories of reading Goosebumps. It was the Twilight Zone for kids: a place where something strange and terrifying lurked, where people couldn’t always trust each other to tell the truth, and where sometimes you realized that Camp Nightmoon…well, I won’t spoil it for you.
These books were some of my earliest significant forays into genre fiction. Before them, I had been reading Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jansen, the Clue books. They were fun, of course, but they didn’t hold my attention once I had found ghosts and werewolves and evil ventriloquist dummies.
Even though the Goosebumps books were largely stand-alone stories, I knew that they were all gathered under a single brand, one that I could trust to deliver a memorable story. So, while I never became a full-fledged horror fan, I did step into another type of book series: fantasy.
I read The Lord of the Rings. I read every Dragonlance title I could find. Somewhere along the line, the first Wheel of Time book showed up on my bookshelf. That led me down the path to Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss.
The monster blood and the werewolves and the mummy, I’m sure, will never truly fade. They were a stepping stone for me, or maybe a catapult, that moved my imagination forward. And while the idea of a twist ending doesn’t resonate with me anymore, I’m glad to know that kids out there are still able to pick up Welcome to Dead House and start their own journeys through R.L. Stine’s many worlds.
Grant Goodman’s debut novel, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! will be released on May 4, 2015. He is also the head writer for November Notebook, a YA Lit blog for teens, adults, ghosts, robots, unicorns, dragons, and aliens. He teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.
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18 thoughts on “#MondayBlogs: The Importance of Goosebumps”
I love Goosebumps. They were my childhood, and I often pause to think about the fact they may be the very root of my love and obsession with macabre, morbid, paranormal, creepy and all the like. I had a 50+ Goosebumps collection that mysteriously disappeared from my move from Florida, to Vegas a couple years ago. It still saddens me to this day.
I definitely agree that the books we read as children inform so much about what we grow to love as adults.
The disappearance of your Goosebumps collection is tragic. And while I don’t want to downplay the sadness, it’s kind of fitting that they mysteriously vanished!
I found it fitting too, and rude, nonetheless.
Oddly enough I wrote an article talking about the impact Goosebumps had one me and how they didn’t pull back the horror, but just put it in terms kids would understand. Very nice article.
I know that many parents debate whether or not their kids should read horror. I feel like Goosebumps horror was far more psychological than physical. Some people might find that better for kids to be reading, some might find it worse.
I can remember reading them years ago. Night of the Living Dummy and the Scarecrow Walks at Midnight are the two which left the greatest impact.
I completely forgot about The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. That was such a good one! I just read through the Goosebumps Wikia entry on it 🙂
My daughter loves horror and though she’s a little young for these, she loves them!
I found myself strangely addicted to them. I think it’s that RL Stine hit just the right amount of horror and occasionally gives his young readers just the right amount of relief to keep them interested in reading another.
I loved Goosebumps as a young child, and still really enjoy them now!
The last time I read a Goosebumps book from cover to cover was for a high school Spanish class. We read “Sangre de Monstruo”–Monster Blood!–and it was so much fun to see it in a different language.
That’s so cool! I’d love to do that some day 🙂
These were the books that got me into reading, specifically, Why I’m Afraid of Bees. I devoured them as a kid. My mother would buy me one when we arrived at the mall and I’d be finished before we left. It’d be interesting to re-read them and see whether I can recognize any of my current self in them.
Ah, you were a fellow fast reader! I had a similar problem: I could read each book in an evening. Luckily, my parents were super cool about purchasing books for me. Trying to convince them to pick up an SNES game was a lot harder.
i never read the goosebumps i hope to read it when i can i like scary books