Within the first few pages of THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, Neil Gaiman hands the reader a wonderfully imaginative and vile villain named Jack, a member of an Order called the Jacks of All Trades. And he leaves no doubt about just how evil Jack is:
“The hunt was almost over. He had left the woman in her bed, the man on the bedroom floor, the older child in her brightly colored bedroom, surrounded by toys and half-finished models. That only left the little one, a baby barely a toddler, to take care of. One more and his task would be done.”
But the toddler escapes into a nearby graveyard, where he is sheltered and eventually raised by its resident ghosts. This unique story is at once a murder mystery, a fantasy novel and a coming-of-age book. And if my recommendation alone isn’t enough, it was also the only book to have won both the Carnegie Medal and Newbery Medal. While a bit dark and creepy at times, I would still recommend it for kids as young as middle elementary.