A scarecrow (Photo by Donald Lee Pardue)

Who has been called “the Stephen King of children’s literature?” His name is R.L. Stine.

Robert Lawrence Stine, more commonly known as R.L. Stine, has authored hundreds of horror fiction books for young readers. Stine was born in 1943 in Columbus, Ohio. He gained an interest in writing at the age of nine when he found a typewriter in the attic of his house. He attended The Ohio State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in the 1960s. While studying at OSU, Stine became interested in writing humor. He was the editor of the school’s humor magazine called The Sun Dial. Upon moving to New York City after college, he created a humor magazine for kids called Bananas.  This magazine produced 72 issues from 1975 until 1984.

It was in the 1980s when Stine began publishing horror books that would soon become extremely popular among preteen and teenage readers. His first horror book to hit the shelves of bookstores was called Blind Date. He later wrote similar books like Hit and Run, Beach House, The Babysitter, and The Girlfriend. In the late 1980s, Fear Street and Space Cadets were his first two series of books published for a mass audience.

Stine’s most popular book series was Goosebumps. The books in this series were published throughout the 1990s, and kids across the U.S. checked them out at a rapid pace from their school and local libraries. The series catapulted Stine to becoming America’s top selling author of the decade. In total, Stine’s books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide, ranking him among some of the most popular authors in the history of literature. Goosebumps is a series of novels telling the stories of children who are involved in frightening situations. As the title of the series implies, readers are supposed to get goose bumps while reading the books. What makes this particular series so unique is that it’s written using elements of humor and supernatural – two themes that aren’t found very often in adult horror novels. In addition, the text is appropriate for most kids in later elementary or early middle school as it does not cross the line in terms of how scary the stories actually are. In other words, it’s scary enough, but not too scary.

Find Goosebumps and other great fiction by Stine using Textbooks.org. There’s a reason Stine has received so much respect and has sold so many books. Check them out for yourself, or tell your kids about them as a good way to encourage them to read.