Happy Halloween- Poe(m) Recommendation

The days are getting shorter, the sky darker and the weather colder- the long and sunny summer is over and the season of autumn begins. When I think about autumn, I think about pumpkins, cosy sweaters, scarecrows, long walks through landscapes full of paths of orange and yellow leaves and most importantly, curling up with a cup of tea and my favourite books,  TV shows or movies. The spooky season, which begins on October 1st, leads up to a day full of spooky fun, scary movies and maybe even trick-or-treating, but personally, a major event, that has been very dear to me since childhood, is choosing different books and poems to read during this time, literature that represents the atmosphere of Halloween, texts that are scary or just have themes that are a bit darker than my usual reads.

One of the works I annually circle back to is Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”. Poe is a classic example of Gothic Literature, a genre that portrays a rather haunted and dark aesthetic- a perfect read for this season.  The Raven portrays two main presences, the unnamed narrator who is alone, distracting himself from the grief of losing his lover, and the supernatural element of a talking raven that suddenly taps on the window in the middle of the night. From the beginning, the narrator shows hope that Lenore, his lost love, has finally returned to him or that the afterlife will eventually grant them to see each other again. However, the raven’s presence immediately takes these hopes away by simply saying “Nevermore”, which is also the only word it uses throughout the poem. As a result of this loss of love, the hopelessness that comes with this grief haunts him and he drives himself into madness. While it might not seem like a poem fit for the sentiment of Halloween, Poe creates a haunting and even frightening atmosphere by writing about the grief of losing loved ones and never really overcoming this, never being able to let go and living a life full of uncertainty and pain that, in the worst case, can lead to madness. 

But Poe’s poem is already over 100 years old so it might not be an immediate choice of poetry for many people. But what if it can be connected to a more contemporary work, one that attracts a younger audience in the form of film? Last November the Netflix Series Wednesday debuted and it was obvious that it quickly became a fan-favourite. The basic summary is that Wednesday Adams is sent to a boarding school called ‘Nevermore Academy’, learns to use her slowly developing psychic abilities and discovers shocking secrets along the way. One thing that sounds familiar here, next to the well-known Addams family, is “Nevermore Academy”, a name that correlates to the raven’s message in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. Yet, it is not only the school’s name that draws a connection to Poe and his literary work, as the whole series references him quite a lot- it has become a returning theme, a theme connected to admiration.

Did you know that the Netflix series Wednesday has such close ties with Edgar Allan Poe? Did you draw the connection between The Raven and the Nevermore Academy? Can you find any other references throughout the season? (Clue: There are 8 major ones!)

Further Recommendation:

Wednesday is not the only show that makes use of the famous gothic writer, as “The Fall of the House of Usher”, a popular drama miniseries from 2023, is based on one of Poe’s short stories of the same name. 

Next to that, the movie The Pale Blue Eye makes use of his actual person and follows Detective Landor on his investigation of a series of murders with the help of a cadet at West Point who turns out to be Edgar Allan Poe.

Lisa A.

Fall is here!

English · 16 October 2021

With more and more rainy days trickling into our lives, it’s time to accept that summer has inevitably come to an end. Now that fall break has arrived, take the time to enjoy some cozy autumnal literature with us! These picks are short and sweet, the perfect choice to accompany a steaming cup of coffee or tea! If you’re looking for an intriguing short story, take a look at Early Autumn by Langston Hughes: This short story shows that what appears to be small talk on the surface can be packed with emotions, love, and bitterness alike. Set in autumn, the falling leaves and cold weather reflect a complicated romantic relationship. A classic piece of poetry to get in the mood for autumn is, unsurprisingly, To Autumn by John Keats: Written in three stanzas, this romantic poem reflects on three different aspects of autumn: the power of nature, the consolation of beauty, and mortality and transformation.

Do you have any favourite autumn literature? Share your picks with us!

Take care,


The rest of the school was happily anticipating their Hallowe’en feast; the Great Hall had been decorated with the usual live bats, Rubeus Hagrid’s vast pumpkins had been carved into lanterns large enough for three men to sit in, and there were rumours that Albus Dumbledore had booked a troupe of dancing skeletons for the entertainment.” – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)

Originated from a Celtic harvest festival or the Christian tradition of All Saint’s Day, Halloween heralds the approaching cold season and is widely celebrated as a non-religious tradition to frighten away evil spirits and ghosts. Lit4School offers a variety of texts for all school types that can serve as a starting point for your Halloween lesson(s): For bewitched and spooky little stories for our younger learners Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Nate the Great and The Halloween Hunt by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Marc Simont, How to Scare a Ghost by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish or Froggy’s Halloween by Jonathan London provide literary stepping stones. Intermediate learners might enjoy R.L. Stine’s collection of short fiction Nightmare Hour, which features a little bit of everything – from mystery and ghost fiction to aliens and witchcraft. Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein about a terrifying creature that haunts his master or the story of the headless horseman in Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are longer works of fiction from the realm of gothic horror that might be suitable for advanced learners of English.

We do hope, that you like our suggestions and would appreciate it, if you would share your suggestions for a Halloween read with us, so we can feature them in our next year’s post.

Have a spooky Halloween with your pupils!

Kind regards and stay safe,


Autumn Read 2020

English · 9 October 2020

Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” – J.K. Rowling

As summer draws to a close and winter slowly approaches, here are some of our suggestions for the golden time of the year – or the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness‘ as Keats called it in his romantic poem “To Autumn” (1819/20).

  • Sarah’s picks: Gusts of wind, thunderstorms and crisp autumn air… the perfect time of year to cuddle up inside with a cup of tea, fuzzy socks and a good book! And although we can’t always hide away from the outside world under a cosy blanket, we can try to bring that atmosphere to the classroom with some autumnal stories! For young readers, Room on the Broom offers a fun story full of rhymes about a witch, a dragon and a flying broomstick to get everyone in the Halloween spirit. For a short story about a relationship that has run its course, take a look at Early Autumn by Langston Hughes. Although the conversation seems to stay in the realm of small talk, the awkward dynamic between the two hints at a complicated past and unresolved feelings. The autumnal setting reflects their relationship. We hope these suggestions help you (pumpkin) spice up your autumn reading list!
  • Sarah-Sophia’s picks: As the veil of darkness falls a little earlier every day, it is time for me to unbox some old scary Gothic stories. Mary Shelley provides us with a quite extraordinary one, a favourite of mine in the time leading up to Halloween: Frankenstein (1818). Combine some ingenuity with an omnium gatherum of body parts. Add some stitches and a little electricity and you won’t need a ghost to haunt you as you have a corporeal monster: Frankenstein’s monster. This multi-layered character will wake sympathy and terror likewise and pull you into its tragic life story of becoming a monster in the process. My suggestion: Read it to someone in the dark with a flashlight under your face. Fancy something more romantic and slightly easier on the mind? Here are some powerful lines of hope and transition by Emily Brontë: Fall, leaves, fall (1846) Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away; Lengthen night and shorten day; Every leaf speaks bliss to me; Fluttering from the autumn tree. I shall smile when wreaths of snow; Blossom where the rose should grow; I shall sing when night’s decay; Ushers in a drearier day.
  • Rico’s picks: All kinds of animals may be preparing for a good winter’s sleep … but you certainly don’t, avid reader, no. You are used to sharpening your senses through the looking glass which is literature. May I suggest Vox, Christina Dalcher’s dystopic novel, for that very purpose? Set in a future version of the USA, which has taken yet another turn for the worse, this story forcefully demonstrates how quickly freedom can be lost if we don’t uphold it in our every day lives. If that isn’t enough to keep you up at night, how about a more classic scare treatment in the form of The Cats of Ulthar? Chills up your spine are guaranteed in this 2-page short story by the great H. P. Lovecraft. Once Halloween has passed, however, we would be wrong in not offering some consolation which, of course, also is literature. Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is a nicely illustrated story for the young – and young at heart – about a small, hard-working creature stumbled upon by a curious little girl. So do feel encouraged to not freak out about the way things are at the moment. Where is lit, there certainly is hope!
  • Simon’s picks: Cold foggy mornings and warm burning sunsets: In autumn, summer shows the last flair of rebellion against the approaching winter, and thereby creates a colourful, mysterious and melancholic season. Here comes my first suggestion – a classic gothic tale that some of you might know from its film adaptation with Johnny Depp from the year 1999: Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820). The classic short story of the ‘pumpkin-topped headless horseman‘ does not only play around Halloween, but it also features the somewhat awkward schoolmaster Ichabod Crane as a main character, who strongly believes in the supernatural. After a harvest party, Ichabod rides home on his old horse ‘Gunpowder‘ and becomes the victim of a rather mean prank in the middle of the night. My second suggestion is rather suitable for the elementary classroom and the earlier grades, whose colours reminded me of autumn: Ruth Brown’s Greyfriars Bobby (2013). This beautifully illustrated picture book tells a heartwarming story about a faithful, little dog, who became a local hero for the people of Edinburgh.

Also, if you come across a brilliant new story which you think the world should know about, make sure to suggest it, so we can feature it in our next holiday reading list. Enjoy your autumn holidays, especially long walks in the park, but remember: Winter is coming…

The editors