Underneath the Juniper Tree: Celebrating Macabre Children’s Lit

972159_591620137538661_550724022_nI love children’s stories and poetry. I love them even more when they dance on the line of the macabre, teasing their readers with things that go thump in the night and encouraging goose bumps that chase that wicked chill down your neck.

The thrillers and tales of horror in adult publishing often become so immensely gory and vulgar that we lose the innocence of the not-quite-right. This is where macabre children’s lit comes in.

‘Underneath the Juniper Tree’ was first introduced to me by Gordon Warnock, a literary agent I met at my first writing conference. He suggested that with my affinity for both reading and writing dark children’s lit, I might be fond of reading the online magazine and possibly even submitting to it one day.

I’ve read the magazine off and on since early 2012, and finally got up the nerve to submit my own work just this last April when they hosted a contest with the prompt word ‘dissect’. Rebekah helped kick-start the idea that became the finished piece, and just this month “Following in Daddy’s Footsteps” was published in the Spring issue.

As a poet, my venues for publication and sharing work are often very different from that of novelists. Journals and magazines are key, and a brilliant way to discover new work from poets and short story writers both old and new.

‘Underneath the Juniper Tree’ is a hidden gem in the sometimes too-populated world of literary magazines and is well worth the time to check out the unique artwork, stories, and poetry inside. You can find them on Facebook and read all of the issues on ISSUU.

Have you ever read or written any macabre children’s lit? I’m always looking for more examples so make sure to drop a comment if you have some to share!

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