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Know Ohio: Meet R.L. Stine, Ohio's Spooky Children's Author

Today we meet one of the most prolific and creepy children's authors - R.L. Stine. He is the author of some of the best Halloween stories: Goosebumps, The Haunting Hour, Fear Street, and much more. In today’s Know Ohio, we learn how he went from a regular Ohio kid to a famous writer and movie maker.

Class Discussion Questions:

1) What is your favorite Goosebumps story, or spooky story in general?

2) What would you do if one of the Goosebumps creatures came to life?

Read the Script:

[ANNA HUNTSMAN / IDEASTREAM]: Boo! Did I scare you? Probably not. But the author we are going to learn about today is an expert at scaring people! That author is R.L. Stine. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He’s an Ohio native that has written a lot - and I mean a lot - of spooky stories.

Robert Lawrence Stine was born October 3rd, 1943, in Columbus. His mother managed the household while his father worked as a shipping clerk. Stine also has two younger siblings, one brother and one sister.

His family was very poor, many of the clothes that the children had were hand-me-downs from older cousins and other relatives. Because of this, Stine was pretty shy. He didn’t want people to judge him because of his clothes.

His story goes like this: one day, he found an old typewriter in his attic, he brought it down to his room and his love for writing was born.

Stine was more of a class clown than a straight-a student. He just wanted to write stories instead of study!

After graduating high school, Stine attended the Ohio state university in Columbus. While at college, he was editor of the sundial, the school humor magazine. He liked to joke that he spent more time editing the magazine than attending classes.

In 1967, Stine traveled to new york city to become a writer. He got a job at scholastic where he wrote for school magazines.

Then he began to write funny children’s books. He wrote “How to be Funny,” “The Sick of Being Sick Book,” and “101 Creepy Creature Jokes." Stine later created his own humor magazine, bananas magazine, which he wrote and edited for ten years.

In 1969, Stine married Jane Waldhorn. She too was a writer and editor, and they even worked together on several books. Jane formed a publishing company with her business partner called parachute press. This would be the home of Stine’s most popular book series.

1986, Stine switched from writing humor and jokes, to ghosts and monsters. People couldn’t get enough of his first scary teen novel “Blind Date”! It became the first of many best-sellers.

Encouraged by the success, Stine created an entire young adult series, “Fear Street.” it went on to be the best-selling young adult series in history with over one hundred books!

But that’s not all he’s known for... The most recognized book series connected to R.L. Stine was created in 1992, “Goosebumps.” this series for kids in middle school became an instant global phenomenon. There are over one hundred and thirty goosebumps stories!

Goosebumps even became a tv show that earned the title of number one kids show for three years straight in the 90’s.

It wasn’t his only successful television program- The Haunting Hour won three Emmy awards for most outstanding children’s tv show in 20-13, 14 and 15.

In 2015, the Goosebumps series was turned into a movie starring Jack Black and forty monsters from the goosebumps series. And in 2023, Disney+ released a new series also inspired by Stine’s most popular series.

At the age of 76, R.L. Stine is still writing! So, the next time you visit the library, check out the goosebumps series or another R.L. Stine! There are plenty to choose from! Maybe you’ll be inspired to come up with your own spooky story - no typewriter required!