Columbus native R.L. Stine went from being an obscure magazine editor to the best-selling children’s author in history, passing such prolific novelists as Stephen King, John Grisham and Tom Clancy. Stine rose to fame in the early nineties, when he launched the wildly popular Goosebumps, a series featuring spooky tales for ages eight to eleven. Stine is also author of Fear Street, a series that preceded Goosebumps and – with its gruesome content – is aimed at young adults. Just five years after the first Fear Street novel, Stine became the nation’s best-selling author. His Goosebumps series alone has sold more than 250 million copies.
Some critics have mounted campaigns to ban Stine’s books, alleging that children can’t cope with the frightening content. Others have taken a better-than-nothing-view, conceding that Stine’s books have turned reluctant readers into avid bookworms. Stine has suggested that – by reading how his characters overcome fear through strength and resourcefulness – his scary stories actually help kids cope with a frightening world.
In spite of the controversy, the multimedia phenomenon that is R.L. Stine leaves no doubt that children worldwide are spellbound by this Ohio-born writer.