Stories to Read in the Dark

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

The dark can be filled with wonder, nocturnal creatures, and magic. Here are some books that celebrate the enchantment that can only be experienced when the lights are out.

  • The Night World

    2015 by Gerstein, Mordicai

    A very insistent cat drags her boy outside to experience the world at night in this dreamy picture book. Quiet, gentle, and celebratory, this book is an excellent read for anyone who doesn’t feel fully comfortable in the dark. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Fox Explores the Night

    2018 by Jenkins, Martin

    This nonfiction picture book reads just like a story. I love how you can also use that story to talk about light and dark. Where does light come from during the day and where does it come from at night? What happens when solid objects get in the way of light? This one is perfect for curious 4-8-year-olds. Suggested by Gudrun.

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  • Flashlight

    2014 by Boyd, Lizi

    This surprising wordless picture book invites us to explore the forest in the middle of the night through the beam of a flashlight! Though most of the page is shown in shadowy lines, we can see that the forest is alive--and it just might be curious about us too! Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Usha and the Big Digger

    2021 by Knight, Amitha Jagannath

    I really like how this and the other titles in the storytelling math series use engaging stories to illustrate math concepts. When Usha and Aarti look up at the stars, they see different things. Aarti sees a Big Dipper, but Usha sees a Big DIGGER. Then their cousin Gloria sees the Big Kite! Could they all be right? Yes! You can try this and other simple observation exercises at home with your children. Suggested by Gudrun.

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  • Blackout

    2011 by Rocco, John

    This award winning picture book shows what happens when the lights go out in the city, and everyone is forced to take a break from their busy, light-filled schedules: a big, community party! Suggested by Shelley.

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  • The Night Gardener

    2016 by Fan, Terry

    In this lovely, dreamy picture book, a dreary town is transformed by a mysterious landscape artist who creates topiary by the light of the moon. Suggested by Shelley.

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  • In the Night Kitchen

    1995 by Sendak, Maurice

    This cheeky picture book makes a great read-aloud and is sure to spark great conversations about your wildest dreams. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • The Dark

    2013 by Snicket, Lemony

    I love how this story gets you to the edge of your seat before putting a huge smile on your face. This is perfect to read with kids who like their books scary, but not too scary. Suggested by Gudrun.

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  • Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night

    2010 by Sidman, Joyce

    Not only is this a wonderful book of poetry filled with gorgeous illustrations, but you also learn cool things about some night creatures! Suggested by Shelley.

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  • After Dark: Poems about Nocturnal Animals

    2020 by Harrison, David L.

    This one is really fun one to read with a bigger kid (6-10-year-olds will love it!). Perfect for browsing, these gorgeously illustrated poems about different nocturnal animals weave in fascinating facts. Those who want a deeper dive can find it in the backmatter. Suggested by Gudrun.

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  • Glow: Animals with Their Own Night-Lights

    2016 by Beck, W. H.

    Bioluminescence is kind of like a superpower that helps living things make friends, hide, find food, even communicate in the total darkness. In this stunning nonfiction book, animals glow on land, in the air, and especially deep in the ocean where sunlight can’t reach. Enjoy this wonderful, widely appealing read-aloud with kids as young as 4. Suggested by Gudrun.

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  • This Was Our Pact

    2019 by Andrews, Ryan

    This shivery--but not scary--graphic novel is filled with all the magic and wonder that an autumn night holds. A thrilling, moonlit ride. Suggested by Caitlin.

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