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7 Kids Books About Facing Fears & Bedtime

Updated Jan. 19, 2019

Fear is one of those things that is common to the human experience and plagues both children and adults alike. When you are scared of something, regardless of your age, reason and logic can give way to an irrational fear that it seems impossible to conquer. In these moments, we crave someone who understands, empathizes and yet is simultaneously above this fear and can also provide comfort and reassurance. Parents and other mentors can help fill this role for children, and stories can help. They provide a framework for talking about fears (whether a specific fear the child shares with a book character or fears in general) and how to conquer them in a way that is less personal and thus more accessible. Then when situations arise in everyday life, parents and children have a common point they can start from—"Remember what Orion did when he was scared of the dark?"—and work from there. Whether you're tackling anxieties about the dark, starting school, leaving home, getting a haircut, being alone, stage fright or anything else, these books can help bridge the gap and start to quell those fears—seriously, some of our very favorites on this list.

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night book
#1
Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night
Written by Kallie George and illustrated by Oriol Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feather, Flap, and Spike are spending their first night in their very own nest. They tell stories and snuggle up to get a good night’s sleep, until . . . GRRORE! What’s that scary-sounding noise? Young readers will find both humor and comfort in this cozy bedtime story, perfect for anybody who’s ever been nervous about a mysterious noise at night.

The King Who Banned the Dark book
#2
The King Who Banned the Dark
Written and illustrated by Emily Haworth-Booth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Once there was a Prince who was afraid of the dark--like so many children are. But this boy became King and actually did something about it: he banned the dark completely! Soon, the sleep-deprived, exhausted citizens are ready to revolt. Can the people help the King face his fears and see that you can't appreciate the light without having the dark, too?

I Love You, Bunny book
#3
I Love You, Bunny
Written and illustrated by Alina Surnaite
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sometimes Suzie gets scared in the night, but Bunny White is always there to look after for her. One night, a strange shadow creeps into the room, and Bunny White is nowhere to be found. I Love You, Bunny is a beautiful debut about overcoming being afraid of the dark, illustrated in a classic, nostalgic style. The heartwarming story is perfect for before bed reading, and Alina Surnaite displays a rare drawing talent reminiscent of Shirley Hughes and Martin Waddell.

Brave Little Monster book
#4
Brave Little Monster
Written by Ken Baker and illustrated by Geoffrey Hayes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

BRAVE LITTLE MONSTER relates the humorous bedtime exploits of a young monster trying to go sleep while a scary little girl hides in his closet eating ice cream and a little boy colors under his bed. The wonderful illustrations by Geoffrey Hayes and fun storyline by Ken Baker make BRAVE LITTLE MONSTER a perfect bedtime story for little monsters everywhere. "Little monsters fear little girls and boys hiding in their rooms in this delightful parody of a nightly bedtime ritual

A Nervous Night book
#5
A Nervous Night
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents' house.

Katie Goes Camping book
#6
Katie Goes Camping
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie has a wonderful time camping with her friends Pedro and JoJo, but when it gets dark the shadows make ordinary things seem frightening.

Goodnight Bob book
#7
Goodnight Bob
Written by Ann Hassett and illustrated by John Hassett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It's bedtime for Bob. But, oh no, he sees a pair of eyes in the dark! Who is it? With a flashlight, Bob discovers it's a friendly creature wishing him goodnight. Goodnight, Bob! Then more eyes appear. Who is it now?

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!