Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to fear of the dark. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about fear of the dark.
Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.
When it comes to children’s stories about fear of the dark, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Katie Goes Camping to popular sellers like The Dark to some of our favorite hidden gems like Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?.
We hope this list of kids books about fear of the dark can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
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?
Orion is very scared of the dark—until Dark decides to pay him a visit!
Orion is scared of a lot of things, but most of all he’s scared of the dark. So one night the Dark decides to take Orion on an adventure. Emma Yarlett’s second picture book combines her incredible storytelling and artwork with die-cut pages that bring the Dark to life.
“I don’t like the dark,” said Little Bear. “What dark?” said Big Bear. “The dark all around us,” said Little Bear.
In this tender account of a sleepless night in the bear cave, Big Bear sets out with all his patience and understanding to show Little Bear that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. When all the lanterns in the cave aren’t enough to quell Little Bear’s troubled emotions, Big Bear offers—in a final loving gesture—nothing less than the bright yellow moon and the twinkling stars! More comforting than even the best of lullabies, this bedtime story is destined to become a classic.
Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem–at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is–and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.
Although she has battled supervillains, Ellie has recently become scared of the dark, so when she is invited to a Halloween sleepover at her best friend’s house she is apprehensive–but when the villainous Fairy Frightmare sprinkles the girls with bad dream dust, trapping them all inside their nightmares, Ellie must squash her own fears to rescue her friends.
Otis and the Puppy - Otis and his farm friends love to play hide-and-seek. Otis especially loves to be “It,” finding his friends as they hide. Yet when the newest addition to the farm—a bounding puppy who can’t sit still and has a habit of licking faces—tries to hide, he finds his attention wandering and is soon lost in the forest. Night falls and Otis, knowing his new friend is afraid of the dark, sets out to find him. There’s just one problem: Otis is also afraid of the dark. His friend is alone and in need, though, so Otis takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and sets off on a different game of hide-and-seek. From the critically-acclaimed illustrator of The Little Engine that Could, Of Thee I Sing, and Otis.
Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark - The adorable and indomitable Tiny T. Rex from the critically acclaimed Tiny T. Rex and The Impossible Hug is back in a tale about friendship and overcoming your fears. Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy are having a campout in the backyard! It is what best friends do. But without their nighty-lights, the dark outside suddenly seems VERY dark . . . and very full of spooky things. Good thing Tiny has a super-secret plan to keep the dark at bay! Full of warmth and plenty of laughs, this new adventure starring Tiny T. Rex shows that friends will always find a way to face their fears together—even when those fears are not what they seem! • A great read-aloud book for parents and children • Hip, colorful art and delightful text make Tiny T. Rex an instant favorite of any dinosaur-loving toddler. • A perfect book to help toddlers and children overcome a fear of the dark Fans of silly picture books like Dinosaur vs Bedtime, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, and Llama Destroys the World will love the sweet spirit and continuing adventures of Tiny T. Rex.
The Dark - Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does. This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark. With emotional insight and poetic economy, two award-winning talents team up to conquer a universal childhood fear.
Scared of the Dark? It's Really Scared of You - <em>Scared of the Dark? It’s Really Scared of You </em>is a picture book that playfully unpacks a common childhood fear.
What if an entire world of MONSTERS lived underneath your floor? Martina is having trouble sleeping because she is afraid monsters might break through the floor and bring her into the monster world where she’ll have to learn how to scare humans. Meanwhile, Anitram, a little girl monster, is also having trouble sleeping. There’s a noisy little human jumping on the bed in the upside-down world under her floor! Martina and Anitram have more in common than they realize and when a mysterious hole opens up in the floor between their worlds, they are in for a big surprise! A beautiful and clever tale that makes a perfect bedtime story for anyone who is afraid of (or wants to become friends with) a monster!
Julio can’t sleep because he thinks he’ll have bad dreams. So his papa tells him a comforting secret: Anyone can summon mythic avengers to conquer their fears.Now those monsters under the bed and in the closet don’t stand a chance! Julio learns that his imagination is mighty and can turn all his dreams into good ones. This story has universal appeal with its vibrant comic book art and bilingual Spanish translation. We share common experiences, no matter where we’re from. And we all have unlimited power when we let our imaginations fly.
Here is a magical bedtime story, sure to inspire readers with its message of friendship and kindness.
Nina is afraid of the dark. Luckily she has a nightlight, but one night the power goes out. What can Nina do to keep the shadows from creeping in? She catches a firefly to keep her company. But soon it’s clear that what works for Nina is not good for her new friend, and so Nina has to make a decision.
This is a story that celebrates the joy of doing the right thing—even when it’s not easy to do—with stunning black-and-white illustrations and fireflies represented by glowing spots of color—perfect to capture the effect of this heartwarming fantasy for the youngest child.
Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he’s fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he’s scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.
Sam Wu is NOT afraid of the dark. But it’s hard to prove you’re brave when you’re about to face your greatest challenge: camping. That means confronting terrifying things like grizzly bears, vampire bats, aliens, and the worst person in the WHOLE UNIVERSE–Ralph ZInkerman! When something starts haunting the woods, can Sam and his crew band together to become Masters of the Dark? And could they even have . . . FUN?
Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night - 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.
Dragon Night - Georgie is afraid of the night. It’s too dark with the lights off. Too quiet with everyone asleep. And being alone makes everything worse. The dragon is afraid of the knight. After all, the knight carries a heavy sword, and he always wants to fight. The dragon knows just what to do to help Georgie overcome his fear, and the two set off on a unforgettable magical adventure. But when the morning comes, the dragon is still afraid of the knight. How can Georgie help his friend? With kindness and empathy–and a little creativity–maybe Georgie can work some magic of his own. J. R. Krause, an award-winning animator of The Simpsons and Futurama, has created a visually stunning story with incredible emotional depth, which addresses the needs of children to express their feelings and be received with kindness and empathy.
Ella and Penguin Stick Together - Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won’t work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor’s sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet’s irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.
Katie Goes Camping - Katie has a wonderful time camping with her friends Pedro and JoJo, but when it gets dark the shadows make ordinary things seem frightening.
A little girl and her soldier father find a way to be close even when he?s away at war
Amanda is scared of the dark. But her dad can fix that. He shows Amanda all the wonderful things that live in the dark, like fireflies, crickets, and stars. And when her father has to go away, he even puts glowing paper stars on Amanda?s bedroom ceiling, so she can look at their special star while he?s away and know he?s on the other side of the world looking at it too, and thinking of her.
Stars Above Us is an affecting, beautifully illustrated narrative tailor-made for children who?ve ever lived without a parent.
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