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Light: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about light?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to light. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about light.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. 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 light, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Very Lonely Firefly to popular sellers like The House in the Night to some of our favorite hidden gems like Windows.

We hope this list of kids books about light can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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The King Who Banned the Dark
Written & 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?

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Windows
Written by Julia Denos & illustrated by E. B. Goodale
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night.

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When God Made Light
Written by Matthew Paul Turner & illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the creators of the bestselling “When God Made You” comes a new illuminating message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. Full color.

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Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark
Written by Jonathan Stutzman & illustrated by Jay Fleck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

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The House in the Night
Written by Susan Marie Swanson & illustrated by Beth Krommes
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

2009 Caldecott Medal Winner

A spare, patterned text and glowing pictures explore the origins of light that make a house a home in this Caldecott Medal-winning bedtime book for young children. Naming nighttime things that are both comforting and intriguing to preschoolers—a key, a bed, the moon—this timeless book illuminates a reassuring order to the universe.

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  • 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.

  • The Very Lonely Firefly - A VERY classic from Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! When a very lonely firefly goes out into the night searching for other fireflies, it sees a lantern, a candle, and the eyes of a dog, cat, and owl all glowing in the darkness. It even sees a surprise celebration of light. But it is not until it discovers other fireflies that it finds exactly what it’s looking for–a surprise sure to bring smiles to anyone who turn the final page! Lushly illustrated with Eric Carle’s trademark vibrant collage art, soothingly told with a gentle read-aloud rhythm, and complete with a surprise sure to “light up” children’s faces, The Very Lonely Firefly will fast become a storytime favorite. Read it with a flashlight in the dark or under the table–and watch those fireflies glow!

  • Optical Physics for Babies - Finally, a scientific series that treats babies like the geniuses they are! Written by an expert, Optical Physics for Babies is a colorfully simple introduction to optical physics. Babies (and grownups) will discover how light is refracted and reflected and even how rainbows are made!It only takes a small spark to ignite a child’s mind.

  • You Are Light - With a wondrously simple die-cut book, the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of the Journey trilogy brings his talents further into the light. This is the light that brings the day. Open this beautiful book to find a graphic yellow sun surrounded by a halo of bright die-cut circles. Now hold the page up to the light and enjoy the transformation as the colors in those circles glow. In an elegant, sparely narrated ode to the phenomenon of light, Aaron Becker follows as light reflects off the earth to warm our faces, draws up the sea to make the rain, feeds all the things that grow, and helps to create all the brilliant wonders of the world, including ourselves.

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What Is Light?
Written by Markette Sheppard & illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This lyrical and luminously illustrated picture book explores the beauty of the everyday moments in a child’s world.

Light can be so many things! The twinkle of a faraway star, a firefly captured in a jar, a mother’s love, a turtle dove…

Through this thoughtful and celebratory book, young readers will discover the special glow in everything from nature to the smiles of loved ones. Each page reveals a different sparkle found in a child’s simple but extraordinary world. The light revealed on the final page makes a fitting finale for this sweet, bright tale.

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Speed of Starlight: An Exploration of Physics, Sound, Light, and Space
Written by Colin Stuart & illustrated by Ximo Abadia
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
A contemporary exploration of physics, light, and sound told through stunning graphic artwork.
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Night Walk to the Sea: A Story about Rachel Carson, Earth's Protector
Written by Deborah Wiles & illustrated by Daniel Miyares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
This luminous picture book by an award-winning author and acclaimed illustrator is the perfect tool to discuss the importance of the natural world with young children, as well as introduce them to environmental activist Rachel Carson.
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Let's Make a Rainbow!: Seeing the Science of Light Refraction with Optical Physics
Written by Chris Ferrie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Equip the next generation of scientists with a brand new series from Chris Ferrie, the #1 science author for kids!

Rainbows are beautiful! As Red Kangaroo admires one arching across the sky, she wonders where rainbows come from―luckily, Dr. Chris has the answer! With just two ingredients and three simple steps, Red Kangaroo learns all about the science behind these wonderful, colorful sights!

Chris Ferrie offers a kid-friendly introduction to light refraction and optical physics in this installment of his new Everyday Science Academy series. Written by an expert, with real-world and practical examples, young readers will have a firm grasp of scientific and mathematical concepts to help answer many of their “why” questions.

Perfect for elementary-aged children and supports the Common Core Learning Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) standards.

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First Light, First Life
Written by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Julie Paschkis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Combining elements of the creation story from different traditions, this narrative weaves together one complete picture of how the world began. First Light, First Life is a celebration of the many and varied peoples of the earth, of their commonalities and their differences. It is a celebration of life.

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  • Fly, Firefly - One evening at dusk a wind current carries a lone firefly out over the sea. Glancing down into the water, the insect is mesmerized by the glowing bioluminescence, mistaking it for other fireflies. Seeking company, the firefly plunges into the waves. Luckily, there are human bystanders who can lend a hand. Based on an event witnessed by nature writer and ecologist Rachel Carson (The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring) where a firefly attempts to join its “family” in the ocean, this lyrical story written in verse perfectly illustrates the wonder and delight the natural world offers those who pay close enough attention. Back matter includes science facts about fireflies and bioluminescence, as well as information about Carson’s life.

  • Night Light - Count the nighttime lights on a train, a helicopter, a fire truck, and seven more vehicles in this bold picture book with die-cut surprises. 1 light, shining bright? A train! 7 lights, flashing red and white? A fire truck! And so on all the way to ten lights. Part guessing game, part counting book, NIGHT LIGHT is a boldly imagined book for the preschool child who loves cars, trucks, and anything that goes. With die-cuts on every other page, this rhyming story features vehicles and counting, combining a high interest preschool subject with important preschool concepts.

  • Light the Menorah - Light the menorah and celebrate eight days of fun with this interactive book! It?s time to celebrate Hanukkah! From learning the story of the Macabees to making potato latkes and playing dreidel, kids will love reading along with this fun book. A pull-tab on each page allows children to “light” the candles of the menorah.

  • 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.

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Happy Birthday to You!
Written by Nosy Crow & illustrated by Nicola Slater
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A group of musicians is traveling to a caf� for a surprise celebration. Press the buttons to hear them play their instruments . . . and join in with the whole band at the end to wish one little otter a very happy birthday! With a flute, guitar, violin, and piano, plus a rousing “big band” chorus and a splendid light-up birthday cake, this delightful little book makes the perfect birthday gift.

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Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy
Written by Don Freeman & illustrated by Lisa McCue
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Celebrate the festival of lights with Corduroy, the classic bear loved for 50 years.

Corduroy’s having a Hanukkah party for all of his friends. First they light the menorah, then they eat yummy potato pancakes. After they open presents, there’s time for a game of dreidel. Introduce little boys and girls to all of the Hanukkah traditions with Corduroy, one of the most beloved children’s books characters for the past five decades.

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Bunny Rabbit in the Sunlight
Written by Caspar Babypants & illustrated by Kate Endle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Various animals act while under different types of light. On board pages.

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