Books about being afraid of the dark

When the Stars Come Out: Exploring the Magic and Mysteries of the Night-Time

Children are often fearful of the dark at bedtime, but these books will gently allay their fears, while acknowledging them. There are also books that show the benefits of the dark and the beauty of it.

  • Orion and the Dark

    Author: Emma Yarlett
    Publisher: Templar Publishing
    Interest age: 4-5

    Orion doesn’t like bedtime – because it gets dark. But when Dark drops in to visit him, Orion might find it’s not that scary after all. Reassuringly warm, with beautiful illustrations. 

  • Afraid of the Dark

    Author: Sarah Shaffi & Isabel Otter Illustrator: Lucy Farfort
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 6+

    Amy can't sleep in her new bedroom, but with the help of some new friends and a caring father, she soon feels at home.

  • The Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin

    Author: Nicola O’Byrne
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 3-5

    It's starting to get dark but Rabbit doesn't want to go to sleep, so he traps the Dark in his biscuit tin. Can the Dark convince Rabbit about the benefits of night-time and to let him out? The perfect book for little ones who might be a bit reluctant to put down their toys and say goodnight. 

  • The Usborne Book of Night Time

    Author: Laura Cowan Illustrator: Bonnie Pang
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 5+

    This gorgeously illustrated book gives readers a sneak peek into some of the things that take place around the world when darkness descends.

  • Sam Wu is Not Afraid of the Dark

    Author: Katie & Kevin Tsang Illustrator: Nathan Reed
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    The quest continues for Sam Wu to prove that he is not afraid of anything. This time he is out to prove that he is not by any means afraid of the dark... This series is going from strength to strength and is a great accessible read.

  • The Dark

    Author: Lemony Snicket Illustrator: Jon Klassen
    Publisher: Orchard Book
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    One night, the night-light goes out, and the dark calls Laszlo down into the basement to meet it.

  • Glow: The Wild Wonders of Bioluminescence

    Author: Jennifer N. R. Smith
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This large-format book is packed with incredible facts about the different flora and fauna that light up our world, from fireflies to anglerfish and even glowing mushrooms!

  • Handa's Noisy Night

    Author: Eileen Browne
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 2-5

    This is a lovely addition to the classic Handa stories, which are beloved by so many.  In this, Handa is allowed spend the night with her friend Akeyo, when they hear some strange noises. Children will have great fun trying to mimic the animal sounds!

  • The Night Knights

    Author: Gideon Sterer Illustrator: Cory Godbey
    Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
    Interest age: 5-7
    Reading age: 5+

    Night time might be considered a time for monsters, except heroic Night Knights guard children’s houses when darkness falls. A magically reassuring book for bedtime.

  • Emily Brown and the Thing

    Author: Cressida Cowell Illustrator: Neal Layton
    Publisher: Hachette
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    Lying in bed, Emily can hear lots of household noises which she discovers are made by a Thing who is afraid of things.

  • Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?

    Author: Martin Waddell Illustrator: Barbara Firth
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    Little Bear just can't get to sleep because he is afraid of the dark. Big Bear is patient and brings bigger and bigger lanterns to keep away the darkness. Still Little Bear is afraid, so Big Bear takes him outside to see the moon and the stars. Finally, cuddled up in Big Bear's arms, Little Bear goes to sleep, allowing Big Bear to finish reading his book. Th…

  • George and His Nighttime Friends

    Author: Seng Soun Ratanavanh
    Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
    Reading age: 4-8

    George is a lonely little boy who is afraid of the dark and finds it difficult to get to sleep at night. This wonderfully reassuring tale is sure to become a favourite bedtime read.

  • WOW! It's Night-Time

    Author: Tim Hopgood
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 2-4

    Little book lovers will enjoy the return of this curious owl and following her night-time discoveries and seeing what happens in the outside world when they fall asleep. The illustrations are bold and stylish, and bring to life the midnight wildlife.

  • When the Stars Come Out: Exploring the Magic and Mysteries of the Night-Time

    Author: Nicola Edwards Illustrator: Lucy Cartwright
    Publisher: 360 degrees
    Interest age: 8-10
    Reading age: 8-10

    Can birds sleep in the air? Do dogs dream? What happens in deserts at night, and why do Scandinavian nurseries let their infants have naps outside? What is Walpurgisnacht and how many hours' sleep do children in South Korea get?