Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to night. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about night.
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.
We hope this list of kids books about night can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!
In 1957, Harper published its first I Can Read title, Little Bear, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Large type, simple vocabulary, chapter-like divisions, and decorative pictures made Little Bear perfect for emerging readers
A poetic and evocative exploration of the natural world at night illustrated in illuminating paper-cut dioramas.This dreamlike picture book asks the question: if you were night, what would you do? If you saw the moon tiptoe past your window, would you nestle under the covers? Or would you step outside to follow it? What if you felt a tail brush your ankle, would you freeze? Or skitter away? And if you saw an owl swoop from a branch, would you hide? Or join the hunt? All the while, the child pictured in the book chooses adventure, and thrillingly experiences a night like no other.From the award-winning and acclaimed author M n Th? V?n comes a lyrical and evocative exploration of the natural world at night. The poetic language of the text engages all the senses as it gently poses questions that pull readers’ imaginations outdoors, where night creatures roam and everything seems different. Kelly Pousette’s intricate paper-cut dioramas, intriguingly presented with shadows and darkness falling around them, are packed with charming details for children to investigate. This unique and thought-provoking book is sure to encourage observation and spark curiosity — and many conversations. A wonderful read-aloud or bedtime story, this book also ties in beautifully with primary lessons about the natural world.
This series of affordable paperbacks offers an appealing variety of fiction and nonfiction by such popular authors as Jean Marzollo, Joyce Milton, Richard Scarry, and Joanna Cole
Three little bears set out, on a dark night, to explore a mysterious hollow tree and, once inside, make surprising discovery after surprising discovery.
Float along with the Fog Maiden as she takes two children on an enchanted bedtime adventure in this classic from the bestselling author of Strega Nona, Quiet, and more– now back in print!
When everyone was fast asleep, two children were awakened by Token, the Fog Maiden’s mysterious cat, and sent into the magical night.
Gentle and lyrical, this forgotten classic bedtime story from the author of Quiet and Strega Nona is back to enchant a new generation of fans. Soft illustrations paired with an imaginative text take readers on a dreamlike journey– sharing milk and honey with the trolls, watching the peacocks waltz, and attending a palace ball– before tucking them safely back into bed.
Cozy, quiet, and sure to delight, the Fog Maiden’s sweet dream is made to be shared.
The Going To Bed Book - Getting ready for sleep is tons of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic. The sun has set not long ago. Now everybody goes below to take a bath in one big tub with soap all over—SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB! This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.
Sunrise, Moonrise - Day turns into night and some animals drift to sleep while others spring to life in this beautiful high-contrast board book. Sun rises. Bird sings. And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.
Touch the Brightest Star - This interactive bedtime story proves nighttime isn’t scary at all. The gentle journey from sunset to sunrise shows even the youngest children the magic of the nighttime sky—and lets them make magic happen! A companion to the popular and acclaimed Tap the Magic Tree. This board book edition is the perfect size for little hands.
Flashlight Night - Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.
THE BERENSTAIN BEARS’ First Time Books(R) are all about new experiences children encounter in their early years. With good-natured wisdom, love, and gentle humor, these books ease the way for kids - and their parents - through these first times. Collected in this treasury are: The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor, The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, The Berestain Bears in the Dark, The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter, and The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby.
Bedtime wishes take flight on paper airplanes, traveling all the way to the moon. There Rabbit gathers the night’s haul, grinds the wishes into stardust, and fills the sky with their starlight. It is a beautiful sight to behold, but lonely work. So one night, Rabbit takes a wish and makes it float down to earth; when it comes true, he makes new friends and the star work takes a back seat to some well-earned fun. But as each day fades, so do the night stars. And with the first starless sky, Rabbit realizes it’s time to make the journey home. It is a sad departure, but Rabbit’s friends make one last wish, and send an astronomical gift.
This Classic Board Book edition of Good Night, World is a charming bedtime book that celebrates the wonders of the natural world. Good night sun and other stars, good night Saturn, Venus, Mars. Elsewhere in the world it’s light, it’s morning there, but here it’s night. As the sun sets from east to west, this soothing board book takes children on a magical round-the-world journey to bid good night to the world’s natural wonders, from plants and animals to mountains, oceans, and wide desert plains. Willa Perlman’s soothing, lyrical text combines with Carolyn Fisher’s sweeping illustrations to paint a vivid picture of everything, everywhere going to sleep—including an imaginative little boy.
Mama opened our bedroom door. Wake up, you two, she whispered. Let’s go, so we get there on time. Excited, the sleepy family step outside into a beautiful summer night. The world is quiet and shadowy, filled with fresh smells and amazing sights. Is this what they miss when they’re asleep? Together, they walk out of their sleeping village. What will they find in the dark landscape? This beautiful and evocative book movingly recalls family trips and the excitement of unknown adventure, while celebrating the awe-inspiring joy of the natural world.
A first science book that introduce young readers to core science concepts through fresh, graphic illustrations, engaging stories, and supplemental activity suggestions. As Oscar the kitten watches the sun set one evening, he has lots of questions about light and dark. Who better than Moth to help out? Moth shows how sources of light are as different as the sun, stars, fireflies, streetlights, and airplanes, and also explains how shadows are made and why darkness comes at night. Includes lesson summaries!
Jungle Night - Sandra Boynton and Yo-Yo Ma! Plus snoozing jungle animals! Two celebrated artists come together for JUNGLE NIGHT, a soothing bedtime board book. (Okay, MOSTLY soothing.) The book guides us through the jungle to hear the distinctive, gentle snore of each animal: “Listen to the tiger: ZEEE-ZOOO-HAAA. Listen to the cheetah: CHEE-CHEE-TAAAH.” A free downloadable JUNGLE NIGHT recording offers a narration of the book, with each and every animal snore interpreted by the expressive, playful cello of Yo-Yo Ma. He even does the elephant’s stop-the-show snore–though admittedly that took Ma’s cello PLUS the classic horn salute of the James R. Barker steamship. (Seriously.) All of this fabulousness leads into the coolest lullaby ever: “Jungle Gymnopédie No. 1”, a polyrhythmic jungly arrangement by Boynton of Erik Satie’s renowned piece, with Yo-Yo Ma on cello, guitar played by Ron Block of Alison Krauss Union Station, and drums by Kevin MacLeod. “Yo-Yo and I chose this piece because it’s the most gorgeous and mesmerizing night song imaginable,” explains Boynton. “And there was surely nothing else that could get those animals back to sleep after that elephant blast.”
Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars - When Mr. Putter eats twenty-one pineapple jelly rolls, he ends up with a grumbling tummy. Worse, he can’t sleep! A midnight stargazing stroll with Tabby seems to be just the cure–but could it be that Mr. Putter and Tabby aren’t the only ones still wide awake?
Sun and Moon - Sun and Moon have always held their own places in the sky, but after a lifetime of darkness Moon wants to trade. Sun agrees, but only if first Moon takes a careful look at his night, before making his final decision. Follow Moon as he travels through the dark discovering enchanting animals and scenes unique to the nighttime, foxes hunting, children dreaming, lamplighters, and fireflies. Will Moon still wish to change places in the sky? Or will he realize the beauty of what he already has? Fine details amidst bright bold mixed-media illustrations will capture readers of all ages in this story of discovery and appreciation.
Good Night, Planet - New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2017 New York Times Best Bedtime Stories of 2019 When you go off to sleep, your toys go out to play! After a long day of jumping in leaves and reading her favorite books, this little girl is wornout, but her favorite stuffed animal, Planet, is just getting started. Planet befriends a dog, gobbles a cookie, and takes a leap into the unknown. This tender, gorgeous tale by the internationally renowned cartoonist Liniers will reveal to early readers the wonders that exist at night, in secret, after they close their eyes.Liniers’s US debut, The Big Wet Balloon, was selected as one of Parents Magazine’s top ten, and his follow up, Written and Drawn by Henrietta, was named one of School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. Liniers is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but he now lives in Vermont as the artist-in-residence at the Center for Cartoon Studies with his wife and three young daughters. They have fallen in love with the New England landscape, the house they live in, the night sky, and the family’s new puppy, Elliot, all of which figure prominently in this book.
As the long day comes to an end, Mother Sky fills a tub with falling stars and calls, “Bath time for Little Night!” Little Night answers from afar, “Can’t come. I am hiding and you have to find me, Mama. Find me now!” Where could Little Night be? Down a rabbit hole? In a blueberry field? Among the stripes of bees? Exquisitely painted and as gentle as Little Night’s dress crocheted from clouds, this is a story to treasure. With a bilingual text in both English and Spanish, Little Night Nochecita by Yuyi Morales is a sweet story every child can enjoy.
Good night, little ducklings, good night! Join Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and of course, Little Quack, as Mama gets them ready for bed. One by one these curious, fuzzy babies, drift away to sleep until finally Little Quack is the only duckling still awake. With a little loving encouragement from Mama, Little Quack finally closes his eyes and dreams. This Classic Board Book is perfect for putting even the most curious little ones to bed! This board book format is perfect for little hands, and has rounded corners.
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.
Here’s the story of a curious little owl determined to see what the world looks like during the day. And what does she discover? A wow-worthy symphony of colors―from red butterflies to orange flowers, from white clouds to green leaves.
This boisterous and bright book is the perfect read-aloud to savor with curious little owls everywhere who are exploring the world of colors for the first time.
Originally published in the United Kingdom by Little Tiger Press in 2017.
Little Owl's Night - It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep. Putting a twist on the bedtime book, Little Owl’s Night is sure to comfort any child with a curiosity about the night.
Night Train: A Journey From Dusk to Dawn - This cinematic book takes readers along on a steam engine’s journey through the night, from a city to a small town. Varied landscapes as well as color shifts show the passage of time from dusk to night to dawn. The rhythmic text is perfect for bedtime reading, and train lovers young and old will appreciate the various railway details incorporated in the text and art. Night train wakens to the dusk, groggy, stretching, load and roll, load and roll. Bringing warmth and wonder to the night, this book will send young readers off to sleep dreaming of the steady train journeying through the night.
Just Camping Out - In this adorable story, Little Critter’s little sister goes on a daredevil night of camping in their backyard-and even spends the night in the tent all by herself. A classic Mercer Mayer ending will have little readers ready to plan their own camping adventure. Ages 3-5.
Many Moons - Many Moons explores every phase of the moon through beautiful illustrations, and compares each phase to a different shape, like a waxing moon and a banana! Many Moons shows young children the different phases of the moon, from the new moon to a waning crescent, with a variety of beautiful, bright illustrations. Each spread features a specific phase of the moon, and compares it to different shapes, such as a cat’s tail, a banana, or a brilliant smile. The night sky is vast and beautiful, and to many children, a mysterious thing full of wonder. Why not nurture this sense of early curiosity? Many Moons introduces children to basic astronomy. Understanding the moon is a jumping off point to learning about the stars, space, the ocean tides, and so much more
Look closer. Grant Snider’s beautiful debut picture book explores the wonders–and colors–of nighttime. For night is not just black and white. Ending in colors yet unseen, and a night of sweet dreams, this lilting lullaby is sure to comfort those drifting off to sleep. With luminous art as spare and glowing as the moon, and lyrical text that reads like a friend leading the way through the wilderness, What Color Is Night? is a rich and timeless look at a topic of endless fascination, and a perfect bedtime read-aloud.
Preparing for a grand adventure with his beloved blanket at bedtime, a little boy leaps into an imaginative world where he and his blanket zoom on jet planes, fly to the moon and swim in the sea before settling down to sleep. By the best-selling author of Has Anyone Seen Christmas? 25,000 first printing.
Catch the most wanted Goosebumps characters–undead or alive…The infamous, Most Wanted Goosebumps characters are out on the loose and they’re coming after you! There is no place to hide. Nothing is safe!Jay Gardner is a mischievous kid who can’t stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, Jay gets in so much trouble, his family is forced to move. But there’s something odd about Jay’s new town. Why does everyone have lawn gnomes in front of their homes? And why is everyone afraid to go outside at night? Jay is about to learn that mischief can lead to terror.
It’s a noisy night in this city building! The residents of each floor can hear their neighbors above them, and are wondering what’s going on above their heads. Climb floor by floor and page by page to find out whose singing, dancing, cheering, and cooing are keeping a grumpy old man awake.
With innovative split-level spreads that offer the feeling of climbing an apartment building floor by floor, this clever and colorful collaboration between New York Times–bestselling author Mac Barnett and gifted illustrator Brian Biggs offers an irresistible investigation of one noisy night.
Who likes the day? Butterflies. Who likes the night? Owls. Who is working today? Beavers. Who is flying tonight? Bats.Readers turn the pages to reveal what animals are doing during the day and at night.
City Moon - A little boy and his mother take a nighttime walk to search for the moon in this Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor book. Gentle and keenly observed, this bedtime story is sure to appeal to fans of Kevin Henkes’s Kitten’s First Full Moon and young children who find the moon fascinating.Soothing text and hip, colorful collage style illustrations create a nighttime story that follows a little boy and his Mama as they walk around their neighborhood looking for the moon. As the elusive moon plays peek-a-boo behind buildings and clouds, the little boy asks simple questions about it, and his Mama patiently answers every one. When finally the moon appears–bright and white and round and glowing–the mama and her boy stop and wait for it to disappear again. The moonlit walk continues until the boy yawns and Mama lifts him into her arms and whispers, it is time for bed.
What's Next? - An inquisitive baby badger is drawn to discover the world outside his den in an endearing, delightfully illustrated father-and-child story. Baby Badger sleeps all day in his snuggly burrow. When he wakes, he explores every nook of his home and wants to know “what’s next?” So Daddy takes him to the dark forest above to roll in soft moss and snuffle in bluebell bulbs and watch the silvery moon setting, a signal that night is ending and it’s time to go home. But if daytime is “what’s next,” how can Baby Badger sleep without seeing that? So he slips out alone to see the brilliant flowers and birds and to feel the yellow sun hot on his fur. Cozy illustrations and a child-friendly text depict a curious little creature dazzled by the world’s natural wonders — and a doting father who is there to guide him back if “what’s next” turns out to take him a bit too far.
The Moon Jumpers - Four years before Where the Wild Things Are won the Caldecott Medal, Maurice Sendak produced some of his most spectacular artwork for The Moon Jumpers. Printing technology has greatly improved since this enchanting picture book was first released more than fifty years ago, and now, with new color separations, the reproduction of Maurice Sendak’s artwork comes closer to his stunning originals than ever before. Sendak’s wondrous starry skies and Janice May Udry’s evocative text immediately transport us back to cool, moonlit nights and fill us with the universal warmth of childhood. The Moon Jumpers’ timeless beauty and inspiration earned it a Caldecott Honor in 1960 and will surely gather a new generation of fans.
So Sleepy Story - In a sleepy sleepy house everything is so sleepy – until music drifts in through an open window. Chairs begin to rock, dishes begin to dance, and a sleepy boy opens his eyes to the revelry of the once-sleepy house. Then, softly, the music drifts out, and everything is sleepy sleepy once more. With his soothing text and gentle, whimsical illustrations, Uri Shulevitz has created the ultimate sleepy sleepy bedtime story. So Sleepy Story is a 2006 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.
Take an interactive journey through the night sky in an innovative, tactile board book, a special book that engages three senses–seeing, touching, and hearing. With its gorgeous, full-spread illustrations of constellations and beloved bedtime lullaby reimagined, Crinkle, Crinkle, Little Star is the perfect book to rock babies to sleep. Here’s Taurus the bull, strong and fast. Cetus the whale, waving a mighty tail. Orion, with bow and arrow in hand. Babies can trace the imaginary lines that turn random stars into ancient constellations–and, in a special treat, create a crinkling sound by tracing the channel of shimmery material underneath the last illustration in the book. That same mysterious, compelling crinkling sound persists when baby and parents hold the book and rub the crinkly material on the back cover.
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. “I’m not afraid!” shouts Roger when he hears thunder outside…but he is afraid. When the storm quiets, his aunt Rachel decides to take him on a walk to see the beauty of the natural world at night. Over his Godzilla pj’s goes his rain slicker; onto his feet go his monster boots, and together he and Rachel head down the rocky path to the sea. On the way they discover many marvels–a screech owl calling to its mate, ghost crabs tunneling in the sand, and most incredibly, the luminous life that lights up the water. When they find a tiny firefly who has lost its way, they bring it home and release it back into the woods. At last, Rachel tucks Roger into bed, telling him he is “nature’s brave protector.” An afterword introducing young readers to Rachel Carson, and explaining bioluminiscence, adds to the appeal of the book.
Rabbit doesn’t want to go to bed, so he decides to kidnap The Dark and trap it in a cookie tin so he can stay up all night long. But then The Dark reminds Rabbit of all the good things that darkness brings. What about all the nocturnal animals? And surely you can’t have a yummy breakfast of toast and honey and fresh orange juice unless you’ve been to bed? But the BEST thing about the dark, of course, is reading a really good bedtime story!
A polar bear cub . . . A nighttime journey . . . A bedtime story of love and wonder. One keen, clear night, a polar bear cub wakes inside her warm den. Something in the moonlit stillness quietly beckons. What is it?
The little cub sets out for the snow and sky and sea and ice, and the moon follows.
So begins a magical journey through a starlit world filled with love and wonder. Soothing words and luminous pictures make this nighttime tale as comforting as a goodnight kiss.
The illustrator of the highly acclaimed FRIDA makes a smashing debut as an author.
Every morning the Night Eater runs through the sky, gobbling up all the darkness. He eats cloudy nights as light and sweet as cotton candy, and deep dark nights that taste like bitter chocolate. His favorites are bright clear nights – the stars tickle his nose as he swallows!
But what if the Night Eater doesn’t come? Without him to devour the dark, the night animals won’t go back to their dens . . . the earth and all the people grow very pale and cold . . . and children everywhere long to play in the sun. Can they convince the Night Eater to return to the skies?
Night Train, Night Train - Told in rhyming text, a train speeds through the night, revealing the sights and colors along the way to its young and sleepy riders.
Blue Train, Green Train - Thomas the blue train works all day while Percy the green train works all night. But what exactly do they do? Told in the simplest language, here is a charming tale of a day and night on the Island of Sodor. Perfect for Bright and Early readers!
Night Job - With lyrical narration and elegant, evocative artwork, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and illustrator G. Brian Karas share the nighttime experience of a father and child. When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.
The Night Box - Soothing bedtime reading, this reassuring and magical evocation of nighttime encourages imaginative exploration and marks the debut of a talented poet and illustrator picture-book pair. When a little boy opens the Night Box, darkness swoops out, a fox uncurls, and a thousand stars sparkle and shine. Night flows freely then, cavorting and exploring, caring for all its creatures until morning comes, and it’s time for Night to rest again. With its soothing cadences and air of quiet wonder, The Night Box is sure to charm any sleepy listener who wonders what happens between sunset and sunrise.
Delight your little one with the sounds and sights of a mysterious night in Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer. Alison Oliver’s bold illustrations correspond with Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text to create pairings little bibliophiles will love to have read to them, such as “hounds howl,” “gates screech,” and “stairs creak.”
Day and night, black and white—this playful tale of opposite personalities celebrates the adventure of sharing life’s discoveries with a friend.
Black Cat—black from the tips of his ears to the tip of his tail—only ever goes out in the day. But White Cat—white from her whiskers to her four furry paws—only ever goes out at night. He picks daisies, while she gazes at the stars. When they both feel the urge to explore a world beyond their own, Black Cat and White Cat go on a journey of discovery and meet for the very first time. Vividly illustrated with bold black-and-white art, each page paves the way toward a surprise (and surprisingly colorful) ending.
Toys, food, and other everyday household objects have wild adventures at night, while the humans in the house sleep, in this imaginative collection of 26 poems.
What do the things in your home do when you’re asleep? They play, of course! In this compendium of poems by Laura Purdie Salas, everything from stuffed animals to clothing to writing utensils comes to life under the cover of night. An overdue library book searches for the perfect place to hide. A paper clip skydives with a tissue parachute. A fruit snack unrolls to create a tricky racetrack for toy cars. A hose unwinds and rolls around the yard before curling back up just before dawn. Accompanied by Angela Matteson’s beautiful acrylic-on-wood illustrations, this book will spark young readers’ imaginations and is a perfect choice for bedtime reading.
Inside a tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.
On a hot summer day, a little girl finds ways to entertain herself and stay cool. She catches a butterfly, sips lemonade, jumps in a pool, and goes on a picnic. At night, she sees an owl in a tree and a frog in a pond, and hears leaves rustling. Before long, she’s fast asleep, dreaming about more summer days and summer nights. As with his earlier books featuring this spunky little girl, Wong Herbert Yee’s focus is on appreciating the small but special details that define a season.
Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.