When I was a kid, there was little my parents could do to help me not be afraid of the dark. An overactive imagination led me to think that all kinds of terrible things were going to happen to me once the lights went out. Luckily, my own toddler doesn't seem scared of the dark at all, but I know we still have time for her imagination to grow, which is why I'm filling her library with books for kids who are afraid of the dark.
It's a parenting rite of passage, right? You have to battle the monsters under your kid's bed, you have to tuck them in with flashlights, and you have to leave the hall light on so they can see their bedroom. I'm not even going to pretend that as an adult, I've banished all of my darkness fears. It probably doesn't help that I'm a horror movie fan, but I also still have the same overactive imagination that imagines an entire list of horrible things that could happen as soon as the lights go out.
The darkness is mysterious, it's something we don't often navigate through, and we're conditioned to think that's when the terrible, horrible, awful things happen. But you can help ease your little one's fears with these 21 books for kids who are afraid of the dark. Whether their fear is of a monster or they simply prefer the light of the day, there's at least one story sure to make them feel brave and safe in the dark.
1. 'Little Owl's Night' by Divya Srinivasan
For many little ones, it's not knowing what happens out in the dark that can be so terrifying. Little Owl's Night is a sweet picture book that stars a happy little owl as he enjoys all the night has to offer. It can educate your children on the living creatures that actually enjoy and thrive in the darkness.
2. 'Orion And The Dark' by Emma Yarlett
3. 'The House In The Night' by Susan Marie Swanson
4. 'The Dark' by Lemony Snicket
5. 'There's A Nightmare In My Closet' by Mercer Mayer
6. 'Flashlight' by Lizi Boyd
7. 'Emily Brown And The Thing' by Cressida Cowell
Emily Brown and the Thing is the perfect book for the child that refuses to go to sleep and comes up with a million excuses. When little Emily finds a thing crying outside her window, she has to determine what's keeping it awake and why it can't get to sleep. If your kid is one of those who is never satisfied at bedtime, this story can open them up to talk about their fears of sleep and why they are resisting.
8. 'Touch The Brightest Star' by Christie Matheson
9. 'No Such Thing' by Jackie French Koller
10. 'Go Away, Big Green Monster!' by Ed Emberley
11. 'Blanche Hates The Night' by Sibylle Delacroix
12. 'Goodnight You' by Geneviève Côté
13. 'Small Blue And The Deep Dark Night' by Jon Davis
14. 'George In The Dark' by Madeline Valentine
15. 'What There Is Before There Is Anything There' by Liniers
For some children, their fears never go away, despite all of the reassurances you give them. That's why What There Is Before There Is Anything There is so perfect. Instead of teaching your child that fears are easily banished, this story helps them to focus their attention and efforts on learning to cope with their fears rather than extinguish them.
16. 'Elsa And The Night' by Jons Mellgren
17. 'The Night World' by Mordicai Gerstein
18. 'Beware Of The Storybook Wolves' by Lauren Child
Often your fears come from other sources, like books and movies, and it's no different for a child. Beware of the Storybook Wolves is a tale about a little boy who isn't so sure that the happily-ever-after at the end of the story means the wolves in his book aren't going to come after him, too. Now he has to use other fairy tale characters to help overcome his fears.
19. 'Good Night Owl' by Greg Pizzoli
20. 'Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?' by Martin Waddell
A lovely story, Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? is a classic tale of a little bear afraid of the dark, and being offered everything possible for reassurance. But when nothing works, Big Bear has to turn to the very things Little Bear is afraid of to make him feel better, like the bright stars and moon.