Who wasn’t scared of the dark as a kid? I know I was. My imagination ran wild with thoughts of strange creatures hiding in the shadows. These picture books about the fear of the dark will show your kids that they’re far from alone in their fears. Using comical characters, delightful turns of phrases, and surprising plot twists, they’ll help kids see the night more like a friend and less like a foe.
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22 Relatable Picture Books About the Fear of the Dark
Here are 22 great picture books to help kids deal with a fear of the dark:
Published: October 26, 2021
A little boy faces his fear of the dark by engaging in a conversation with it. Imagining the dark as a friendly shadow creature, the boy comes to the realization that the dark is not only a necessary part of life, but that it can be fun as well! The boy and his new friend play make believe, meditate, and listen to music until it’s finally time to fall asleep.
Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark
Published: March 3, 2020
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!
Ghost Afraid of the Dark
Published: April 1, 2019
Follow Boo the Ghost as he celebrates his first Halloween with all his Monster friends! He is a shy little ghost and quickly realizes he is afraid of many things. Read as Boo discovers to be brave in this adorable, spooky story! With charming illustrations and a glow-in-the-dark cover, makes this the perfect bedtime read
Pippa’s Night Parade
Published: October 8, 2019
Pippa’s wonderfully wild imagination is perfect for dreaming up wildly adorable creations. But at night, her imagination runs a little too wild. That’s when the villains and monsters and beasts sneak out of her storybooks to scare her. Pippa tries everything: from night-lights to triple knots to clever disguises. But when the baddies keep coming, she realizes she’ll need to come up with something new. To prepare for this battle, Pippa will have to use everything she’s got―especially that wild imagination. Ready or not, here she comes!
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark
Published: August 17, 2010
2010 FSG hardcover, 2nd printing. Deborah Diesen (The Pout-Pout Fish). 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. – Amazon
When I Am Worried
Published: August 20, 2019
Sometimes the world seems scary—too scary. This is a comforting story for kids when their world becomes unsettled.
*Great way to explain anxiety to preschoolers
*Learn why anxiety feels the way it does
*How to stop worries growing out of control
*Solutions that help children handle their feelings in healthier ways
Orion and the Dark
Published: March 24, 2015
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.
Published: August 12, 2014
Inside the tent it’s cozy, but what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight!
In this charming story, told solely through images, artist Lizi Boyd offers an enchanting exploration of night, nature, and the nocturnal world. One boy’s camping adventure gets even better when he shines a light into the shadows and finds all sorts of nighttime creatures, fascinating insects, plants, trees, and streams—all brilliantly illuminated in the beam of his flashlight.
Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.
Published: April 2, 2013
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.
The Darkest Dark
Published: September 13, 2016
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
Scaredy Squirrel at Night
Published: March 1, 2009
Scaredy never sleeps — sleep might mean bad dreams about dragons, ghosts, vampire bats and polka-dot monsters. Our wide-eyed hero has a plan: stay awake all night, every night. Between counting stars, playing cymbals and making scrapbooks, he does a good job of avoiding dreamland.With exhaustion taking its toll, Scaredy comes face-to-face with an alarming horoscope prediction: All his dreams are about to come true!He must prepare for the worst and his Bad Dream Action Plan includes a fire extinguisher to snuff out dragons and a fan to blast away ghosts. But when disaster strikes, will Scaredy survive this ordeal? Will he thank his lucky stars? Will he find sweet dreams? Scaredy Squirrel at Night tackles a fear everyone — and especially the young — can relate to. It’s a bedtime story to make light of kids’ fear of the dark and a fable for our sleep-deprived society.
The King Who Banned the Dark
Published: November 27, 2020
When a King bans the dark completely, installing an artificial sun, and enforcing “anti-dark” laws, it seems like a good idea. The citizens don’t need to worry about monsters, crime, or any of the other scary things that might live in the dark. But what happens when nobody can sleep? Will the citizens revolt?
Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize 2019, Klaus Flugge Prize 2019 and Independent Bookshop Week Awards 2019
There was once a little boy who was afraid of the dark. There’s nothing unusual about that. Most children are afraid of the dark at one time of another. But this little boy was a Prince, and he decided that when he became King, he would do something about the dark.
He would ban it.
The King Who Banned the Dark is a beautiful and thought-provoking story about how we need the dark in order to enjoy the light.
Be Brave Like Batman! by Laura Hitchcock
Published: January 29, 2019
Are your little ones afraid of the dark? Now they can be brave like Batman(TM)! Boys and girls ages 3 to 7 will learn how to face dark closets, monsters under the bed, and lights-out time with the help of Batman(TM) and his pals, the DC Super Friends(TM)! This new BE BRAVE empowerment series is the perfect way to help young readers conquer common fears.
I Will Fight Monsters For You
Published: March 1, 2015
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.
Published: January 22, 2019
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.
Published: July 14, 2015
Something’s out there in the dark!
First Possum hears it. Then Skunk. Then Wolf comes running.
“What could it possibly be?” asks Bat.
“Night Animals!” the animals declare.
“But you are night animals,” Bat informs this not-so-smart crew.
Children will love the oh-so-funny animals in this twist on a cozy bedtime book.
Bobby and the Monsters
Published: November 27, 2018
One evening Bobby confessed that he is afraid to sleep in his bed. It is a quite often situation for little kids. Bobby’s Mom treats with understanding to his feelings and peculiarly calms him. She makes up a story that makes her son smile and ready to sleep.
What is this story about? Just start to read, and you’ll find out!
Scared of the Dark? It’s Really Scared of You
Published: August 18, 2020
Scared of the Dark? It’s Really Scared of You is a picture book that playfully unpacks a common childhood fear.
You may be afraid of the dark . . . but did you know that the dark is actually afraid of YOU? It’s true!
The dark spends its days hiding from the light in your underwear drawer. The dark thinks you look scary. And the dark may be difficult to see when the sun goes down, but it also has its fair share of redeeming qualities.
Clark is Scared of the Dark
Published: January 15, 2019
This is a humorous story about a little dinosaur who has problems going to bed. Clark is always scared of the dark! With the help of his mom and a new friend, he will overcome his fear by going through a hilarious journey. He will discover that there is nothing to be afraid of in the dark. With cute illustrations and funny situations, this book is designed to entertain children and parents.
Ella McBella in the Dark
Published: May 4, 2021
“In her engaging story, Pells writes rhyming couplets that have a nicely regular meter and vivid word choices” —Kirkus Reviews ? “A sensitive picture book that encourages the use of one’s inner resources to confront, and conquer, fear.” —Foreword Reviews ? Meet Ella McBella, energetic and imaginative! By day Ella is fearless and seeks adventure. But by night she fears shadows, the gloppy green monsters and those strange sounds, which seem to get louder as the sky grows darker. The sun might be sleeping, but not Ella McBella. This is a poetic tale about the power of courage and imagination to help little ones tackle big fears.
I’m Not Afraid of the Dark
Published: March 14, 2017
What’s that lurking in the shadows? Who’s making that noise? Is it a ghost? A goblin? NO! Lift the flaps, pull the tabs, and shine a light in the night with Tommy. From a pet cat to Mom and Dad, there’s nothing scary at all out there. So who’s NOT afraid of the dark? Tommy—and every child who takes comfort in this reassuring novelty book.
I’m not afraid of the dark
Published: February 26, 2020
Tim does not like darkness, so he sleeps with a night lamp. One night something wakes him up in the middle of the night. Tim is terrified as around him is complete darkness. Shadows of trees that look like monsters, dance on his room’s floor. He hears a sound outside his room’s door. What is it? A monster?Well, this is how it all started. Would you like to hear the end of the story? We won’t tell you! We can only say that yes, the monster was indeed there, but it was white and fluffy like cotton candy. And Tim wasn’t afraid of darkness ever since!
There they are: 22 great picture books about handling a fear of the dark. Which of these stories have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?
LIsa Maggiore says
Great list! I’m giving a shout-out to Ava the Monster Slayer; A Warrior who Wears Glasses. She slays fears of the dark!