It’s Getting Dark! 5 Best Picture Books About the Dark
It’s that time of year. Here in the Northern hemisphere, there is that familiar and exciting snap in the air, and the days are getting shorter and shorter. In many cultures around the world, it is the time to prepare for darkness.
These five books — from our curation called “5 Best Picture Books About the Dark” — have delightfully unique ways of looking at the dark, from the almost spooky and mysterious, to the fun and playful. Enjoy!
Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight has only her beautiful simple drawings to tell the tale, no words. The simple yet impactful story told through images seems to echo the powerful quiet of the night, and darkness. This book could be fun for little ones to use to tell you the story, and could be just as much fun snuggled up with our bigger kids, letting the pictures spark conversation about the dark. The child’s flashlight in the story is used to remind us of all the unseen life going on in the dark. I admit, I have a thing for wordless books, and this is a good one.
Julia Denos’ Windows is another quiet, simple, yet lovely look at an experience with the dark at the end of the day. In this story, we watch as a child takes a walk through their neighborhood as the sun is setting. It captures that magical time of day when things are slowing down, families are gathering at home, shops are closing, and we might catch a glimpse of life going on inside a lit house. I just love how they’ve captured that magic feeling of seeing your own neighborhood in a different light.
The Dark is a deceptively simple book that brings the colorful wordistry of Lemony Snicket to life with the fun artwork of Jon Klassen. This story has a unique and fun way of bringing the dark to life, casting the dark as a character that is scary to little Laszlo at first, until the dark helps him to find a night light and they are able to both live together peacefully.
This book may not be best for children who are sensitive to scary things, as the idea of the dark being an actual “being” may be too intense. But for older children, or younger ones who are able to see the clever humor, this book could be a fun way to shift their relationship with darkness. My oldest daughter really got a kick out of the dark humor of this one.
Sun and Moon, by Lindsey Yankey, is an enchanting and sweet look at dark and light through the exchange between the sun and moon. The sun gains a whole new appreciation for the dark as he sees all the magic that happens that he usually misses. The artwork in this book is just as lovely as the story.
Finally, Sandra Feder’s The Moon Inside brings us another child character who is afraid of the dark. This book takes a very gentle sweet path of coming to terms with the light fading. The little girl’s mother takes her by the hand and shows her all the light that is still to be found when it gets dark outside. She realizes that her favorite colors are still there, “only quieter.”