Books about the Night

Night­time is a mag­i­cal time for kids. It’s a time for explor­ing the night skies. It’s a time for dream­ing cozy dreams.  It’s a time of mis­chief when it comes with the thrill of being allowed to stay up late.

Night­time pic­ture books have always had an allure for me because of the top­ics they explore and the amaz­ing and var­ied art by illus­tra­tors chal­lenged with the task of draw­ing the dark. Such gift­ed people!

Here is a list of ten remark­able night­time pic­ture books. Enjoy!

Owl Moon

Owl Moon
writ­ten by Jane Yolen
illus­trat­ed by John Schoen­herr
Philomel, 1987

A Calde­cott Award win­ning book in which a father and daugh­ter take a night­time walk in the woods in search of owls. Beau­ti­ful sen­so­ry descrip­tions of nature and a love­ly parent/child story.

Sky Sisters

Sky Sis­ters
writ­ten by Jan Bour­deau Waboose
illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Deines
Kids Can Press, 2000

Two young sis­ters expe­ri­ence the thrill of hik­ing on a win­ter night beneath a glim­mer­ing “Grand­moth­er Moon,” with glimpses of wildlife and a final sur­prise: danc­ing North­ern Lights. Gor­geous lan­guage and won­der­ful sib­ling book.

If You Were Night
writ­ten by Muon Thi Van
illus­trat­ed by Kel­ly Pousette
Kids Can Press, 2020

A beau­ti­ful book with echo­ing phras­es that chal­lenge lit­tle night­time explor­ers to dream of what they would do if they were night. There is so much to savor about this book with its del­i­cate paper cut illus­tra­tions and tiny wood­land crea­tures. Such a dreamy feel!

If You Look Up to the Sky
writ­ten by Angela Dal­ton
illus­trat­ed by Mar­gari­ta Siko­rska­ia
Beaver’s Pond Press, 2018

A calm, reas­sur­ing, wise book that reminds young read­ers they are loved and there is hope. Beau­ti­ful art. Sim­ple text. Great bed­time read.

If You Were the Moon
writ­ten by Lau­ra Pur­die Salas
illus­trat­ed by Jaime Kim
Mill­brook Press, 2017

Poet­ic and lyri­cal with won­der­ful, kid-friend­ly illus­tra­tions, this night­time read is actu­al­ly non­fic­tion in dis­guise! It boasts lay­ered text: a dreamy sto­ry line sup­port­ed with a whole host of fun facts about the moon. A real treat.

Dark Emper­or & Oth­er Poems of the Night
writ­ten by Joyce Sid­man
illus­trat­ed by Rick Allen
Houghton Mif­flin, 2010

Poet­ry as only Joyce Sid­man can write and stun­ning, detailed art make this night­time read per­fect for lit­tle nature lovers want­i­ng to explore the world after dark.


The Tina­ja Tonight
writ­ten by Aimée M. Bis­sonette
illus­trat­ed by Syd Weil­er
Albert Whit­man, 2020

The desert is dry, dusty, and hot, hot, hot dur­ing the day; but night­time is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry. At night the desert comes alive and its thirsty res­i­dents emerge, search­ing out the cool waters of the tina­ja. With lay­ered text, this book works well as a read aloud and in the class­room. Weiler’s art is magical.

Night Dri­ving
writ­ten by John Coy
illus­trat­ed by Peter McCar­ty
Hen­ry Holt, 1996

A dark­en­ing sky, a long jour­ney, the safe feel­ing of rid­ing in a car with Dad behind the wheel. This is a warm­ly told, nos­tal­gic sto­ry, illus­trat­ed incred­i­bly in black and white. Who doesn’t love a road trip?

Vin­cent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky
writ­ten by Barb Rosen­stock
illus­trat­ed by Mary Grand­pre
Alfred A. Knopf, 2017

Is dark­ness tru­ly black? Not to Vin­cent Van Gogh. This beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed pic­ture book biog­ra­phy intro­duces young read­ers to an incred­i­ble artist who danced to the beat of his own drum.

Always Look­ing Up:
Nan­cy Grace Roman, Astronomer
writ­ten by Lau­ra Gehl
illus­trat­ed by Louise Pig­ott and Alex Oxton
Albert Whit­man, 2019

A pic­ture book biog­ra­phy about one of my favorite women of sci­ence — the Moth­er of the Hub­ble Tele­scope. Per­fect for young read­ers who dream big dreams. Nan­cy Grace Roman was a cham­pi­on of persistence.

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Laura Purdie Salas
3 years ago

What a beau­ti­ful roundup, includ­ing a few new to me that I’ll look for. Thanks for includ­ing IF YOU WERE THE MOON. And I can’t wait to read THE TINAJA TONIGHT!

David LaRochelle
3 years ago

Yes, what a great list! I’m also a big fan of THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT by Susan Marie Swan­son and illus­trat­ed by Beth Krommes. So many beau­ti­ful night­time books!