22 Twinkly Children's Books About Fireflies


A soothing, evocative story about a little boy who wants to collect fireflies. Armed with a jar to capture the lightning bugs, he heads outside into the darkness. After a little while, his joy in collecting these magical bugs is dampened when their lights dim. He soon learns that he must set them free in order to save them. The sparse text paired with shadowy illustrations captures the essence of this timeless summer night activity.




 Add Firefly Picture Books to Summertime Reading

There is something magical about heading out on a summer night, after a long day of swimming and playing in the sun,  to gather lightning bugs dotting the sky. The flickering fireflies are easy to spot and fly slowly enough that even little toddlers can reach out and catch them. It's best to gently place the bugs inside a glass jar with holes poked in the lid so they can breath. You'll also want to put a wet paper towel at the bottom of the jar, or even a clump of grass and an apple slice. The apple keeps the air in the jar moist while also giving the fireflies a place to land. Reading children's books about lightning bugs will provide little ones with more tips about how to enjoy these beautiful insects. These stories will teach little nature lovers all kinds of interesting facts. Kids will enjoy reading about how to safely keep them alive, the role they play in nature, and the fascinating, luminescent anatomy that allows them to shine brightly at night.

 light the sky firefly

This gorgeously illustrated, non-fiction book about fireflies covers the life-cycle of this fascinating insect. While the main text is simple and accessible for young children, the sidebar contains a more in-depth exploration for budding entomologists.  Kids will develop an appreciation for this luminescent bug and the way they light up the dark summer sky.



ten flashing fireflies

Toddlers will love counting to ten in this glowing story about twinkly insects. All ten bugs are on each page, either inside or outside the jar, for little ones to count over and over again. Beautiful illustrations capture the magic and mystery of lightning bugs flashing in the dark night, perhaps inspiring toddlers to head outside and count them in their own yards.



 ruby and the itsy-bitsy icky bug

Upon discovering a disgusting little bug in her room, Ruby throws a fit. In fact, she yells and screams so loudly she is sent to her room to cool off. When she finally calms down, Ruby starts to examine the little bug and finds some cute things about it, like his antennas. When the sky turns dark, the lightning bug shows her his true beauty.

firefly light up the sky

A completely immersive firefly book with new animals and insects on pop-up pages throughout. Follow along as a firefly explores the night skies with its glowing tail. A flashlight come with this book so kids can reveal surprised on all of the pages. Press buttons for sounds that match the chirps and noises of wildlife.



firefly home

Poor Florence Firefly has been separated from her family and cannot find her way home. The night sky is filled with fireflies, making it difficult to figure out which way to fly home. An endearing story that begs readers to direct Florence across the pages until she is reunited with her loved ones.



sam and the firefly

This classic story about a friendship between Sam the Owl and Gus the Firefly will tickle the funny bone of little readers. Gus, who is quite mischievous, has fun writing confusing messages in the sky. He wreaks havoc upon the people on the ground through his messages. He even causes cars to crash with his misleading words. Fortunately, Sam has a better sense of morality and works with Gus fix the chaos he created. A humorous, easy-to-read story that will make readers laugh out loud from beginning to end.




firefly mountain

A gorgeously rendered picture book with verse that captures the essence of a hot summer day transitioning into a cool, dark night. A little girl embraces the simple pleasures of summer, from cold lemonade to fields of clover. She is torn between enjoying the day and longing for the night when the fireflies light up the sky.



lucy's light

The most darling illustrations fill the pages of this book about Lucy, a tiny firefly who is ready to spread her light. She has watched all the older fireflies head out to light up the forest and she desperately wants to join them. But in order to do so, Lucy first must learn her worth and gain the acceptance of others. Little ones will relate to Lucy's dilemma in their own quest to grow up and take on new responsibilities. 



ten little fireflies

An adorable rhyming story helps readers learn to count fireflies in the forest. Cute woodland creatures, like skunks, hedgehogs, owls, and foxes, enjoy the glowing lights while they play at night. This sturdy board is made to withstand many readings by toddlers.



the very lonely firefly

Eric Carle's collage-style illustrations are very appealing in this endearing book about a firefly. This lonely bug heads out into the night in search of companionship. There are lots of flickering lights- like lanterns, candles, and the glowing eyes of dogs, cats, and owls- but none of them are the familiar blinking of fireflies. this beautiful, rhythmic story delivers a surprise happy ending when the very lonely bug finally finds his mates.




the firefly with no glow

This easy reader book is about a darling little firefly, named Luke, who doesn't have a light. He loves to play with his friends, but sometimes feels sad that he doesn't glow the way they do. Then one night, a little boy fills his jar with fireflies, and it's up to Luke to free his friends. Finally he is able to use his unique, non-glowing body to save his friends and release them from captivity.



firefly hollow

Readers will not put down this touching chapter book about chasing one's dreams. It's the story of a firefly who wants to fly to the moon. Her best friend is a cricket with an equally lofty desire to play catcher on a baseball team. The two leave Firefly Hollow in pursuit of a more exciting life. Along their journey, the firefly and cricket encounter a giant who turns out to have a desire to escape his current life and sad memories from the past. This chance encounter turns into just what each of these critters needs to find healing, hope, and a bright future. Black and white pictures are complemented by a few glowing illustrations that are reminiscent of a firefly at night.  



fly firefly

A gorgeously illustrated picture book about a lonely firefly will touch readers young and old. Told in perfect verse, this is the story of a firefly in search of others. One day the firefly is carried out to sea with a gust of wind. Upon seeing the bioluminescence on top of the ocean waves, the firefly dives into the water in search of  other glowing insects. Fortunately, a few helping hands rescue the soulful firefly from  certain demise. While its and award-winning book for the beautiful artwork, the poetry is equally perfect and heartwarming.



the fireflies book

This non-fiction book is filled with a ton of interesting facts. The scientific information is written in a way that young readers can understand.  Kids will especially love learning how fireflies light up the sky and all the ways they use their glow to communicate. More than 100 pages of trivia, along with fun activities, will keep your kids entertained for hours.



the firefly fix

Even reluctant readers will enjoy this fun, fast-paced story about Simon, Molly, and Rosie, best friends who also seem to find a little trouble. This time they have partnered up to work on a project for the school's science fair. Determined to make the best display for the fair, the three friends collect a huge number of fireflies to demonstrate their research. But what happens next is something the friends didn't account for- the bugs stopped glowing! Will they be able to come up with a solution and still win the prize? Short chapters and lots of illustrations are helpful for kids just transitioning into independent readers. 



it's a firefly night

Charming pictures bring to life a magical night capturing fireflies. A little girl heads outside with a jar to collect these brilliant lightning bugs. She collects ten and then releases them back into the dark sky. Preschoolers can practice counting while they listen to this rhyming story. The last page includes interesting information about fireflies as well as fun activities.


leo the lightning bug

Leo is a little lightning bug who hasn't figured out how to shine brightly yet. No matter how hard he tries, Leo just can't turn on his blinker. Feeling despondent, he flies off to hide in a cave far away. Leo does a little soul searching and eventually give it one more try. Kids will learn a thing or two from a firefly who has to work a bit harder than the others to get things right. The expressive illustrations effectively convey Leo's every emotion in this inspiring story.


A beginner book is perfect for new readers who want to learn more about this insect. Children will learn all kinds of interesting facts, like the short life cycle and anatomical features of these tiny bugs that light up the sky. The real photographs give kids an opportunity to examine the intricate bodies of fireflies, and they will learn how and why they flash their lights.

when lightning comes in a jar

Patricia Polacco, prolific children's book author, draws on personal life experiences to write her stories. In this book, she describes a large family reunion with aunts, uncles, cousins and a very special grandma. After bellies are full with delicious food, the grandma teaches all the children how to catch lightning bugs and keep them safely in a jar. The pictures draw readers in and make them feel a part of the fun gathering in the countryside. When the day ends and the sky turns dark, kids will especially love watching all the family members collecting lightning in jars.

lexi the firefly fairy

Best friends Rachel and Kirsty are looking forward to a week at sleep away camp. They especially love the nightly activities of roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories. But when all the fireflies go missing and the sky turns eerily dark, they jump into action. With the help of Lexi, the Firefly Fairy, the girls solve the mystery and reclaim the luminescent bugs from their captor. Newly independent readers will enjoy this easy, illustrated chapter book. 

bug off a story of fireflies and friendship

Maude, a girl who loves lightning bugs, has moved into a neighborhood that happens to have a Bug-of-the-Month Club. She is a perfect fit for this club., except that one very difficult member, Louise, is getting in the way. Despite delivering a highly informed speech on fireflies, Maude can't seem to win Louise's vote. Little ones will learn a lesson about kindness and inclusion when they read about how Maude handles a sticky situation and turns a nemesis into a friend. 

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Intriguing Kids' Books About Lightning Bugs

The glow of fireflies against a dark sky evokes a sense of whimsy and magic. These insects are so fun and easy to capture, and then release back into the night. Chasing fireflies is a timeless activity that friends at summer camp, family, and neighbors enjoy when summer barbecues, pool parties, and other summertime gatherings are coming to a close. Just like kids read about in stories about grasshoppers, many bugs make an appearance during the hot, dry summer months. Inquisitive children will enjoy learning more about these interesting insects and how they are good for gardens and backyards. The best kids' books about lightning bugs cover the lifecycle, the anatomy, and behavior.



Fascinating Facts About Fireflies

Now that you have piqued the interest of your little ones by reading these magical stories, they will want to head outside to observe these insects in action. Here are some interesting facts to share about these little luminaries to further satisfy their curious minds.

  • There are more than 2000 species of fireflies! Only some of these bugs, which are part of the beetle family, actually glow. In fact, the bugs in the western part of the United States do not have the ability to produce light.
  • The light on a firefly is the result of a chemical reaction that occurs within the light organ. Adenosine triphosphat, oxygen, calcium and luciferin mix with the presence of an enzyme called luciferase.  So although it looks like these bugs are powered by a tiny battery, it's actually chemistry that creates the light.
  • Fireflies flash their lights to communicate.  For instance, males use their light to attract females for mating purposes. Lightning bugs have also been known to synchronize their flashing lights.
  • Fireflies are dropping in numbers in areas with dense populations. Outdoor lighting in these areas prevent them from seeing their flashing lights, so it becomes difficult to find mates. In addition, pesticides and climate change are also to blame for reducing the firefly population.
  • In order to protect themselves, lightning bugs do something called reflex bleeding. When under attack, they release drops of blood that taste bitter.  Sometimes these drops of blood are even deadly to predators.


Stories for Kids Who Love Nature

Buzzing Bee Books

Beautiful Butterfly Stories

Rainbow Picture Books

Sweet Ladybug Tales

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