girl afraid of dark

19 Reassuring Books for Kids Afraid of the Dark

orion and the dark

Orion and the Dark

Orion is a tiny boy with a giant list of fears- wasps, girls, heights, and spiders to name a few. But at the very top of the pile is his crippling, quivering, anxiety-inducing fear of the dark. Despite all of his inventions and solutions to this problem, bedtime comes around every single night, and with it comes scary darkness. In a creative twist, Dark (personified) reaches a hand out of the book and befriends Orion. An unlikely relationship built on trust develops and is what Orion ultimately needs to overcome his fear.



girl afraid of dark


Comforting Kids' Books About Fear of the Nighttime

What can start as a mild case of the nighttime jitters can quickly evolve into a panicky, disruptive pattern of sleepless nights. Every little bump in the dark sounds like a scary invader who has arrived to terrorize little ones. Sometimes the simple solution for parents is to allow a sleepy child to crawl into their bed. If this is the case at your home, read these children's books about sleeping in own bed to stop this behavior before it becomes habit.

But after awhile, this is not an ideal arrangement for healthy rest. Also, this anxiety can get in the way of popular social activities, like slumber parties. Stories about sleepover parties share tales about characters who overcome their fear of nighttime and have fun with their friends.

Reading children's books about fear of the dark is a good tactic to restore peace and calm. Through characters and stories, these books offer a myriad of solutions to eliminate this source of anxiety once and for all.


the berenstain bears in the dark

The Berenstain Bears in the Dark

Scary books are fun to read, until it is time to go to sleep. When the bedroom lights are turned off, Sister Bear believes every shadow in her room is something scary and threatening. Fortunately, Papa comes to the rescue with some valuable tips for eliminating her fear of the dark. A bonus page of stickers comes with this book about being afraid of the dark.



the pout pout fish in the big big dark

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark

Ms. Clam has lost her precious pearl in the deep, dark bottom of the ocean. Mr. Fish always a good friend who can be relied on to help out in a time of need. He is smart, fast, and strong, but he has a terrible fear of the dark. Will he find the courage, with the assistance of his friends, to overcome his phobia and retrieve the pearl? Kids will be rooting for their favorite fish as he braves new waters.


george and his nighttime friends

George and His Nighttime Friends

An enchanting book about how a few magical friends help a little boy conquer his fear of the dark. George lives in a warm, comfortable home but when the lights are turned off a night, sleep does not come easily. When a friendly mouse appears, the two embark on a nighttime adventure that includes other animals with fears of their own. Together they help each other through their personal challenges and have a little fun along the way.



be brave like batman

Be Brave Like Batman!

Little kids will learn to channel their superhero powers into going to bed at night. Little ones  with a fear of the dark are encouraged to be brave like batman and confront monsters under the bed and dark, scary closets. This short book reads like a cartoon and may be just what kids who are scared of the dark need to overcome their phobia.



there's a nightmare in my closet

There's a Nightmare in My Closet

A true bedtime classic that is both creepy and comforting for kids whose imaginations run wild at night. A little boy who is afraid of the dark is certain that something is lurking in his closet. This thing is called Nightmare and the child is convinced to embrace him. In fact, all he needs to do is tuck Nightmare back into his own bed in the closet where he will stay all night. The retro-style illustrations set a slightly eery tone to this perennial, fear-of-the-dark story.



dragon night

Dragon Night

A magical fantasy book about a special friendship between a boy and a dragon. They each have a problem that needs to be solved. Georgie is afraid of the night, and the dragon is afraid of a knight. One evening, the dragon steps out of the book to take Georgie on the adventure of a lifetime. They fly high into the sky and view the world from a whole new perspective. Upon returning, Georgie's fear of the dark has disappeared, but the dragon is still uneasy about his nemesis, the sword-wielding knight. So Georgie rewrites the book with a less threatening opponent where the dragon happily returns to face his fear. 


the darkest dark

The Darkest Dark

Readers are taken on a special ride with real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield. As a young boy, he imagined going on adventures in a rocketship to explore the planets. During the day, Chris never experienced even an ounce of fear as he pretended to leave the safety of earth. But at night, all his bravado was gone and the darkness made him quiver with fear. Then when he watches a real-life astronaut landing on the moon on television, he experiences some clarity. Outer space is the darkest of dark, but also the most beautiful place. This thought brings him peace that night when it's time to go to sleep.



the dark
The Dark

Laszlo has successfully kept his greatest fear, the dark, out of his bedroom. With the help of his night-light, the dark is relegated to the basement where it resides without bothering him. All of that changes one night when the the lightbulb burns out and the dark is granted entry into his bedroom. Instead of invoking fear, the dark leads Laszlo into the depths of the basement to a place where new night-light bulbs are stored. An empowering story about a little boy who faces his greatest fear with bravery and courage. 

scared of the dark it's really scared of you

Scared of the Dark? It's Really Scared of You

This creative story presents the dark as a weak, scared, blob who is actually afraid of you.The dark is so anxious and fearful that it spends most of the time hiding from the light. Readers will find humor in its expressive looks of cowardice the efforts to remain hidden. Through a comical reversal of roles, children will feel empowered to face their fear of the dark.



tiny t rex and the very dark dark
Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark

 Tiny T. Rex and his best friend, Pointy, have worked out plans to camp out overnight. This adventure requires some special planning since these buddies have a fear of darkness. They have active imaginations that turn every noise into scary monsters. But with a little creativity, these friends learn to bring light into their tent and face their fears with unwavering courage.



the king who banned the dark

The King Who Banned the Dark

This is the story of a prince who suffers from a common childhood phobia- fear of the dark! He vows to eradicate darkness when he becomes king. When that day arrives, he makes true on his promise and creates a kingdom of eternal lightness. At first the people celebrate this remarkable event, but soon exhaustion takes hold. How can anybody possibly sleep when it's always so bright? They must rally around the king to face his fear of the dark so that restful sleep is restored.


darkness slipped in

Darkness Slipped In

 Original and mesmerizing book about a little girl who looks forward to time with her new friend, Darkness. Daisy welcomes this visitor with open arms and together they dance the night away. What is most striking about this book is the use of black and white color punctuated by bright pink and yellow. Darkness has a tactile element that brings it to life and encourages children to engage with this story on another level.



tiny barbarian

Tiny Barbarian

A funny book about a little boy whose imagination has no boundaries.  Tiny doesn't let his small stature get in the way of his dreams. After going to the movies, he's inspired to turn into a barbarbian himself. All it takes is some creativity use of household items for a costume.  Feeling empowered, Tiny battles all kinds of scary foes, including dragons and trolls. But when it comes to going to bed, his greatest fear may be the toughest to overcome- the dark! Will he summon up the courage he needs to fall asleep? Just the right mood and tone for preschoolers with a touch of fear at night.


night animals Night Animals

Succinct text and funny pictures capture the fear of dark shared by a group of not-so-bright animals. One by one, they appear startled and afraid by the strange sounds and rustling noises all around them at night. Together they declare that the source of these sounds is "Night animals!", but seem to miss the fact that they are speaking about themselves. This humorous book sets the right mood for kids ready to nod off to sleep.


bedtime for frances

Bedtime for Frances

 Frances has no shortages of delay tactics and excuses for not going to bed. This lovable badger needs a glass of milk as well as kisses and hugs from her parents. Oh, and she also has to say goodnight to every stuffed animal in her bedroom. It's an exhausting process. When the lights are finally switched off, her imagination runs wild. The cracks in the ceiling are scary. There are giants and monsters hiding in her bedroom, waiting for an opportunity to snatch her. Now readers understand why Frances dreads bedtime. She's afraid of the dark! A classic book about fear of the dark that will elicit lots of giggles.


heidi heckelbeck might be afraid of the dark

Heidi Heckelbeck Might Be Afraid of the Dark

Sleepovers are so much fun, especially when you get a new pair of pajamas and sleeping bag to take along! Heidi has a secret she is guarding from the other girls - she is afraid of the dark. This little witch is enjoying herself until it is time to turn out the lights. Can she find something in her book of spells to help her? An illustrated book for beginner readers who will relate to Heidi's dark secret.


duck duck dinosaur and the noise at night

Duck Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night

A mother goose adopts two little ducks and one young dinosaur. These baby siblings are cuddled up for their first night alone. After a little while, all three wake up scared and quivering from strange noises in the dark. Little do they know it is the dinosaur's snores causing all the ruckus! Adorable illustrations, rhyming text, and a lot of humor make this a favorite book for kids afraid of the dark.  


clark the shark afraid of the dark

Clark the Shark: Afraid of the Dark

Kids who are feeling down about their fear of the dark will thoroughly enjoy this funny story. Clark, a not-so-ferocious shark, has a healthy case of nighttime nerves. When he's invited to an outdoor sleepover, he makes preparations for getting through it. Clark packs a night-light and and makes up a little poem to recite when his anxiety takes hold. A reassuring story that will encourage readers to come up with their own technique for conquering their fears. 


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child asleep


Reading Books About Characters Afraid of Darkness Can Help

Lots and lots of kids go through a period of time when they are afraid after darkness sets in. Sometimes it's just a phase that passes quickly. A night-light, a weighted blanket, or a stuffed animal may be all they need to fall into a deep, peaceful slumber. For other kids, what starts as a slight uneasiness at night can turn into a big problem that interrupts the sleep pattern of the entire family. If this is the case with your child, read some good picture books about characters who have similar experiences. Each author offers sage advice and comforting words to soothe little ones filled with worry through stories and illustrations. Kids who are scared at night don't sleep well, and this problem spills into every other aspect of their lives. Cranky moods affect their ability to get along with others, causing them to lose friends. Children who are tired have a hard time concentrating at school, completing assignments, and even following basic instructions. For all of these reasons, parents need help getting their little ones over this hurdle and get back on track. Check out these children's books about being afraid of the nighttime written by child psychologists, therapists, and sleep experts. You will find guidance and expertise to navigate this very common, albeit frustrating, problem. 


girl sleeping


Tips to Help a Child Who is Afraid at Night

Have a child who suddenly develops an irrational fear of the dark? It happens in almost every household at some point during a child's developmental years. A serious case of bedtime nerves can seemingly come out of nowhere, but there are ways you can help a child quickly get through this phase. Reading kids' books about anxiety and fear can be a helpful strategy for little ones who are overwhelmed with jitters at night.

Here are some Do's and Dont's that we have gathered based on opinions of parents who have encountered this same situation with their own little ones. 

  • Do not allow your child into your bed to sleep at night. This is a slippery slope that quickly becomes a habit and disrupts the sleep pattern of both parents and children. It's an easy trap to fall into but only a temporary solution to the problem. The goal is for your children to feel secure in their own bedrooms, so permitting them so sleep in your room sends a signal that they are safer with you.
  • Do provide adequate light at night in the bedroom, if that is a source of comfort for the child. Night-lights come with a lot of pretty cool features these days. Not only can they be set on a timer, but they can change colors and display patterns on the walls. You may also consider leaving a light on in closets, bathrooms and other places around a child's room.
  • Do not feed your child sugary foods late in the day into early evening. High levels of sugar affect the neurotransmitters in a child's brain that are responsible for stabilizing mood. This can lead to increased levels of anxiety which is what you don't want your child experiencing at bedtime. Also, lots of kids experience a sugar rush so they have a burst of energy that interferes with falling asleep.
  • Do incorporate a source of white noise into a child's bedroom at night. The whir of a ceiling fan may do the trick. You can also find inexpensive sound machines with a variety of white noises to choose from, such as the sound of rain or ocean waves. White noise is extremely effective because all the sound frequencies are at an equal intensity.  Therefore, the child's brain is not stimulated by a jolting noise. Also, white noise blocks out sounds from other parts of the house that may cause a child to be afraid.
  • Do not dismiss a child's fear of the dark as irrational. An important step in helping a child overcome being afraid of the dark is validating their feelings. Kids need to feel like they are heard and understood. Also, by listening generously and patiently, you may get some insight into how to solve the problem. For instance, maybe there is a particular noise in the house that the child hears at night, like the heater or air conditioner, that they don't notice during daytime hours. A simple explanation of all the sounds a house makes may fix the problem.
  • Do ensure your child is receiving adequate exercise during the day so that exhaustion sets in at bedtime. The longer that children linger in bed before falling asleep, the more likely fearful thoughts will creep into their minds. 
  • Do not  allow your children to look at their devices right before bedtime. Remove cell phones, ipads, laptops, and access to television at least an hour ahead of time. The blue light emitted from screens interferes with the body's production of melatonin and throw off a child's internal clock. When it's time to turn off the lights, a child's mind will still be in an overly active state and vulnerable to those scary thoughts.
  • Do stick with a bedtime routine and do your best not to deviate from it. Children feel safe and secure with predictable schedules. Build in plenty of time between after school activities to give their bodies a chance to settle down. A warm shower or bath is beneficial followed by reading time.


     More Helpful Books for Kids  

    Kids Books About Sad Feelings

    Stories About Temper Tantrums

    Valuable Books About Bullying

    Stories About Body Boundaries


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