The best children’s picture books about the sun and moon from around the world

Theresa Heine Author Of Chandra's Magic Light: A Story in Nepal
By Theresa Heine

Who am I?

I'm a British writer of children’s books and poetry. The books I've chosen are picture books with vibrant illustrations, instantly pulling the reader into the story. The fascination children have with the sky, the planets, and stars, I discovered with my own children, and now my grandchildren, who gaze, star-struck, at the moon through the windows and doorways. As an ex-teacher I've found that books with a story will appeal to children who are discovering cultures other than their own. There are many picture books with sun and moon stories like the one in Chandra’s Magic Light, and I've chosen those I find particularly appealing, as a mother, grandmother, and teacher.


I wrote...

Chandra's Magic Light: A Story in Nepal

By Theresa Heine, Judith Gueyfier (illustrator),

Book cover of Chandra's Magic Light: A Story in Nepal

What is my book about?

Chandra knows the magic of a solar lamp, a tuki, will light her family’s home high in the Himalayas and help her brother breathe easily at night. But how can she earn enough money to buy one?

The story is about solar energy, but it is also about a family who cares for each other. Life in a Himalayan village is evoked with luminous illustrations. In lush colors of a dream-like quality, Deena tells Chandra the story of Chandra the Hindu Moon God, and Surya the Sun God. There are back notes on life in Nepal making the book a useful addition to the school library as well as being an engaging story.

The books I picked & why

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Lin Yi's Lantern

By Brenda Williams, Benjamin Lacom (illustrator),

Book cover of Lin Yi's Lantern

Why this book?

I chose this book because it makes a great companion to my book. Set in China it tells the story of Lin Yi and his longing for a red rabbit lantern for the upcoming Moon Festival. Lin Yi’s mother sends him to the market to buy special food, not forgetting the peanuts for Uncle Hui. Lin Yi may keep any change to buy his lantern, but however hard Lin Yi barters he doesn’t have enough money. But a surprise awaits him when he gets home! The story is illustrated with atmospheric pictures of family life in rural China. 

Lin Yi's Lantern

By Brenda Williams, Benjamin Lacom (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lin Yi's Lantern as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lin Yi is given money to buy items at the market for tonight's Moon Festival. If he bargains well, he can purchase a red rabbit lantern for himself. But he must purchase everything on his mother's list first! This heart-warming story will resonate with both children and adults, as they learn about the wonderful Chinese Moon Festival and the rewards that come from putting others first. Set in China, this story offers an opportunity to learn about Chinese customs through the accessible story of a young boy who has his heart set on buying a lantern for the festival. This…

Sun and Moon Sisters

By Khoa Le,

Book cover of Sun and Moon Sisters

Why this book?

This is a lovely book about two celestial sisters, one is the sun and the other the moon. As siblings do, they argue about who is more important. They decide to swap roles and the sun begins to shine day and night so nobody can sleep and the earth and growing things suffer. Then the moon takes over and at first everybody is relieved. But gradually the lack of warmth and light makes the world an unhappy place. The sisters realize the importance of harmony in the world and in their relationship. The pictures softly reflect the hues of sun and moon. This would make a lovely bedtime story and the end picture shows the girls' love for each other.

Sun and Moon Sisters

By Khoa Le,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sun and Moon Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story

By Hena Khan, Julie Paschkis (illustrator),

Book cover of Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story

Why this book?

This is a warm, family story about the moon. Yasmeen watches every night as the crescent moon gradually grows and the family takes part in the celebration of Ramadam. When the moon has reached its full size it starts to shrink, until finally, Yasmeen can no longer pick it out in the dark sky. We share Yasmeen’s excitement as the moon waxes and wanes, before becomes a sliver in the sky and the night of the moon has arrived. Eid!! Yasmeen and her family celebrate with relatives, friends, and neighbors, sharing traditional food and exchanging gifts. Ramadan takes place after the sun has gone down and the pictures are in deep blues and greens. When Eid arrives the pictures are in vibrant reds and oranges, and are filled with people celebrating. This is a family story as well as containing information about a Muslim celebration. I would strongly recommend it as a story in its own right and as a lovely introduction to Ramadan and Eid.

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story

By Hena Khan, Julie Paschkis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Night of the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback, this sweet tale follows Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, as she celebrates the Muslim holidays of Ramadan, "The Night of the Moon" (Chaand Raat), and Eid. With lush illustrations that evoke Islamic art, this beautiful story offers a peek into modern Muslim culture-and into the ancient roots of its most cherished traditions.

Owl Moon

By Jane Yolen,

Book cover of Owl Moon

Why this book?

Owl Moon is the poetic story of a young girl who, long past her bedtime, is going owling with her father on a winter’s night. It’s an adventure for the girl as she and her father, almost in silence, crunch over the crisp snow searching for the Great Horned Owl. The woods are lit with a winter moon "whiter than a milk in a cereal bowl." Eventually, their patience is rewarded as the owl lands on a branch right on the tree they are standing under. The father lifts the little girl, who is tired from the whole adventure, and they walk home. The beautiful watercolor pictures enhance the spare lyrical text, the dark woods lit by moonlight, and the brightness of the snow. It is a lovely text to read aloud, a plus for parents and teachers, and the relationship between father and daughter as he holds her hand and then carries her home is very sweet without being sentimental. Lovely to read at any time it makes a beautiful bedtime story.

Owl Moon

By Jane Yolen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Owl Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Sun and Moon

By Lindsey Yankey,

Book cover of Sun and Moon

Why this book?

Sun and Moon is a simple story. Moon is bored with the night sky and the darkness with nothing to see and suggests a swap for a day to Sun. Sun says any swap must be permanent and suggest Moon takes a closer look at the world at night before making a decision. Moon is amazed by the things he sees, the colors, the people and animals, and night activities. The luminous illustrations are quite exquisite, and they are the reason I have chosen this book. They are very detailed and slanted so we view them as through the moon. Children wear quaint old-fashioned clothes. We see them flying through magical dreams. We see scampering raccoons and fireflies gleaming like stars. By the end of the book we are as entranced as the moon is.

Sun and Moon

By Lindsey Yankey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sun and Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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