100 books like After Dark

By David L. Harrison, Stephanie Laberis (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that After Dark fans have personally recommended if you like After Dark. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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When Green Becomes Tomatoes

By Julie Fogliano, Julie Morstad (illustrator),

Book cover of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night

From the list on children’s poetry collections about nature.

Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about nature

Why did Matt love this book?

This is a very unique and beautiful book, all the way through. The poems are uniquely written. They present a unique perspective on their subjects. And the entire book is structured to read almost as diary entries – quite unique! Julie’s concept and execution are brilliant, with unusual wordplay and imagery (in springtime, “rushing daffodils / wished they had waited” and birds poke “a tiny hole / through the edge of winter”) and the varying tone of her poems – from joyful to contemplative to eager – keeps the collection fresh and keeps the pages turning. 

By Julie Fogliano, Julie Morstad (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked When Green Becomes Tomatoes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

december 29
and i woke to a morning
that was quiet and white
the first snow
(just like magic) came on tip toes
overnight

Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry.


Forest Has a Song

By Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, Robbin Gourley (illustrator),

Book cover of Forest Has a Song: Poems

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night

From the list on children’s poetry collections about nature.

Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about nature

Why did Matt love this book?

Amy has a way of making every poem feel personal, not just in the way the reader connects with the words, but in the way the subjects are presented. The poems are intimate, friendly, surprising, and comforting, whether they are written from a third-person perspective or from the point of view of the animals themselves. Beautiful to read, and beautiful to look at, readers will never look at the forest the same way again.

By Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, Robbin Gourley (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forest Has a Song as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest / never lasts long. / Melody / is everywhere / mixing in / with piney air. / Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world…


Book cover of Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night

From the list on children’s poetry collections about nature.

Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about nature

Why did Matt love this book?

Narrowing down just one of Joyce Sidman’s poetry collections as ‘their best’ is truly a monumental task, but Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold is certainly high on the list! Whether it’s Tundra Swans dreaming of “ice-blue sky and yodel of night” or a leaping, laughing snowflake with “lace sprouting from fingertips,” all the subjects of Joyce’s poems are rendered in elegant yet relatable text while Rick Allen’s linoleum print illustrations capture the ethereal tone of the book.

By Joyce Sidman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night), discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature's beauty and power.


Dear Wandering Wildebeest

By Irene Latham, Anna Wadham (illustrator),

Book cover of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Flashlight Night

From the list on children’s poetry collections about nature.

Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Children's Books, 2015).

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about nature

Why did Matt love this book?

Where to begin? This book covers a wide range of animals found on the African grasslands – impalas, giraffes, oxpeckers, and more – but also includes unlikely (and unseemly) subjects like poop-rolling dung beetles and carcass-cleaning vultures. An especially nice poem, “Tree for All,” written from the tree’s perspective, extolls its virtues by sharing how rhinos, baboons, skinks, safari ants, and other creatures all make use of its resources.

By Irene Latham, Anna Wadham (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dear Wandering Wildebeest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome wildebeest / and beetle, / Oxpecker and lion. / This water hole is yours. / It offers you oasis / beside its shrinking shores.

Spend a day at a water hole on the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Fact sidebars support the poems about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Anna Wadham complete this delightful collection.


Moonlight Prance

By Serena Gingold Allen, Teagan White (illustrator),

Book cover of Moonlight Prance

Brooke Hartman Author Of Dream Flights on Arctic Nights

From the list on quick rhyming picture books with animals.

Who am I?

As a mom of young kids who love animals, I know firsthand the benefit of finding fun books that are also easy to read, fun to look at, and short enough not to make you flinch when your kids pull them off the shelves during those later bedtime nights.

Brooke's book list on quick rhyming picture books with animals

Why did Brooke love this book?

A companion book to Sunrise Dance, this interactive lift-the-flap book will entertain young readers as they read along during a midnight dance in a meadow, and all the animals that come and join the fun. Kids will love making the animals dance along by moving the flaps, plus it’s short enough for when you need that super quick read before a late bedtime.

By Serena Gingold Allen, Teagan White (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this sweet and interactive bedtime read-aloud-with the rollicking rhyme of Sandra Boynton's Barnyard Dance! and the bedtime themes of Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue-young readers can make skunks scamper and possums prance with each push of a durable novelty element.

When you rest your head at night, nocturnal animals awake to dance and play! Push and pull the sturdy tabs to make foxes frolic and hedgehogs hustle in this sweet, interactive tale of nighttime fun.

A charming and interactive bedtime read-aloud, young children will delight in moving the durable novelty elements, making the illustrations transform through their…


Animals at Night

By Anne Jankéliowitch, Delphine Chedru (illustrator), Eve Bodeux (translator)

Book cover of Animals at Night: A Glow-In-The-Dark Book

Anita Sanchez Author Of Wait Till It Gets Dark: A Kid's Guide to Exploring the Night

From the list on for exploring nature at night with kids.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m especially fascinated by plants and animals that no one loves. My books are intended to get kids excited about science and help them appreciate the wonders of the natural world. Many years of fieldwork, leading children on nature walks, have given me firsthand experience in introducing students to the terrors and joys of nature. I especially enjoy the beauties of the night, from fireflies to coyote howls to star-gazing!

Anita's book list on for exploring nature at night with kids

Why did Anita love this book?

I admit it, I’m a sucker for glow-in-the-dark books. I still have the glow-in-the-dark stars on the bedroom ceiling from when my own kids were small. This book has gorgeous glow-in-the-dark illustrations (it works best if you happen to have a blacklight bulb) but also has a lot of great information, facts, and thought-provoking questions about the lifestyles of nocturnal wildlife of all shapes and sizes. A fun reading experience for parents as well as kids!

By Anne Jankéliowitch, Delphine Chedru (illustrator), Eve Bodeux (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What creatures hide in the darkness under the starry sky? Easy: they are nocturnal animals, and now you can spot them too! Once the lights go out, the fun begins as glow-in-the-dark images appear on highly-illustrated, fact-filled pages. Travel between different habitats, from fields to deserts to mountains and more, as you learn all about different animals and what makes them nocturnal in this beautiful nonfiction picture book.


In the Dark

By Lisa Deresti Betik, Josh Holinaty (illustrator),

Book cover of In the Dark: The Science of What Happens at Night

Anita Sanchez Author Of Wait Till It Gets Dark: A Kid's Guide to Exploring the Night

From the list on for exploring nature at night with kids.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’m especially fascinated by plants and animals that no one loves. My books are intended to get kids excited about science and help them appreciate the wonders of the natural world. Many years of fieldwork, leading children on nature walks, have given me firsthand experience in introducing students to the terrors and joys of nature. I especially enjoy the beauties of the night, from fireflies to coyote howls to star-gazing!

Anita's book list on for exploring nature at night with kids

Why did Anita love this book?

This book is for slightly older kids who want to delve deeper into the mysteries of the night. I like this book because it includes plants in the survey of what’s going on at night. Plants often get overlooked, but they’re just as active at night as they are during the day—they don’t move around or make noise, but there’s a lot going on inside those quiet leaves. This book also covers humans, how our brain works, why it needs sleep, and does a good job of explaining the complex topic of biological rhythms.

By Lisa Deresti Betik, Josh Holinaty (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An entertaining, fact-packed introduction to the science of night.

What happens when we go to sleep at night? Kids can find out in this fun exploration of the world after dark. This nonfiction book covers the surprising amount of activity going on at night with animals, plants, celestial objects and even our own bodies! Here are answers to all the questions kids have about nighttime — and many they have never thought of! — including:
Why do we dream?
How do bats use echolocation?
What blooms in the moonlight?
Why do stars twinkle?

There’s so much here to investigate, kids…


Daniel Finds a Poem

By Micha Archer,

Book cover of Daniel Finds a Poem

Danna Smith Author Of How Do You Haiku? A Step-by-Step Guide with Templates

From the list on hooking your kids on poetry.

Who am I?

I’ve loved words from the moment I met them. I wrote my first poem when I was eight years old and haven’t stopped yet! As a children’s book author, I love incorporating rhyme, poetry, or lyrical prose in the stories I write. I was a shy kid and often felt like my poetry wasn’t “good enough.” It is my goal to get kids excited about all forms of poetry and I want them to know that they can be poets if they want to and that writing, reading, and sharing poetry is fun and rewarding. 

Danna's book list on hooking your kids on poetry

Why did Danna love this book?

Like Daniel, young kids may have heard the word “poetry,” but what exactly is a poem? 

The collage illustrations will draw you in as Daniel takes a walk through the park asking creatures, “what is poetry,” the spider answers, saying, "to me poetry is when morning dew glistens.” Or maybe it’s “moonlight on the grass.” Daniel finds that poetry is different things to different animals, and he learns that to find his poem all he has to do is look around and listen. A perfect introduction to poetry!

By Micha Archer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daniel Finds a Poem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stunning collage art full of rich color, glorious details, and a sense of wonder—reminiscent of the work of Ezra Jack Keats—illustrate this delightful story celebrating the poetry found in the world around us.
 
What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen. The magical thing is that poetry is in everyone,…


A Place to Start a Family

By David L. Harrison, Giles Laroche (illustrator),

Book cover of A Place to Start a Family: Poems About Creatures That Build

Matt Forrest Esenwine Author Of Once Upon Another Time

From the list on children’s poetry collections about animals.

Who am I?

Ever since my parents gave me a copy of Dorothy Aldis’ The Secret Place and Other Poems, I have enjoyed a lifelong love of poetry. Now, as a traditionally-published children’s author, I have had numerous books and poems published over the years, including books that began as poems, like Flashlight Night (Astra Young Readers, 2017) and Once Upon Another Time (Beaming Books, 2021). My poems can be found in various anthologies including The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry (N.G. Children’s Books, 2015) and Construction People (Wordsong, 2020) as well as Highlights for Children magazine.

Matt's book list on children’s poetry collections about animals

Why did Matt love this book?

Given poet David L. Harrison’s background and interests (he holds science degrees from both Drury and Emory Universities), it should not be surprising to see his books show up on two of my lists. While he has published numerous poetry collections about animals, A Place to Start a Family stands out because of its tight focus – poems about animals that build nests, hives, and other types of homes – and the writer’s incredible talent for wordplay.

From ingenious internal rhyme to intriguing back matter to Giles Laroche’s masterful cut-paper illustrations, this work of creative nonfiction is equally at home in libraries and classrooms as it is on children’s bookshelves.

By David L. Harrison, Giles Laroche (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Place to Start a Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poetry collection introducing animal architects that build remarkable structures in order to attract a mate and have babies.

Many animals build something--a nest, tunnel, or web--in order to pair up, lay eggs, give birth, and otherwise perpetuate their species. Organized based on where creatures live--underground, in the water, on land, or in the air--twelve poems bring fish, insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds to life. Back matter includes more information about each animal.

"A fine synthesis of poetry and science" — Kirkus Reviews

"An inviting introduction to a dozen industrious creatures" — Publishers Weekly


"A natural for classroom use, with…


Nine Gates

By Jane Hirschfield,

Book cover of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

Janet Sternburg Author Of Janet Sternburg - I've Been Walking

From the list on discovering how to see.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and a late-life fine arts photographerFor eight years I had been writing a book set in the personal and historical past. I would sit at the computer, shut my eyes, and say to myself, “Go deeper.” Eventually, I was able to recall long-forgotten details. When I looked up from those years of writing, the memoir, entitled Phantom Limb, was finished and being published. However, I discovered that I could no longer see – really see – what was around me. Along the way, I had lost that alert attention to the way light falls, to colors that used to hit me between the eyes. I felt the loss deeply. I’ve always loved to look. I had to do something to summon it back.

Janet's book list on discovering how to see

Why did Janet love this book?

In order to retrieve my sense of seeing in the present, I went to my second home in Mexico, read a little each morning, and then went walking without any destination. This is the book I was reading those mornings in Mexico, before my walks. It may seem odd to start with a book about poetry, but this one opened the gate to seeing and to taking my first photograph.

By Jane Hirschfield,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Gate Enables passage between what is inside and what is outside, and the connection poetry forges between inner and outer lives is the fundamental theme of these nine essays.

Nine Gates begins with a close examination of the roots of poetic craft in "the mind of concentration" and concludes by exploring the writer's role in creating a sense of community that is open, inclusive and able to bind the individual and the whole in a way that allows each full self-expression. in between, Nine Gates illumines the nature of originality, translation, the various strategies by which meaning unfolds itself…


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