The best books about night

2 authors have picked their favorite books about night and why they recommend each book.

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How to Be a Moonflower

By Katie Daisy,

Book cover of How to Be a Moonflower

It’s always a joy to find a kindred spirit with a love for flora and fauna, and fellow author/illustrator Katie Daisy is just that. Her beautiful, painterly style, combined with quotes, guides, and poems, makes How to Be a Moonflower a truly fantastic collection. One may not associate the nighttime with lush florals, but plenty of flowers (as well as animals!) come alive after the sun sets. This book is a gem, bursting with inspiration and magic. 


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by nature, even from a young age. My parents would set up easels for my sister and me to paint outdoors, and I haven’t stopped drawing since. I tend to focus on flora and fauna, making illustrations with subdued colors and intricate details. I love to create illustrations for books, and occasionally, I’ll write them, too. Often reflective of history, mythology, and folklore, my work captures an old-world feeling and a love of nature. In my spare time, you can find me in my garden or out walking my dog, Molly.


I wrote...

Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers

By Jessica Roux,

Book cover of Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers

What is my book about?

Floriography is a full-color guide to the historical uses and secret meanings behind an impressive array of flowers and herbs. The book explores the coded significances associated with various blooms, from flowers for a lover to flowers for an enemy.

The language of flowers was historically used as a means of secret communication. It soared in popularity during the 19th century, especially in Victorian England and the U.S., when proper etiquette discouraged open displays of emotion. Mysterious and playful, the language of flowers has roots in everything from the characteristics of the plant to its presence in folklore and history. Researched and illustrated by popular artist Jessica Roux, this book makes a stunning display piece, conversation-starter, or thoughtful gift.

Moon

By Britta Teckentrup,

Book cover of Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book

This book contains so many qualities that I adore in a children’s book. The illustrations are rich, textured landscapes filled with expressive animals and a die-cut of the moon on every spread. On each page turn, it shows the changing moon phases. The perfect rhythm, luscious word choice, and spot-on rhyme make it a pleasure to read aloud. Besides the beautiful aesthetic quality of this book, it also contains an abundance of information about animals and nature and how they relate to the moon. A gorgeous and interesting book.


Who am I?

I was born into a large, unique family. Our house was nestled in the Colorado foothill mountains. Our small tv with the rabbit ear antenna had one fuzzy station, so we depended upon our imaginations for entertainment. We read fairy tales, performed puppet shows, fed fairies on the full moon, painted, drew, wrote stories, explored the canyon. I once observed a small pebbled cylinder inch its way across a puddle. I thought it was magic! It was a caddis fly larvae. That spark of excitement from nature, imagination, and whimsy are what inspire me today when I create. I hope these books will inspire you–or at least make you laugh.


I wrote...

I Am Goose!

By Dorothia Rohner, Vanya Nastanlieva (illustrator),

Book cover of I Am Goose!

What is my book about?

I am Goose! was inspired by the children at Head-Start. They loved playing Duck, Duck Goose, but not all of the children cared about the rules. The story starts out with a simple, friendly game of Duck, Duck, Goose. It goes off the rails in giggle-inducing confusion when a silly goose tries to make it all about him. “Are you kidding me? I am Goose!”

A literal-minded goose derails a favorite childhood game—Duck, Duck, Goose—by objecting when Pig, Fox, Dodo, and other players are tapped as “Goose”. Distraction, squabbling, and asking for snacks threaten to end the game completely. Bossy Rabbit restores calm, but Goose doesn’t understand what the problem is until he gets a taste of his own medicine.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

By Joyce Sidman, Rick Allen (illustrator),

Book cover of Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

If you wonder why Joyce Sidman is considered one of the preeminent children’s poets of our time, this Newbury Award-winning book should be all you need. From bats and crickets to moths and salamanders – and yes, even the Dark Emperor himself, the great horned owl – Joyce utilizes powerful imagery, delicate wordplay, and a poet’s insight to bring these mysterious creatures out of the dark and into our homes.

From formal rhyme structures to free verse, Joyce combines magnificent poetry with nonfiction sidebars to create a perfect book that enlightens, enthralls, and educates.


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.


I wrote...

Once Upon Another Time

By Charles Ghigna, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Andrés F. Landazábal (illustrator)

Book cover of Once Upon Another Time

What is my book about?

"Once upon another time, the world was young and new. If you want to know this world, there's something you can do..." With sweeping landscapes and up-close details of the natural world, “Once Upon Another Time” takes readers through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark. Contrasting the past with the present, this expansive picture book serves as an invitation for children – and all people – to appreciate, explore, and protect this planet we call home.

Written by award-winning authors Charles Ghigna and Matt Forrest Esenwine, and illustrated by Andres F. Landazabal, Once Upon Another Time is a stunning portrait of a world that used to exist, and can still be found – if you just know where to look.

Moonlight Prance

By Serena Gingold Allen, Teagan White (illustrator),

Book cover of Moonlight Prance

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.


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.


I wrote...

Dream Flights on Arctic Nights

By Brooke Hartman, Evon Zerbetz (illustrator),

Book cover of Dream Flights on Arctic Nights

What is my book about?

At night, just as the moon climbs high, I make a wish that I could fly.

Follow a child’s dreamy flight across the Arctic and discover the animals that live there, from wolves prowling through the snow, to goats and sheep leaping across mountains, to walrus and sea lions lying on icebergs. Told in singsong rhymes and colorfully illustrated with gorgeous linocut art, Dream Flights on Arctic Nights is a beautiful bedtime story for children to explore the Arctic before drifting off to sleep.

A Good Night Walk

By Elisha Cooper,

Book cover of A Good Night Walk

A good goodnight book slows things down, quiets down the room and the people in it. This book does just that. When nap-time and bedtime were frequent and important in our home we really loved this book. You go for a walk and when you are back home you are ready for bed. Decrescendo. 


Who am I?

I write and illustrate picture books. Before I was a father I just thought of the picture book as my chosen art form. When I became a dad, I saw first-hand how important picture books are in the lives of young children and the people who read to them. They become family friends. For the youngest kids, bedtime and nap-time are rituals performed many times a day, which means those books get read over and over. In doing so, I found some favorites that I still enjoy reading today, even if I am reading to myself!   


I wrote...

Wild Honey from the Moon

By Kenneth Kraegel,

Book cover of Wild Honey from the Moon

What is my book about?

On a cold winter's eve, deep in the woods, a mother shrew frets about her sick young son. His head is hot and his feet are cold, and there is only one known cure: wild honey from the moon. Mother Shrew does not stop to wonder how she will make such an impossible journey. Instead, she grabs her umbrella, gives her darling son a final kiss, and sets out.

Along the way, Mother Shrew encounters one obstacle after another, from a malevolent owl to a herd of restless wild horses to an island humming with angry bees. But she is a mother on a mission and she shall not be deterred.

Goodnight Ganesha

By Nadia Salomon, Poonam Mistry (illustrator),

Book cover of Goodnight Ganesha

This book has truly beautiful art by Poonam Mistry. I find Indian and Hindu culture fascinating and this book brings it to you through the eyes of a child (or two children I should say as it’s about siblings). There is a glossary of Hindu terms in the back which I do appreciate. It is written almost as an Indian tribute to Goodnight Moon which is of course a classic.


Who am I?

I moved to New York City for school when I was 18 years old and found myself surrounded by people from all over the world. Every fourth person in New York City is an expat. It was fascinating to me and since then I have lived in three countries and done months-long artist residences in Morocco and Ireland. I also read books and stories about cultures from around the world and am particularly enchanted by Africa. Currently, I live on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the city of Mazatlán and have written two children’s books about Mexico. 


I wrote...

Andy and the Mask of the Dead

By Carolyn Watson Dubisch,

Book cover of Andy and the Mask of the Dead

What is my book about?

Andy and the Mask of the Dead is an enchanting story of a mischievous young boy who finds himself invited into another world. A world of dancing ghosts, roses, and marigolds. A world that celebrates the past and the people who’ve moved on. Andy draws you into his discovery of the magical Mexican holiday of “Dias de Los Muertos” Day of the Dead). It’s the perfect way to expand your child’s world through rhymes and art.

Sun and Moon

By Lindsey Yankey,

Book cover of Sun and Moon

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.


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 End of Night

By Paul Bogard,

Book cover of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

Have you ever wondered where all the stars went? When was the last time you saw the Milky Way? We have national parks to preserve beautiful places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone geysers. But somehow, the Milky Way, a billion glowing stars all blended together in a band everyone could see every moonless night everywhere on Earth, has just faded away to invisibility for 80% of Americans. How did that happen and why we should care is what Bogard writes about in this lovely book written not for scientists or amateur astronomers, but for everyone who’s ever thought about simply “sleeping under the stars.”


Who am I?

I was of that generation of children turned on to science by reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos - plus watching the Voyager spacecraft at Jupiter on TV, seeing the 1979 total solar eclipse over my house, and having Mt St Helens erupt outside my childhood window. So, one guess what I wanted to be when I grew up? Since then, I’ve earned a PhD, used the largest telescopes on Earth, designed something driving around on Mars, written popular books, and had my science art collected by the Smithsonian. But all of that started with a single book I read as a kid. Thanks Carl.


I wrote...

Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets

By Tyler Nordgren,

Book cover of Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets

What is my book about?

Seeing a total solar eclipse is more than just “seeing”, it is a multisensory experience where the heavens literally align with you as you stand in the cold shadow of the Moon cast by a now black Sun. Imagine how profoundly upsetting it is to see day turned suddenly to tonight, especially if – unlike today – it came with no warning at all. It’s an experience that has altered history and advanced science and today drives a word-wide travel industry that in the next few years will be coming to a town, state, or country near you.

Sun Moon Earth is the story of why you need to go and what you will experience when you get yourself into the path of totality.

The Going to Bed Book

By Sandra Boynton,

Book cover of The Going to Bed Book

I didn’t think much of rhyming picture books until I became a father. Whether I was savoring the bedtime experience, impatient to get on to the next task or about to fall asleep myself, the rhythm of this (and all of Boynton’s books) pulled me into the moment and made me an engaged reader. And Boynton’s books are as fun to look at as they are to read. 


Who am I?

I write and illustrate picture books. Before I was a father I just thought of the picture book as my chosen art form. When I became a dad, I saw first-hand how important picture books are in the lives of young children and the people who read to them. They become family friends. For the youngest kids, bedtime and nap-time are rituals performed many times a day, which means those books get read over and over. In doing so, I found some favorites that I still enjoy reading today, even if I am reading to myself!   


I wrote...

Wild Honey from the Moon

By Kenneth Kraegel,

Book cover of Wild Honey from the Moon

What is my book about?

On a cold winter's eve, deep in the woods, a mother shrew frets about her sick young son. His head is hot and his feet are cold, and there is only one known cure: wild honey from the moon. Mother Shrew does not stop to wonder how she will make such an impossible journey. Instead, she grabs her umbrella, gives her darling son a final kiss, and sets out.

Along the way, Mother Shrew encounters one obstacle after another, from a malevolent owl to a herd of restless wild horses to an island humming with angry bees. But she is a mother on a mission and she shall not be deterred.

The Night Is Yours

By Abdul-Razak Zachariah, Keturah A. Bobo (illustrator),

Book cover of The Night Is Yours

"This is your night, my Amani!" The dark skies are still full of your laughter and joy, even though they get quieter as your friends go inside one by one." 

Do you love observing the night? It's something about the night that's peaceful and beautiful. I enjoy reading this story from the perspective of a father watching his daughter gain her independence and using melodic metaphors to empower her existence. Personally, I love reading literature that compares nature's beauty to something we adore...our child. I believe this is why I connected to this story and I know other parents will too. This is a delightful read-aloud to share with your child for many nights.


Who am I?

As a children's book writer, I want my books to be infused with S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art, and science), imaginative adventure, and empowering words. These 3 elements are important for cultivating their minds. Great inventions and discoveries have come from people who were curious. I believe that it's our responsibility as parents to expose them to new interests and speak empowering words to their developing minds. Parents play a key role in how their children see themselves. I hope that my books encourage unity, spark the imagination, build strong parent-child relationships, initiate dialogue, and promote learning.


I wrote...

Bryla's Amazing Imagination: Bryla Visits the Moon

By LaTasha Reynolds, Mo Raad (illustrator),

Book cover of Bryla's Amazing Imagination: Bryla Visits the Moon

What is my book about?

Bryla Visits the Moon is centered on a 6-year-old little girl named Bryla who has a natural fascination for astronomy. Each night, Bryla's fascination grows stronger for the Moon and playing games of hide-and-seek just isn't enough. Bryla desires to visit the Moon but doesn't know how to reach the galaxy from her suburban home. After explaining her desires to her mother, she teaches Bryla the importance of using her imagination to make dreams come true.

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