Shine a little light…books about the dark

Many petites share in their concern about the dark.  I can remember being small and worrying about it being too dark and needing a nightlight.  This is something that I am sure even little cave-petites worried about (okay, maybe not, but it’s a problem that’s been around for a long long time).  Here are two books that I think put a really interesting spin on what darkness has to offer.  Sometimes, with best intentions, we try to play down being anxious or scared of things, these two books celebrate and respect the dark.

The Dark - Cover

The first book I want to share with you is The Dark (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) by Lemony Snicket (2013) with illustrations by Jon Klassen.  In this book Laszlo is a young boy who is afraid of the dark, what is unique about this story is that the dark is also a character.  What I think is so relatable about this story is that the petite sleeps with a nightlight on and one night the bulb burns out.

Laszlo talks to the dark and is invited into the basement, which is the darks room.  In that room the dark tells him he has something to show him, as it would turn out it is a drawer full of light-bulbs.  After that night Laszlo has a much better understanding of the dark and is able to overcome his fear.  I think this would be a great read for possibly five year olds and up.


  • New York Times Best Illustrated
  • 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner
  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
  • ALSC Notable Books for Children

Flashlight - cover

The second book is Flashlight by Lizi Boyd (2014).  I recently shared this book in the post – Wonderful Wordless Books.  This book has so much to offer.


A petite is camping and ventures outside of their tent into the darkness of night with their flashlight.  With this flashlight amazing things are revealed to our daring protagonist.  Whether it is little mice eating strawberries or beavers building their dam.  What is silly and fun about this story is that our protagonist trips and drops the flashlight, what happens next is simply magical.

Both of these books have so much to offer in way of talking about darkness and working through a fear or anxiety about it.  The Dark is a little bit more appropriate for 5 and up, as the dark is personified and talks to Lazlo, which might be scary for younger petites.  Flashlight is perfect for all ages.  Whichever book you choose I am sure they will be enjoyed.

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy this one as well:

Secrets of the Apple Tree

Shine a Light Book: Secret of the Apple Tree

Wonderful Wordless Books

I have used wordless books in my English as a Second Language classes many times, because they so naturally promote oral language development.  The same principle applies for our petites who are learning new words, learning how to engage with stories and talk about the books that they are reading.

Why wordless books are wonderful:

  • Readers have more freedom to interpret and therefore a lot less risk when talking about stories (which makes them great for using with students learning English or struggling readers)
  • Great for all age ranges
  • Petites who aren’t yet able to read, can “read” these stories giving them a sense of accomplishment and building confidence
  • Promotes storytelling skills
  • Without having words, readers are able to work on comprehension skills – making self to text connections, predictions about what a character may be feeling, as well as predictions about what will happen next
  • Readers have a greater appreciation of the details in the images and pay closer attention to the illustrations to give them clues about what is happening
  • Promote conversations about the text
  • They help petites learn about sequencing and structures of stories

With so many reasons why wordless books are so valuable to our young readers lets talk about the books.  There are so many incredible books to choose from, some have been around for a while and others are newer.  I try not to rank books that are my favorite, because each one has something special about it or I wouldn’t take the time to share it with you.  However, one of the books was so incredibly stunning that I couldn’t wait for my petite to get home from school to share it with her.

photo 1

Draw! by Raul Colon is so incredibly stunning, the illustrations are simply amazing.  A little boy draws images of African animals and becomes part of the adventure.  This book is perfect for all ages, and each age range I suspect will take something different away.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd.  I was intrigued by this book because it gives such a unique perspective about the dark.  I love this book and think that is has such neat features, little cut outs in the pages and beautiful illustrations.

Journey by Aaron Becker is a stunning book that depicts what happens when a little girl who is bored  draws a door on her bedroom wall and takes off on an incredible adventure.  This is one of my petites favorite books.

Quest by Aaron Becker is the story of two children who are given a map by a king who is then taken away and the kids are on a quest to rescue him.  It is simply gorgeous.

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is an amazing story with flaps you can lift illustrating a little girl and her flamingo friend who do a very special dance – it is completely charming.  A very relatable story where petites can learn all about friendship.

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle is the next step for our darling protagonist – since she has now mastered her ballet skills she moves onto ice skating with her penguin friend.  This is a story about friends navigating what friendship means.  A lovely story where your petites can sort through the ups and downs of friendship.

Photo 2

Chalk by Bill Thomson is a really fun story for petites about a group of friends who find a bag of chalk at the park.  As they draw with the chalk their images come alive.  Luckily a rainstorm comes just in time.  More suited for children a little bit older perhaps in the 7 and up range.

Wave by Suzy Lee is an incredibly beautiful story using just two colors of water color.  It is all about a little girl at the beach and her interactions with the waves, a great platform to discuss feelings and predictions.

Flotsam by David Wiesner a young boy goes to the beach ready to examine all of the things that float onto the shore, he is surprised to find a camera and all that it has to show him.

Tuesday by David Wiesner is a whimsical story of a Tuesday when frogs take to the air on their lily pads.  This is a phenominal book that has been in print since 1991 and has sold half a million copies – for good reason it is so much fun to read and discuss.

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka is a fantastic story about a dog who looses her favorite ball to another dog, a highly relatable story for petites who have lost or broken a toy before.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney based on Aesop’s fables, two unlikely friends come together and help each other through some difficult situations.  The illustrations are breathtaking.

These books are all wonderful.  With this list, I am sure you will be able to find a perfect story for you and your petites to enjoy.