Nocturnal Books

Nearly every child loves to learn about animals. That’s why these books about nocturnal animals are so fun to read. Children get to see a totally different side of animals—a side that only comes out at night while they are sleeping! Check out this list of our favorite books featuring these curious creatures. There are picture books, non-fiction books, serious books, and silly books—there’s something for everyone!

Daytime Nighttime, All Through the Year Diane Lang

This book is the perfect combination of beautiful watercolor artwork and intriguing facts about animals. For each month of the year, the author spotlights two animals: one who is awake during the day and another who is awake during the night. The story flows easily as the rhyming verse engages and educates children. Pre-kindergarten children will appreciate the familiar animals and vibrant drawings. Older children will get more out of the animal facts and comparisons between the different creatures.

The Night World Mordicai Gerstein

With this book, children will excitedly watch as dark turns into light. As the transition happens, a boy and his cat go on an adventure in their backyard. Surprisingly, the dark night is filled with life! The book’s illustrations are sure to spark many bedtime conversations with your little one. As a read-aloud picture book, it’s ideal for children four to eight years old.

Owl Babies Martin Waddell

This has been one of our favorite book for a long time. It is cute, the story is adorable, and it will help children with separation anxiety as mom always comes back! Three little owlets awake to see that their mother is gone! What will they do? Will their mother ever come back? The simple questions in this book provide a great opportunity to talk about separation and remind your little one that mommy always comes back. Children ages three to seven will enjoy this book and its message.

Flashlight Lizi Boyd

This book doesn’t need words to tell a delightful nighttime story. Children will enjoy finding all of the animals on each page as the main character shines his flashlight into the dark forest. As you explore the book together, children can use their imagination to make up their own narration. Children as young as three will love to read this book.

Animals at Night Katy Flint

Children will love traveling through this after-dark adventure. The book will take them to more than 10 different nighttime habitats. In each place, children will learn about the special creatures who emerge when the sun goes down. The author features well-known animals like jaguars, as well as lesser-known animals like kinkajous. This book is a great read-aloud for children ages 5 to 10.

Appleblossom the Possum Holly Goldberg Sloan

Follow little Appleblossom the possum as she learns from her mama and then, heads out into the big, wide world all on her own. Things don’t go as planned when she ventures a little too far out and falls down a family’s chimney! Her brothers vow to rescue her and a humorous story follows. Aside from the heartwarming story, the book is filled with new vocabulary and possum facts for the kids. Perfect to read alongside 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders.

I am Bat Morag Hood

This bat loves cherries—and he doesn’t want you to steal them! Children will laugh their way through this colorful picture book. Bat’s full range of emotions are on display, from happy to grumpy to depressed. The story seems simple, but on a deeper level, it hits on the values of sharing and friendship. Children from ages three to eight are sure to love this one!

Owl Moon Jane Yolen

This beautifully written and illustrated book won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1988. The heartwarming story still fascinates children today. The story follows a young girl and her father as they go out looking for owls one dark night. There’s a fox, a raccoon, and several other nighttime creatures walking about in the snow. The book is as much about the loving relationship between a child and their parent as it is about finding the owls. A perfect bedtime book for children of all ages!

Firefly Home Jane Clarke

This interactive story is a great way to introduce preschoolers to nocturnal creatures. In the book, Florence the firefly is lost, trying to find her way home. At each step along the journey, children are invited to help Florence: to help her fly faster, to tell her which way to go, and finally, to blow her a goodnight kiss. The book captures children’s attention on every page with simple text and an imaginative story.

If You Were Night Muon Thi Van

Throughout this book, children are asked the question: what would you do if you were night? They follow along as the main character takes every opportunity to find adventure in the darkness. The illustrations in this book are paper-cut dioramas with delicately placed shadows and light. It all works together to give children an interesting point of view to explore. Several nighttime creatures are pictured in the book, making it a great starting point for studying nocturnal animals with early elementary children.

Moonlight Animals Elizabeth Golding

The hidden images and "flashlight" in this book are sure to get children excited about nocturnal animals. The "flashlight" is simply a paper trick, so no batteries are required, but little ones are amazed just the same and will love searching the animals hiding in the page! Each page features a hidden animal and provides several facts about the animal. This simple book is ideal for children ages two to six.

Explore My World: Nighttime National Geographic Kids

Photography from National Geographic is on full display in this book. With these amazing images and simple facts about nocturnal animals, this book explores stars, the moon, owls, bats, hedgehogs, and several other interesting creatures. It’s an easy read, perfect for beginning readers in kindergarten and first grade.

The Night Flower Lara Hawthorne

Adults and children will enjoy learning about a very special flower in this book. The saguaro cactus is a desert flower that only blooms on a single night each year. Although short lived, its scent is strong enough to attract bats, doves, moths, and other creatures. Vibrant illustrations accompany descriptions of the variety of plants and animals living alongside the saguaro in the desert. This non-fiction book appeals to any elementary-aged child.

Night Animals Gianna Marino

Show children the silly side of the night with this tale of a possum and his nighttime friends. The possum is afraid of the "night animals," but his friends are finally able to convince him there’s nothing to worry about. You will love seeing the detailed illustrations standing out from the stark black background and the hilarious story will keep little ones laughing until the last page. A great read-aloud book for preschool children.

Night Animals Need Sleep Too Gianna Marino

In Gianna Marion’s sequel to Night Animals, it’s daytime and all the other nocturnal animals have already gone to bed. Possum needs his sleep, but he can’t find anywhere to lay down his tired body. Go along with the little guy as he tries to find a nice dark space to curl up in. He will have lots of funny run-ins with the other night creatures during his search. Preschool children are sure to appreciate the laugh-out-loud humor in this book!

Who’s Who in the Woods? A Pop-Up Mystery Eryl Norris and Andy Mansfield

A pop-up book that’s just the right size for preschoolers! The black-and-white illustrations will catch your children’s attention and the mysterious googly eyes on each page will keep them guessing until the end of the book. Several nocturnal animals make an appearance in this book: an owl, a bat, a bear, a wolf, and more. It’s a simple book that makes it easy to introduce nighttime animals to your children.

Fox Explores the Night Martin Jenkins

Not only does this book introduce another nocturnal creature to children, it’s also packed with information that describes the scientific concepts of light and dark. Children will join a fox as she waits for the sun to go down and then begins her adventure into the dark night. The fox will explore shadows, reflections, transparency, the sun, and the moon on her journey. The words are easy enough for a 2nd grader to read, but even younger children will understand the basic concepts introduced by this book.

Touch and Explore: Animals at Night Pascale Hedelin

This touch-and-feel book is perfect for pre-readers. Little ones can feel the fur of the red fox, the feathers of an owl, and the bumpy skin of a toad. Plus, the book is full of information about these creatures, written in a kid-friendly way that even three-year-olds can understand. This book is part of a series. Other books include Baby Animals, Jungle, and Dinosaurs.

Where Are the Night Animals? Mary Ann Fraser

This level one book is great for early elementary children to read alongside their parents. While children can do most of the reading, you can sit close beside them to give more details about the topics of the book. They’ll learn about diurnal and nocturnal creatures, and find out interesting tidbits about some specific animals.

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