Last week, we set our clocks back an hour and our days got shorter and the nights longer. Although it gets dark early now, it also gives us the opportunity to appreciate the world after dark. Here are just a few books recommended by our Outreach Coordinator, Leena Desai, which celebrate the complexities of the world at night. 

In the Dark by Lisa Deresti Betik, illustrated by Josh Holinaty

If you ever wanted to know what the natural world is up to at night and what happens to us when we fall asleep, this book gives us “the science of what happens at night.” We are aware of some things such as the fact that nocturnal animals hunt for food at night and that our own bodies and brains keep working when we’re asleep to keep us healthy; but did you know that plants are using math to conserve their overnight energy or that there are some flowers that bloom in the moonlight? Author Lisa Deresti Betik crams fascinating information such as this in In the Dark, and the striking illustrations by Josh Holinaty make us further appreciate the complex goings-on in the natural world at night: from the animals that are most active at that time to the celestial bodies in our galaxy that shine the brightest at night. This is a beautiful book that covers multiple STEM topics and has direct curriculum links in earth science, life science and physical science. Grades 3-7

In the Sky at Nighttime by Laura Deal, illustrated by Tamara Campeau

Inhabit Media, the Inuit-owned publishing firm based in Nunavut, brings us this book that paints the sights and sounds of a winter night in the Canadian Arctic. Gorgeously illustrated in full colour, this book is a lyrical poem about the northern lights that dance at night, a mother’s song that sways on the breeze, a hunter that returns home at night, and a raven that roosts atop a tall building, bathed in the light of the moon. Rooted in both the ordinary and the magical, In the Sky at Nighttime is an homage to the Arctic night sky and the unique beauty that can only be witnessed in a Northern night. Grades Preschool

If You Were Night by Muon Thi Van, illustrated by Kelly Pousette

Acclaimed illustrator Kelly Pousette is famous for her intricate paper-cut dioramas that often depict woodland creatures and the natural world around her. In If You Were Night, she collaborates with award-winning author Muon Thi Van to celebrate the natural world at nighttime. The dreamlike picture book poses many questions to the reader: if you were night, what would you do? If you saw the moon tiptoe past your window, would you nestle under the covers? Or would you step outside to follow it? What if you felt a tail brush your ankle, would you freeze? Or skitter away? And if you saw an owl swoop from a branch, would you hide? Or join the hunt? All the while, the child pictured in the book chooses adventure, and thrillingly experiences a night like no other. If You Were Night is a lyrical and evocative exploration of the natural world at night. Pousette’s dioramas, presented with shadows and darkness falling around them, are packed with charming details for children to investigate, while they also gain a new appreciation for the night and are curious to learn more about the world around them. Grades Preschool-2