The Dark by Lemony Snicket, Ill. by Jon Klassen

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, Ill. by Jon Klassen

2013 SnicketKlassen

Publishing: Little, Brown, & Company, New York, 2013

Description: Laszlo is afraid of the dark, but the dark is not afraid of Laszlo. One night, when the light is out in his bedroom, Laszlo must face his fears and visit the dark in the basement, where he finds a lightbulb. After facing his fears, the dark does not bother him anymore.

Programming: If students are old enough, discussing the personification of the dark throughout the book would be a nice tie-in to language and literature. If not, students might discuss their own fears and how they overcome them.

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully


Publishing: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1992

Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner

Description: Mirette lives in a boarding house where all of the great performers come to stay. When a mysterious man appears and walks on a tightrope in the courtyard, she wants to be just like him. She practices on his wire when he is not around, and then he teaches her. She finds out, however, that he is the Great Bellini and that fear has stopped him from performing. She confronts him about it and he decides to try again, but this time she steps out on the wire with him and they begin performing as a duo.

Programming: In this story, Mirette is able to befriend the Great Bellini and help him to overcome his fear. This would be a good place for a team building exercise or the class could read other stories about friends helping each other overcome fears.

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold


Publishing: Templar Books (Candlewick Press), 2011.

Description: The Hope family is going about their normal day when they see a giant black dog outside. Each member spies it individually, and each time the description makes the dog larger and larger. Finally, the littlest Hope child-Small (for short), goes out and confronts the dog, eventually bringing it back in as a normal dog.

Programming: Before reading I would have students talk about what they are afraid of and why. After they can reflect on Small’s reaction to the dog and her leading her family to conquer their fear of the dog.


Note: illustrations are painted with tempera according to this website-