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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Into the Land of Nod

Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, presents some books that just might get your kids to sleep before midnight this summer. No guarantees.

‘Tis the season of overnight camps, slumber party invites, rebellious summer bedtimers. My favourite thing to do with nine-year-olds is to turn out the lights and read scary stories. The kind that end with a spook: “I’m coming for YOU!!!”, as I leap toward a listener in the front row. One year, after a few flashlight sessions, a parent came in to tell me his son was having nightmares, and that each night they lined up a variety of toy weapons (a plastic sword, a water pistol) by his bed. The father then asked for advice about fear of sleep, which, in retrospect, was his way of asking me to quit reading those stories.

The true antidote to sleep anxiety is, of course, great books. Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel at Night comes to mind. The neurotic rodent also makes a list of objects needed to face bad dreams, including a fan to blow away ghosts, a banana peel to slip up monsters. Bonus: the kid-friendly section on the benefits of a good night’s sleep, i.e., increased brain power (see well-rested Scaredy Squirrel proudly present his completed Rubik’s cube).

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