For billions of years, all life has relied on Earth’s predictable rhythm of day and night. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night.  In a world marred by light pollution, this quest for true darkness is a clarion call to turn out the lights—so that all may see.


Creatures search for Night in this story about the negative effects of light pollution.


Marsha Diane Arnold – Author
Susan Reagan – Illustrator

In the coastal town where they live, Fox and Beetle see an abundance of artificial light and set out to search for “the Dark of Night.” Instead, they find electric lights everywhere, ones that confuse Songbird, silence Frog, and disturb Bear’s hibernation.

Each of these creatures joins Fox and Beetle on their journey into new terrains, including mountains, deserts, and dunes, but all are still dominated by electric lights. When they come upon baby turtles hatching on the shore, the creatures decide to swim to a small island. Finally, they see the natural nighttime light they crave.

Where is Darkness?
Where is Night,
where coyotes sing,
owls hunt, and
birds fly across
where foxes move
through the dark
and beetles are more
than beetles?

Fox and Beetle
if Night is only lost.
Out there.

And so, together,
they set out.
Across the wide,
wide world,
they search
for the Dark of Night.

Lights Out




 Lights Out: Research Cards

This activity provides families with six Research Cards to explore the effect of light pollution on the animals featured in this book and on humans. There is a brief paragraph to get you started and a place for your own questions and research. Are you curious about other animals? The activity also provides a blank Research Card to record those explorations.


Nocturnal Animals in Our Backyard:  Owls, Deer, Foxes, Bats, Raccoons, Opossums, Coyotes, Bears, Mountain Lions, Skunks



Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry with a very specific structure.
The first line has 5 syllables.
The second line has 7 syllables.
The last line has 5 syllables. Traditionally, haikus are written about nature.


Write a haiku about one of the animals in Lights Out. It can be about their journey or light pollution or simply about the animal.
This is the first page of the Lights Out story.

Little Fox peeks out from her den.
Beetle flits above her.
“Lights Out!” she barks.
But the lights stay on. 

Count the syllables of each line.
Which of the four lines could be part of a haiku poem?
Could you add or subtract a word to the other three lines to make them have the right number of syllables for a haiku poem?




Our Nocturnal Friends

Darkest time of night
Is when they have best eyesight
Remember, lights out!