Best Bedtime Books for Children of all Ages
The books on our list of best bedtime books are imaginative, fun, warm, and inspiring. They are sure to make bedtime reading a joy to look forward to and a perfect ending to the day. Once upon a time, bedtime stories were just “Once Upon a Time“ stories. But this nightly ritual has evolved into a whole variety of engaging and interactive bedtime experiences.
Best Bedtime Books for Newborns – Age 2
Nighty-Night, by Leslie Patricelli. Cute as can be, with adorable Patricelli illustrations, baby goes through the typical bedtime routine. Parents and little ones will relate to each step, and the playful descriptions will encourage kiddos to chime right in.
Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton. Such a jolly pajama party with Boynton’s lovable animal characters, kids will want to join in the fun. Rhyming verse and interactive text make this book a great incentive to put on those PJ’s and get into bed.
Best Bedtime Books for Ages 2 – 5
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker. Truck fans will love this bedtime story about all of their favorite trucks finishing up the day’s work and getting tucked in for the night. Rhyming text with opportunities for child interaction as little ones learn to recognize and name the different trucks.
Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, (A Dinosaur vs. Book), by Bob Shea. Super cute story, with comical illustrations and simple text about the many different challenges dinosaur faces and wins with a roar, until he’s up against his biggest challenge: bedtime! A quick, interactive, and humorous goodnight send-off.
Shhh! This Book is Sleeping, by Cedric Ramadier. A wonderfully imaginative bedtime book, pretending the reader is putting the book to bed. With simple text, children will love reading this book and taking on the parental role.
Goodnight Mr. Panda, by Steve Antony. Mr. Panda and his animal friends go about their bedtime routines as Mr. Panda reminds them about what they have forgotten to do. But even Mr. Panda can be forgetful as his lemur pal humorously discovers at the end. With colorful and cute illustrations, a great read for little ones and especially for fans of Mr. Panda books.
10 Minutes till Bedtime, by Peggy Rathmann. From the author of Goodnight Gorilla, a fun and imaginative story about a boy who spends 10 minutes before bedtime each night engaged in activities with a lively family of hamsters. With minimal text and numbers counting down to bedtime, kids will enjoy discovering the many details in the illustrations, and fans of Goodnight Gorilla, might even find some familiar animal friends.
Best Bedtime Books for Ages 5 – 8
How do Dinosaurs say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. Perfect for dinosaur fans and fans of Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs series. Engaging, rhyming questions about dinosaurs’ bad behavior at bedtime, along with big, beautiful illustrations, make this amusing and interactive read aloud a bedtime favorite.
Check out a fun strategy to use with this book! Pro tip: Play Shaving Cream letters the next day as a great follow up to a bedtime story. This activity can get messy, so you won’t want to do it right before bed.
Goodnight Already, by Jory John. Whimsical illustrations add extra humor to this fun bedtime book about an energetic duck who wants to hang out with his sleepy neighbor, Bear, who is already tucked in bed. Duck’s persistence and Bear’s responses will surely be relatable to parents and provide lots of laughs for everyone.
There’s a Nightmare in my Closet, by Mercer Mayer. Over 50 years as a classic, and it still holds up to more contemporary books. It’s about a boy who thinks there’s a monster in his closet and one night, he confronts the monster, only to discover that his nighttime fear was not so frightening after all.
Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t do Bedtime, by Cate Berry. Super funny, “anti-bedtime” story, about Penguin and Tiny Shrimp and their declaration that they don’t do bedtime. They take part in all kinds of exciting, stay-awake adventures, until finally, as their energy fades, they crawl into bed. A definite winner for an engaging bedtime story.
Don’t Blink, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Fun and interactive bedtime book that challenges readers to avoid bedtime by not blinking. The rules are simple: if you blink, you must turn the page, and when the pages run out, it’s bedtime. Clever text and playful illustrations. Another creative work by my favorite children’s book author.
Tomorrow I’ll be Brave, Jessica Hische. Beautiful graphics by letter artist, Hische, in this very special bedtime book that encourages kids to try new things tomorrow. The message is clear: be brave, curious, adventurous, etc., but if not, that’s okay, too, because there’s always another day to try again. Positive and uplifting, a warm and inspiring bedtime read aloud.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late, by Mo Willems. A hilarious read aloud about the audacious pigeon who doesn’t want to go to sleep, and the bus driver who asks the reader to make sure he does. Whether you’re new to Mo Willems’ books or a dedicated fan, this one will not disappoint.
Learn more about the Pigeon and author, Mo Willems on his entertaining blog.
My Dad is Big and Strong, But . . . : A Bedtime Story, by Coralie Saudo. A quirky, laugh-out-loud book, about a boy trying to put his dad to bed in a unique role-reversal story. Illustrations and graphics are extremely amusing and the story is warm-hearted and filled with humor. An engaging bedtime read aloud for kids of all ages.
Tonight, countdown to bedtime, put on your reading PJ‘s, cuddle up with your little loves, and savor the special bonding these bedtime stories guarantee.
Get your Reading Boots on and enjoy the zzz’s!