Best Bedtime Books

Dreamy Bedtime Books

Dream Animals A Bedtime Journey by Emily Windfield Martin 

We love the dream world created by Emily Windfield Martin in this book. The word choice makes me smile, and I LOVE the illustrations. This author is my go-to for gifts for young readers and new parents. Every single book she has published, my children and I love reading over and over again.

This book tells the tale of how dreamers get to their dreams at night. This rhyming story weaves a fantasy about the different creatures that get you on your nightly adventures in Dreamland. My daughter’s favorite page is the wordless mermaid page. We love pausing, and she points out little details found in the illustrations. I love pointing out the words that rhyme. For example, “When night replaces day, Your furred, or finned, or feathered friend Will surely know the way” (Winfield Martin, Dream Animals).

The Classic Bedtime Story

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I read this book with my mom as a child, so I love reading it to my children now.

Goodnight Moon has helped lull children asleep for decades. It follows a bunny getting ready for bed. The rhyme of this story says goodnight to all the items in the bedroom, even the “comb, brush, and a bowl full of mush” (Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown).

Feelings & Emotional Bedtime Books

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Illustrated by Cyd Moore

Another book I cried reading the first time! I gift this book almost as much as The Wonderful Things You Will Be. Our copy of the book is practically dissolved since we have been reading it daily for four years. My daughter reads it to herself in bed since she has memorized it.

The connection between the child and the mother in this book is heartwarming, and it a great discussion starter for us. My daughter would ask, “But mommy will you love me if I was a pink unicorn?” And other silly, funny things. My daughter also loves seeing the child in matching pj’s to the characters he imagines. This book has helped develop my daughter’s vocabulary and how she talks about books greatly.

I’ll Hug You More by Laura Duksta

I’ll Hug You More is my daughter’s favorite book and has helped her learn some sight words. I didn’t like this book the first few times I read it, but I kept going because my daughter loved it so much.

Now I see the appeal. It’s a fun book for children because it has a middle page that you flip and then start the story again but from the child’s perspective. We love the contrast from what the parent says compared to the child.

The Wonderful Things you Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

A tearjerker of a book! My best friend gifted me this book when I was pregnant with my first child and when I read it to my newborn baby, my eyes would NOT stop leaking! It was like an ugly cry that you have to hold yourself back from really wailing, and it was that good! It is the most incredible story about accepting your child as they age and finding who they want to be as they grow. I have bought this book as a gift for family & friends that have had a baby in the last few years.

My daughter loves the fold-out page showing multiple children dressed up as different characters. My favorite page is the last; oh my, it gets me emotional in all the best ways! 

Sloth & Smell the Roses by Hello!Lucky

Sloth & Smell the Roses is one of my daughter’s favorite books. She chooses this book almost every night. We read the book together, and I have her point out sight words from the book. Her favorite is to read out the little phrases the animals in the books say in speech bubbles. The message about relaxing and being more mindful has helped at bedtime. She loves reading the second page with me, and follow the steps that “Mo” the sloth explains helps her be more mindful.

I Love You Like No Otter by Rose Rossner & Sydney Hanson

This sweet board book is filled with puns about how much parents love their children.

Bath time Bedtime Book

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood & Don Wood

We love reading this book, especially right after bath time, as part of our bedtime routine. This story is a funny tale about King Bidgood that refuses to get out of the bathtub. The book transitions from morning to night, with the king unwilling to leave the fun of the bubbly tub. My kids giggle every time we get to the last page, and the tub plug is pulled. The use of onomatopoeia is perfect for young readers to repeat as they read. We have memorized this story since we have read it so much.

Teachable Moments at Bedtime Books

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi and Lorena Alvarez

This story brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it to my daughter. She was struggling when things would get hard and say she would give up. I bought this book after seeing a post from @AngelaDiTerlizzi talk about her new book. As I read the book to my daughter, she kept making connections to the character in the book. My little one loved trying to find the magical yet in the illustrations on each page, “Mommy, did you see- she has her Yet with her.”

The rhymes in this book are brightly used to smoothly flow from one example of riding a bike to painting and dancing.
My daughter’s favorite part is the ending when you see the girl grown-up, with accomplishments on her wall, and still has the magical Yet at her side.
I find reading books at bedtime to almost be like mini-lesson time for my daughter and me. I love reading a good bedtime story that has a vital life lesson weaved into the plot. It makes for a seamless transition to talking about more prominent themes that she may have struggled with during the day. This is when I weave in ideas I get from listening to @DrBecky_GoodInside Podcasts.

Please Mr. Panda by Steve Anthony

I know this isn’t a familiar bedtime story, but there is something about weaving in skills, like manners we want our children to learn with bedtime discussions. I first read Please Mr. Panda to my children for that reason. We continued to read it often at bedtime because of how sweet, simple, and short this story is. Which is everything you need and want for a bedtime story.

This book is about a Panda trying to give away a donut to anyone who would like one. Yet he says, “No, you may not have a donut” to each person he meets. Then he finds a very polite animal that finally states the magic word that changes everything.

Countdown to Bedtime Book

Ten Minutes to Bed Little Mermaid by Rhiannon Fielding & Chris Chatterton

The book begins with a map of the land of Nod, showing an overview of places we will explore in the story. The mermaid castle is made of pink shells with sea life swirling all around. We paused on this beginning page to count fish and circles found in this opening illustration. The story rhymes as we countdown the last ten-minutes before bedtime for the merchildren in this tale.

We follow Splash, the mermaid as she explores the wonders of the underwater world before bedtime. She dives with dolphins, watched crabs clack their claws, and even got tired with turtles as they bobbed by the bay. The alliteration of this book is perfect for young readers to listen and point out. The page when Splash has five-minutes before bed has a rainbow of colorful fish that is perfect for identifying colors and counting more than fifteen.

The colors in this book begin to darken as bedtime gets closer for the little mermaid until finally she is safely back at her home just in time to sleep. The map of the land of Nod is now dark, and ready to sleep at the end of this colorful and adventurous bedtime book.

Napping Book, Not Just for Bedtime Reading 

The Napping House by Audrey Wood and Don Wood 

The little boy in the book tries to nap with his grandmother and pets in this sweet pattern story by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood.

I used this book when I worked with kindergarteners over a decade ago and still have 3-4 copies of the book all around my house now for my kids. The foreshadowing elements found in the illustrations make for a fun activity for your children to try and discover on each page. We talk about predicting what will happen next based on those clues the Wood’s hid on each page. I use to use this book to teach sequence of events and recalling events in a story. But it is also perfect for a fun bedtime book.

Thank you for visiting Live Learn Literacy! I hope you found these book ideas helpful.

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