Best Bedtime Stories for Kids

The best time for most families to build a reading routine is right before bed. Reading not only provides a safe and comfortable place for parents and kids to engage in conversation, but reading calms the mind, soothes the heart, and whispers to the body to rest.

What you read before bed isn’t too important, but I’ve learned a few tips in my parenting years that will make for a smoother transition to bed.

Three Tips for Smoother Bedtime Reading

Dark night
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  1. No Scary Stuff. My son loved the book a Dark Night by Dorothee De Monfried  . Regardless of how much he loved this book, it was a daytime book because what kid wants to read a book about dark scary noises in the night, right before bed?
  2. Keep the Screaming to a minimum. This might not be the time for Marvin K. Mooney will you please go now.  But maybe you will be lucky and your kid won’t continue screaming the phrase long after lights out.
  3. No Disney Movie book stories. I don’t know how many times my kids would hand me one of the movie books, knowing that I couldn’t skip pages drawing out bedtime until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Keep stories long enough to engage with your child, but not so long they will be tucking you into bed.

Building Future Reader’s Top Five Bedtime Reads:

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  1. Roar of a Snore by Marsha Diane Arnold. Dial Books for Young Readers ,2005.Who is snoring so loud and is there any place where the sound won’t keep our protagonist awake? Solve this mystery while sharing rhymes, giggles and rich language.

Roar of a Snore

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2. Bear Can’t Sleep by Karma Wilson. Margaret K. McElderberry Books, 2018. Bears sleep in the winter, so why can’t this bear find any zzzz’s. Your child love joining in with the refrain and thinking up solutions to bear’s insomnia.

Bear Can't Sleep

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3. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. Philomel Books, 1987.  If your child likes longer books, this soft quite read will have the room on the edge of their bed waiting to see if the child and father spot a moon on this dark night. Beautiful picture and sophisticated text make this award winning book a classic.

owl moon

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4. Moongame by Frank Asch. Aladdin, reissued 2014. Frank Asch gets kids. He knows what they like and how to talk with them so they don’t feel talked down to. Moonbear can’t find his friend the Moon and he is worried he’s lost his friend. A great discussion starter about the moon and where it is, and whether or not it really moves in the sky.

5. Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasam. Viking Books for Young Readers, First edition, 2011. Little owl wonders if the day is as sweet and fun as the night. A great book for those curious children who would like to test the boundaries of their endurance and your patience as the plead to stay up all night like Little Owl.

little owls night

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See my board on Pinterest

What are your top bedtime reads?

Happy Reading

Mini Book Reviews

Books, books and more books! I love receiving advanced reader copies of upcoming titles. Through NetGalley, I am able to request books that look interesting and if approved I receive an electronic copy for feedback and reviews. Not only do I get to see what is coming out, I get to let my readers know what books to look out for.

Introducing the Spring 2019 line-up. Stay tuned for more reviews.

I am an amazon affiliate, if you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.

Read the reviews and help out the authors by pre-ordering if you plan to make a purchase.

Spring 2019

Backpack Explorer Beach Walk. Edited by Storey Publishing. Published on April 16, 2019. I enjoyed the photographs and the child led exploration. This would be a great book to accompany a beach vacation to enrich the time. Or, if it is still cold outside, curl up next to the fire and read this book and dream of warmer days. There are stickers in this book, so best for older children.

Love you Head to Toe. Ashley Barron. Owlkids. Published on March 15, 2019. Lyrical text, simple and gorgeous illustrations, and actions that fit perfectly with the words. A great book for babies and toddlers. Parents of infants can use the rhyming text during diaper changes, on a walk, at the pool or any daily routine. For toddlers this is a great way to connect them to the greater world by acting out the different animals.


When You’re Scared. Andree Poulin. Illustrated by Veronique Joffre. Owlkids Books, Published March 15, 2019. A great book to help explore emotions. A boy and his mother go camping and he is afraid to jump into the water. At the same time, a bear cub is scared to go dive in the dumpster for food. The boy puts aside his fears to help out a friend in need. Beautiful illustrations and scarce text make for enriched narrative skills and vocabulary with each retelling.


Red Light, Green Lion. Candace Ryan. Kids Can Press. Published on May 07, 2019. The illustrations in this book are simple yet bold. They follow the text well and enhance the reading. The text is lyrical and rhythmic. There are pages that young listeners will understand and more abstract pages that might be confusing. The sentiments of the story are lovely and for the most impact I would share this with older preschoolers who are ready to tackle abstract thoughts.

Must Read Fall Books

Summer may technically be around for a few more weeks, but every year when the calendar hits August, I slip into fall mode. The days are shorter, the cicadas hum their loud tune and school buses fill the streets. Seasons, for me, have never been about the meteorological changes but the rhythm of life. Spring is new life, awakenings, possibilities. Summer is all about relaxation, warmth, resting and reading in the sun. Winter is blazing fires, cozy sweaters, hot chocolate and togetherness.

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Fall has always been about new beginnings. I haven’t been in a classroom myself for well over 20 years, but Fall always makes me yearn for new notebooks, fresh pencils, and fun lunchboxes. Enthusiasm for whatever work I do is at an all time high. I am excited and full of energy.

Since I started my job as a literacy specialist last year, fall brings with it new pre-k classrooms and new students to introduce to a love of reading.

My first unit this calendar year is all about autumn. These happen to be some of my favorite books because they are colorful and full of unique words and routines familiar to most children. As I was preparing for the upcoming story times I had a chance to look at some of the new books out there about fall.

What to read next

FOUR FALL MUST READS

I am an Amazon Affiliate. I am not paid for my reviews or to endorse any particular book. However, if you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.

 

This book caught my eye, not only for the illustrations, but the diversity of children and town portrayed. It is important for all kids to see themselves in the pages of the books they read and this book is a great way to explore the themes of fall while building story interest with familiar images.

 

 

Henkes will be a familiar name for most readers. He has written some of my own children’s favorite stories. His illustrations are always simple and attractive and his beautiful use of language will help learns discover new words to use.

 

 

 

 

 

This book came out a few years ago, but when I saw it while browsing the shelves of the library, I was immediately drawn to the illustrations. Again, the children who are on the pages of the book are diverse. The language is fresh and unique. Her use of yellow unifies the pictures of the book and make it art as well as literature.

 

 

 

 

 

Published last year, Full of Fall is a book I love to share with kids. Real photographs capture the children’s attention. At the preschool level kids are more about concrete ideas than abstract. When a picture book uses photographs instead of illustrations, we often spend more time talking about the pages. Photos have a depth, that no matter the illustration, inspires our young learners. The text also makes use of alliteration which not only makes the book a more interesting read a loud, but it helps kids hear the different sounds that make up the words they will learn to read.

 

I hope you are as excited about fall as I am. Take time out of your day to crunch through the leaves, take a hike through the colorful forests, go apple picking, and find a farm that provides hay rides and other fall activities. Research shows that along with reading, singing and playing are just more important in our children’s development than the scheduled activities we sign them up for.

While the rest of the country submerges itself in pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween decor and football start a new fall routine and include great autumn books.

If you are looking for more books about fall please contact me at jes@jeszsmith.com !

Happy Reading

2017 in Review

Christmas 2017

There are always so many good books out there to review! And so many that form a solid base for your child’s future reading. This Christmas don’t forget to gift books!

Visit my Pinterest page below and the Building Future Readers blog to get a great list of suggestions from the past year’s reviews.

What books will you add to your shopping list this season?Happy Reading

Book Reviews of 2016

The blog turns two in January. I have loved reviewing books and helping parents and children connect over reading. I hope this blog has encouraged your family to add a reading routine in your busy schedule.

In our family, books are always included in holiday gift-giving, birthdays and more. Finding quality and fun books can be a daunting task, so I’ve made it as easy as possible. I have created a section on my Building Future Readers Blog Board that will highlight the book reviews for each year.

Visit my pinterest page and follow to find the best books of the past two years on Building Future Readers.

First up is Picture Book Reviews from 2016

 

Did you have a favorite book from that year? Share in the comments below.

Happy Reading

 

Upcoming Releases I look Forward to Reading

The one part of library work I miss the most is getting my hands on brand new books. It takes a lot more effort to keep on top of upcoming releases. Publications for publishers help, Amazon and others, but it isn’t the same as getting my hands on the books and flipping through them.

That being said, there are several book releases in the next several months that I can’t wait to read. I hope the list inspires you for your upcoming holiday shopping for the little readers in your life.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the picture provided it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

I love this series. It highlights so many diverse historical figures in an approachable way. A great way to introduce your young reader to nonfiction. Available on 1/16/2018

 

 

 

We all need space to calm our minds and bodies and I love having a resource guide that children will enjoy and relate to. This would make a great holiday gift! Available on 12/05/2017

 

 

 

The title and cover attracted me to this book. Another great holiday gift idea for the girls and boys in your life! Available 12/05/2017

 

 

 

 

I know Matt De La Pena’s work as a young adult writer and I was excited to see that he has written a picture book to introduce new readers to his body of work. Available 1/09/2018.

 

 

 

Fairly sure Sandra Boyton never goes out of style. My kids ADORED her books throughout their baby and preschool years. This makes a perfect gift for the holidays or buy for a long Thanksgiving road trip to grandmother’s house. Available 11/17/2017.

 

 

As a librarian in an inner city neighborhood I always struggled to find books with diverse characters. I appreciate that more books are being published and hope the it continues. This is a book that all kids will relate to. Another great holiday gift idea! Available 11/21/2017.

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love Click, Clack, Moo? Another collaboration from Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin sure to bring smiles and laughs to your child’s face. Available 12/5/2017.

 

 

 

There have been a lot of news articles and blog posts about teaching our kids grit. I love this series of books from Cloverleaf that teach life skills outside what was available when I was a kid like sharing, lying, kindness. A book that will help our youngest leaders build confidence and self esteem in a healthy way. Available 1/1/2018.

 

 

What books are you looking forward to reading this winter?

Happy Reading

May Toddler Reading List

 

6prereadingskills

Board Books are perfect for toddlers. With heavy pages, the children can flip through the book independently. The text is simple, rhyming and full of new vocabulary words. The pictures are engaging and the books are the perfect size to take with you anywhere you go.

Look for books that:

  • Have fun rhymes
  • Phrases easy to repeat
  • Real faces and animals
  • Shapes and Numbers
  • Feelings

Below is a PDF of board books toddlers love. Print it out and take it with you to the library or bookstore!

Toddler Take Me to the Library Reading List

May’s Baby Reading List

6prereadingskills

 

 

It is never to early to start reading to your child

Baby’s first books are often vocabulary books, nursery rhymes and songs. Babies are sponges for language at this age and it becomes a cornerstone of future reading success. Look for books that have simple pictures, contrasting colors, and real pictures of faces and animals. Touch and feel books or any book with texture is a perfect pick for babies.

One or two words per page and simple songs will keep your child engaged and interactive which not only builds language but develops a lifelong reading habit. Allow the child to hold the books and explore. Yes, the book will often end up in their mouth because that is how babies explore!

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Look for books that:

  • Have real faces, animals, objects. Babies react more to real faces at this stage of development.
  • Textured books. Babies explore with their senses. Find books that are not only heavy cardboard, but cloth and other textured materials.
  • Simple one or two word sentences with simple pictures. These types of books help build vocabulary which future readers need a large base for school reading success!

I have put together a PDF of suggested board books that will engage your baby. Print it out and take it along with you to the library or bookstore. In addition, many libraries have parent packs with puppets and age appropriate toys to help dive deeper into reading. Also look for baby storytimes and play and learn centers for parent/child focused time.

Baby Take Me to the Library Reading List

 

Happy Reading!!

 

May’s Preschool Reading List

No substitute for booksHeading to the library and don’t know what to look for?

Below is a printable PDF that you can take to the library with you. These books are books that my own children devoured or were huge hits at the library storytimes. Also included are music cd’s and magazines that will build literacy while having fun together. Each book listed will have the pre-literacy skills that are strongest in the book. Take this list with you to discover new books together.

This week’s list is for preschoolers. Next week look for board books and picture books for toddlers and the last week of May will be board books for babies.

Enjoy the list and feel free to share with the other parents you know.

Preschool take me to the library reading list

 

Happy Reading!!