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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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.

Top Books to Read with Toddlers this Summer

Reading 20 minutes a day is critical. Especially during the toddler years. It may be hard to get a toddler to sit still for a full 20 minutes, so break up reading throughout the day. Remember even if they are doing something else they are still listening. So grab a book and read while they play or while you wait at an appointment or for a break at the park.

Books should only have a few lines per page. Even basic board books are a great read for this age. Choose short rhyming stories about familiar routines. Books about shapes, counting and feelings will help build basic vocabulary and help your child identify the world around him. Find books with bright simple pictures. Talk about the books you read to help draw the connections in the book.

Toddlers love to learn and you are the perfect teacher!

TOP 8 BOOKS TO READ WITH TODDLERS TODAY:

  1. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont, Harcourt, Inc., 2005. Rhyming, colors, singing this book has it all. The text can be read or sung to the tune of (It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more.) A mother warns her son to stop painting and he wants to listen but he just can’t help painting. EVERYTHING! The book builds vocabulary, increases phonological awareness and  a book kids will return to time and time again.
  2. Move Over, Rover. Karen Beaumont, Harcourt, Inc., 2006. Another picture book win for author Karen Beaumont. Great pictures, unique words, fun rhymes, and a strong narrative make this a great book for toddlers. Find out what happens when a dog has to share his doghouse with animals escaping the rain. Until a very unwelcome guest arrives.
  3. One Hot Summer Day. Nina Crews. Greenwillow Books, 1995. (DIVERSE BOOK) Crews is a master of photography and text. In this book a young girl finds a fun time despite the summer heat. The familiar routine of summer play and the basic text will attract the youngest readers. It builds vocabulary, narrative skills, and will motivate readers to come back to the book again and again.
  4. Hickory Dickory Dock. Keith Baker. Harcourt, Inc. 2007. Familiar nursery rhymes help build phonological awareness. The repetition of sounds and the ability to sing along with the book make this a great choice for young listeners. They will learn counting and time, hear unique words, and be able to participate fully in the story.
  5. Counting Kisses. Karen Katz. Margaret K McElderry Books. 2001. Katz is known for her gentle illustrations, showing love between parents and children all while introducing vocabulary, counting, shapes, and everyday routines. Counting Kisses is a simple story of a child waking and a family sharing kisses throughout the day. Letter awareness and vocabulary are built with each reading.
  6. The Very Busy Spider. Eric Carle. Philomel Books, 1984. Carle’s books are classics. This story is about a spider who works hard all day while ignoring the pleas of the other animals on the farm to come and play. Children will learn animal names and sounds through this book. The illustrations, which Carle is known for, are simple, bright and inviting.
  7. Ten, Nine Eight. Molly Bang. Greenwillow Books, 1983. (DIVERSE BOOK) This Caldecott Honor book helps all children get ready for bed by counting its way through evening routines. Letter Awareness, Vocabulary and Print Motivation are strong in this goodnight story.
  8. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? Bill Martin Jr. Eric Carle. Henry Holt and Company, 1991. Martin and Carle team up again in this book describing the sounds of different animals they will find at the zoo. Using Carle’s signature bright simple illustrations and Martin’s simple lyrical text. This is a book you will read again and again. It builds vocabulary, phonological awareness, and narrative skills.

Find the books at Amazon:

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