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My Favorite Bedtime Books

bedtime books

Is there anything better than snuggling up with your toddler and a bedtime book after a busy day? It’s extra nice if that toddler is freshly bathed with damp hair.

These are ten of my favorites bedtime books, with a mix of old classics and newer titles.

bedtime books

bedtime books

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Brown Wise, illustrated by Clement Hurd – The ultimate classic for bedtime stories.




Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann – The zookeeper is locking up for the night, not realizing all his charges are following him home to sleep in his room.




Free Fall by David Wiesner – A beautiful wordless book where the details of a little boy’s room morph into his dreams.




The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska – A crew of sweet animals list off all the different kinds of quiet, from “first look at your new haircut quiet” to “sleeping sister quiet.”




Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherry Dusker Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld – All the construction vehicles reflect on the day’s activities before settling into their soft dirt beds.




Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee – Stars are everywhere, from a magic wand to strawberry plants before the fruit appears. And, of course, in the sky.




Counting Kisses by Karen Katz – Starting at ten kisses and working down to one, a family puts their sleepy baby to bed with kisses from head to toe.




Piggies by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood – Hilariously detailed illustrations of piggies doing various activities on chubby toddler hands, eventually ending with goodnight kisses.




The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes – A recent Caldecott winner done in black, white, and gold scratchboard – gorgeous!




A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na – The owl watches other animals sleep the night away, and when they wake up, he’s just drifting off.




And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

What are your favorite bedtime books for little ones?

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  1. we love How Do You Sleep by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud. cute rhymes and gorgeous illustrations. thanks for these bedtime ideas!

  2. I'm not a big Goodnight Moon fan, but I love Good Night, Gorilla, and my kids did too. Such a cute book. Our board book ended up falling apart because it was read so often. My kids are big animal fans so they gravitate towards those type of books.

  3. I love Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late. Pigeon comes up with the same excuses the girls do. It's lovely to hear the girls tell Pigeon "no!"

  4. Thanks for the list!! We've read Goodnight Moon, The House in the Night, and Piggies (and LOVE all three) but we've never read the others. We'll have to check them out tomorrow at storytime 🙂

  5. We currently have Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, and I have read it no less than a billion times. Funny that we never read books designed for sleep preparation during our quiet time.

  6. You Are My I Love You is one of my favorites though right now it's a little too long for her to sit through. Also adore It's Time to Sleep My Love and The Night You Were Born. But really, Elle wants to be read Barnyard Dance no matter what time it is.

  7. I love, love getting these recommendations! I usually go straight to my library website and request a bundle of books based on your lists. They are usually available (no holds) – but browsing through the shelves it's so hard to find the good ones to pick out. And inevitably if I pull random books from the library shelves, Genghis picks the most inane one to be his favorite for the week.

    Here's a recommendation, opposite of goodnight books. It's called Dawn by Uri Shulevitz. It is a beautiful book, just the right read-to level for 2-yr olds, I think.

  8. Love and have read a gajillion times almost all of the books on your list! The magic thing for me about Goodnight Moon is that every. single. time. I still love reading it. It never got tired. (no pun intended!!!)

    One of my favorite bedtime books is called Rockabye Farm, by Diane Johnson Hamm. It's out of print now, which makes me sad because my copy is pretty bedgraggled after 4 kids, but maybe you could find it at a library.

  9. Such great books. I love that time of the evening too , when everything slows down to whisper.

    Oh look! There's the chair you are borrowing from us.

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