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My Favorite Bedtime Books

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

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


1 Goodnight Moon – The ultimate classic for bedtime stories.
2 Good Night, Gorilla – The zookeeper is locking up for the night, not realizing all his charges are following him home to sleep in his room.
3 Free Fall – A beautiful wordless book where the details of a little boy’s room morph into his dreams.
4 The Quiet Book
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.” 
5 Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site – All the construction vehicles reflect on the day’s activities before settling into their soft dirt beds.
6 Stars – Stars are everywhere, from a magic wand to strawberry plants before the fruit appears. And, of course, in the sky. 
7 Counting Kisses – Starting at ten kisses and working down to one, a family puts their sleepy baby to bed with kisses from head to toe.
8 Piggies
– Hilariously detailed illustrations of piggies doing various
activities on chubby toddler hands, eventually ending with goodnight
9 The House in the Night – A recent Caldecott winner done in black, white, and gold scratchboard – gorgeous!
10 A Book of Sleep – The owl watches other animals sleep the night away, and when they wake up, he’s just drifting off.

What are your favorite bedtime books for little ones?

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  • Reply The well rounded mom September 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Have you read Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest? I love, love, love that book!

  • Reply Saskia September 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I find it kind of ironic that Google Reader gave me a Shabby Apple ad when I clicked on your post just now.

  • Reply joolee September 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

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

  • Reply Kristi September 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    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.

  • Reply craftyashley September 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    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!"

  • Reply Becca September 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Llama Llama Red Pajama, hands down our favorite one. T loves it and Ty and I both pretty much have it memorized.

  • Reply Jessie September 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    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 🙂

  • Reply Noelle September 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the list 🙂 I only knew about half of them. Time to get to the library….

  • Reply his little lady September 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Goodnight Moon will always be on there. Adore! Love You Forever is another good one!
    xo TJ

  • Reply Lady Susan September 18, 2012 at 1:06 am

    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.

  • Reply Kari September 18, 2012 at 2:10 am

    All the Nancy Tillman books are wonderfully sentimental.

  • Reply Trish September 18, 2012 at 2:20 am

    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.

  • Reply Erin Gong September 18, 2012 at 3:16 am

    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.

  • Reply Amy Sorensen September 18, 2012 at 5:15 am

    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.

  • Reply Angela Noelle September 19, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Kiss Good Night, Sam, Amy Hest, is one we read as a ritual for months.

  • Reply Ralphie September 19, 2012 at 3:33 am

    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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