Whether you read bedtime stories to your newborn or started a story routine in the toddler years, a good book for bed is a lovely tradition. We’ve put together a recommendation of our favorite children’s books that are great for bedtime at all ages.
Bedtime Stories For Babies & Young Toddlers
These storybooks are specifically written for the younger crowd, but you should expect them to stick around for years as favorites well into the school age years.
Goodnight Moon: This book is a classic first bedtime story, with a rhyming structure that’s easy to follow and might even bring up some of your child’s first words or sentences.
Caitlin H. says: “I used to nanny a little boy with autism, and he loved this book. He used to ‘read’ along with me and loved to whisper ‘hush!’ with the story. And he knew it all by heart and loved to read it back to me.”
The Going to Bed Book: You can’t go wrong with Sandra Boynton’s children’s books, they all make excellent bedtime stories. This story specifically helps kids wind down and get ready for bed with a nightly routine.
Melissa M. says: “This book is my kids’ favorite, especially when their dad was deployed because they pretended they were on a boat too.”
Bedtime Stories For Toddlers & Preschoolers
Written for ages 2-3 and up, these books are great for small children with a little more attention span for stories.
I Love You, Stinky Face: There’s a whole series of Stinky Face books, and they are kid favorites! In this story, a child at bedtime learns about unconditional love as his mother promises to love him even if he had a stinky face (and other afflictions).
Kat B. says: “We’ve read this book since birth.”
Misty W. adds, “We LOVE this one!”
I’ll See You In The Morning: This classic board book is about a mother saying goodnight to her son and makes an excellent quick bedtime story for toddlers and up.
Tracy T. says: “We’ve read it to our son nightly since he was born and he calls it the Night Night Book. The cover is torn off - it’s a well-loved book. I am going to buy a new copy to put in his baby box.”
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site: This bedtime story is perfect for kids who love trucks. It’s a construction site twist on the classic bedtime routine that will help your little one wind down.
Sarah S. says: “My son is truck obsessed and loves seeing the different construction vehicles. Both kids love that one of the trucks sleeps with a teddy bear, and my boy loves to tell each truck goodnight.”
Little Blue Truck: A fun story about a little blue truck and its farm animal friends helping others out of trouble is sure to delight your young reader time and time again.
Sara M. says: “This book has been a runaway favorite in our house since 18 months.”
Llama Llama Red Pajama: A reassuring story to remind your little one that even when mama leaves the room at bedtime, she’s not far away.
Jacklyn M. says: “My son loves the Llama Llama books. He’s almost six and still wants to read them.”
Bedtime Stories For School Age Kids
These books are written for older children who can start to handle chapter books and longer stories.
Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues: All of the Pete the Cat books are great fun for kids. This one specifically deals with winding down for bed, so it’s a great nighttime story book for kids.
Hilary T. says: “We still read every night with our six-year old son. We do more chapter books but he also listens to our four-year-old’s stories. He really likes the Pete the Cat books.”
The Gruffalo: The Gruffalo is a fun story that’s not just for bedtime! It’s about a mouse finding his way through the forest and meeting a monster - but there’s definitely a happy, non-scary ending.
Tracy T. says: “The Gruffalo is a favorite! There’s also a short 30 minute film version available on Netflix. So good.”
The Book With No Pictures: This book is lots of fun and includes silly words throughout, making it a loved favorite among kids everywhere. In a book with no pictures, you have to read whatever it says!
Terra J. says, “We love this book!”
Tell Us Your Favorites
Did you find a new book to read at bedtime from this list? Share your favorite bedtime story with us in the comments below.