Best Children's Books About Bedtime

The Best Books to Read at Bedtime

Updated Jan. 27, 2019

Bedtime is a special time and one that we often spend reading with our children. Any book is fun to read before bed, but there is a great list of books that have been made especially to soothe and calm our children before they go to sleep. We hope you find your new favorite as you scan the list below!

When the World Is Ready for Bed book
#1
When the World Is Ready for Bed
Written by Gillian Shields and illustrated by Anna Currey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I. Love. This. Book. The illustrations are beautiful, and I love that this bedtime book goes through a beautiful routine from sunset and eating dinner to discussing the day, reading a book, giving kisses, and falling asleep. The whole thing is beautiful!

A rabbit family prepares for bed by cleaning up toys, folding clothes, talking about the events of the day, and reading a book.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book
#2
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The #1 New York Times bestseller As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they'll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.

Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed book
#3
Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed
Written by Mark Sperring and illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is an AMAZING book that I never get tired of reading and my toddler never gets tired of listening to. He'll ask for this book again and again and again and when we had a couple night stay in the hospital earlier this year, this is one of the three books we grabbed as we ran out the door. The illustrations are peaceful and dreamy (the parades of children in their pajamas are my favorite!) and the rhymes are calming and lullaby-esque.

Join Belle and her bunny, Boo, as they follow ballerinas, cowboys, pirates, and others through dreamy fantasies to a cozy bed of their own. Gentle rhymes and luminous illustrations will help little ones wind down and tuck in for a good night's sleep. This lullaby journey is as captivating and soothing as any parent or child could want — by the end, there won't be an open eye in the house! Belle & Boo is a British lifestyle brand known for original, nostalgic 'story book' illustrations of children. Visit them at belleandboo.com.

The Going-To-Bed Book book
#4
The Going-To-Bed Book
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

Lots of bedtime stories are kind of slow and sweet. This one is lots of fun. The rhymes are great as it goes through a (semi) normal bedtime routine, with a little bit of wit and humor. We like reading this before bedtime.

Getting ready for sleep is tons of fun in this Sandra Boynton classic. The sun has set not long ago. Now everybody goes below to take a bath in one big tub with soap all over—SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB! This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#5
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime--or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.

Lion's Lullaby book
#6
Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely love the illustrations in this sweet bedtime book! It's filled with the cutest animals and has a lovely rhyme and flow. There's not a huge story line to this one, but it's fun to go through all the animals and ask who puts them to bed. :)

With the help of hugs and lullabies, a young girl tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one, in this cuddly good-night read. Holly Clifton-Brown's soft palette and adorable illustrations paired with Mij Kelly's comforting rhyming text set the perfect tone for bedtime.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep book
#7
Sleep, Baby, Sleep
Written by Maryann Cusimano Love and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

When you think of bedtime books you may think of lullabies and bedtime routines, but this book is different. It begins with sleep, baby, sleep, but goes through a whole series of hopes the parents have for the child: rising, soaring, laughing, climbing, growing and so much more. It is a wonderful book.

As their baby sleeps, the parents wish for their child the many characteristics found in animals, such as being gentle as a lamb, having the sight of a hawk, and the peacefulness of a snowy dove.

Monster & Son book
#8
Monster & Son
Written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Despite having monsters in the title, this is a rather gentle going to bed book. I enjoyed the author's incorporation of language such as "chase you into bed" and "gobbled down a snack" that shows a tender side of fatherhood while still reminding you of their monster side.

Romp along with parent and child yetis, werewolves, giant lizards, and more as they stir up some monster-sized fun! Readers big and small, young and old, wild and tame, will roar with laughter and take this book by the horns, teeth, and fur...discovering that monsters and humans aren't so different—especially in the ways they love each other.

Everyone Sleeps book
#9
Everyone Sleeps
Written and illustrated by Marcellus Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

"A wide-awake dog looks for a friend in a nighttime world full of sleeping animals"--

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star book
#10
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Written by and illustrated by Sylvia Long
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-12

In this tenderly illustrated edition of the classic rhyme, award-winning artist Sylvia Long touches the hearts of readers yet again. Her detailed watercolors depict a group of animal friends as they make their way home under the night sky to complete their bedtime rituals.

Rock-a-Bye Farm book
#11
Rock-a-Bye Farm
Written by Diane Johnston Hamm and illustrated by Alexi Natchev
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This sweet, rhyming bedtime book is perfect for animal lovers. The farmer helps all of his animals get to sleep before going to bed himself. The illustrations are sweet and perfect for bedtime.

From a baby to a horse, the farmer is rocking everybody to sleep on this farm! Originally published in 1992, Rock-a-Bye Farm is filled with sweet lullabies. Little Simon is bringing this humorous and touching bedtime story back in a board book format with beautiful new illustrations.

Good Night, Sleep Tight book
#12
Good Night, Sleep Tight
Written and illustrated by Mem Fox
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I like that this book includes a lot of different nursery rhymes and has pictures showing the story in the rhymes. This is also a great one to read about how fun babysitters can be! :) I did think it got a little repetitive as the story went along, but overall thought the book was pretty cute.

In this book with rhyming text, Bonnie and Ben's favorite babysitter reads them nursery rhymes before putting them to bed.

Go To Sheep book
#13
Go To Sheep
Written by Jennifer Sattler and illustrated by Benson Shum
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

There are many ways to go to “sheep” with this delightful bedtime board book that’s perfect for reading aloud! You can sheep in your pj’s or just underpants. You can sheep all alone but sometimes you can’t. There are lots of ways to go to “sheep,” and here to show you all of the ways is an adorable…sheep! This bedtime book is perfect for a giggle before little ones drift off to sleep, just as the sheep does in this charming board book.

Little Hoot book
#14
Little Hoot
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It's not fair! All Little Owl wants is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, like his friends do. But Mama and Papa say little owls have to stay up late and play. So Little Owl spends all night jumping on his bed, playing on the jungle gym, and doing tricks on his skateboard—but he's hooting mad about it! Children who have a hard time going to bed will love this fun twist on the universal dilemma.

Sunrise, Moonrise book
#15
Sunrise, Moonrise
Written and illustrated by Betsy Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Day turns into night and some animals drift to sleep while others spring to life in this beautiful high-contrast board book. Sun rises. Bird sings. And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.

The Runaway Hug book
#16
The Runaway Hug
Written by Nick Bland and illustrated by Freya Blackwood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"Mommy," said Lucy. "Can I have a hug before I go to bed?" When Mommy jokes that she only has one hug left, Lucy decides she must keep Mommy's last hug safe. As Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her large and loving family, she is always careful to get it back . . . until the canine member of the family refuses to play along! Highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood collaborate for the first time on this charming story, which celebrates the imaginative powers of children and the extraordinary love to be found in ordinary bedtime routines.

Pajama Time! book
#17
Pajama Time!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Pajama Time! is a good-night book with the irrepressible language, the inimitable illustrations, the irresistible cast of characters only Sandra Boynton could create. A jump-roping chicken and a pig on a swing. A Scottie in plaid pajamas and an elephant in a fuzzy one-piece with feet. And in sing-along nuttiness reminiscent of Barnyard Dance!, it's time to head to bed-to the beat: Pajammy to the left. Pajammy to the right. Jamma jamma jamma jamma P!J! Everybody's wearing them for dancing tonight. Jamma jamma jamma jamma P!J!

Russell the Sheep Board Book book
#18
Russell the Sheep Board Book
Written by Rob Scotton
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

This is Russell. Sometimes Russell is just a little bit out of step with the rest of the flock. All the sheep are falling asleep -- except Russell. What's a sheep to do? Russell tries everything ... until, at last, he falls asleep.

Touch the Brightest Star book
#19
Touch the Brightest Star
Written and illustrated by Christie Matheson
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This interactive bedtime story proves nighttime isn't scary at all. The gentle journey from sunset to sunrise shows even the youngest children the magic of the nighttime sky—and lets them make magic happen! A companion to the popular and acclaimed Tap the Magic Tree. This board book edition is the perfect size for little hands.

Harry and Horsie book
#20
Harry and Horsie
Written by Katie Van Camp and illustrated by Lincoln Agnew
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a boy named Harry sneaks out of bed one night with his best friend, Horsie, to play with his Super Duper Bubble Blooper -- an out-of-this-world adventure begins! Illustrated with retro-comic art, this is a charming story about the power of friendship and imagination from a talented new team.

Little Sleepyhead book
#21
Little Sleepyhead
Written by Elizabeth McPike and illustrated by Patrice Barton
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A board book for the most cuddly bedtime ever! Tired little eyes, ready now for bed, Tired little everything, precious sleepyhead. By the end of a busy day, little knees are tired from crawling, little arms are tired from stretching—even little lips are tired from blowing kisses. But with the help of gentle verse, and art as sweet as a bedtime lullaby, tired little eyes will quickly give way to sleep. Shhh . . .

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#22
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

A Book of Sleep book
#23
A Book of Sleep
Written and illustrated by Il Sung Na
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-7

When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep… except for the watchful owl! With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is the perfect “book of sleep.” Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep on the move! Some sleep peacefully alone, while others sleep all together, huddled close. Il Sung Na makes his American debut with this gorgeous bedtime offering. While each animal rests in its own special way, little ones will also drift off to a cozy sleep.

Sleepyheads book
#24
Sleepyheads
Written by Sandra J. Howatt and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Get ready for bed with this soothing sleepy story—now available as a Classic Board Book! The sun has set, and sleepyheads all across the land are tucked into their cozy beds. Rabbit is snoozing in the weeds, and Duck is snuggled in the reeds. Bear is nestled in his cave, and Otter is rocking on a wave. But there’s one little sleepyhead who’s not in his bed. Where, oh where, could he be? This sweet and snuggly bedtime book with irresistible illustrations by Joyce Wan is the perfect read-aloud story to prepare little ones for a cozy night’s sleep.

Tickle My Ears book
#25
Tickle My Ears
Written and illustrated by Jorg Muhle
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In Tickle My Ears, it’s getting late and Little Rabbit must go to bed. Can you help him? When Little Rabbit asks “Tickle My Ears?” a wonderful new bedtime ritual begins: Clap your hands, fluff the pillow, give Little Rabbit’s ears a tickle, stroke his back, pull up the covers and a goodnight kiss. And don’t forget to turn out the light: here’s the switch! Enjoy this sweet interactive animation where you can tuck Little Rabbit in, tickle his ears, kiss him goodnight and turn off the lights here.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.