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Bedtime and Calming Reads For Bedtime: Books For Kids

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!

Hop Along Boo, Time for Bed book
#1
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.

Lion's Lullaby book
#2
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.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#3
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.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book
#4
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.

Steam Train, Dream Train book
#5
Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

An unabridged board book version of the bestselling hardcover, perfect for small hands! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, and kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Dreamy illustrations and gentle rhyming text make this a beloved bedtime favorite for budding train enthusiasts everywhere.

Bear Is Not Tired book
#6
Bear Is Not Tired
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Bear and his duck family do everything together. That is, until winter arrives. Bear is supposed to hibernate this time of year, but he doesn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. But can Bear really stay awake all winter long? Gentle humor and endearing illustrations bring a delightful twist to a bedtime routine that children and their parents will easily recognize.

Everyone Sleeps book
#7
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"--

Baby Bedtime book
#8
Baby Bedtime
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Emma Quay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Join these adorable elephants for a lyrical good night routine in this tender bedtime tale from the bestselling author of Time for Bed and Hello Baby! After all the kissing, and the hugging, and the rocking, and the snuggling, there at last comes a time for—sleeping. From beloved, bestselling picture book author Mem Fox, this cozy, dreamy bedtime book is a soothing lullaby that’s just right for lulling little ones to sleep.

Rock-a-Bye Farm book
#9
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.

Mother Goose's Pajama Party book
#10
Mother Goose's Pajama Party
Written by Danna Smith and illustrated by Virginia Allyn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

"Star light, star bright, Come to story time tonight. Bring your friends and don't be late. Meet at my house, half past eight." Mother Goose has invited all her nursery rhyme friends to her house for a magical sleepover. See the Cow that jumped over the moon, who tells the Dish, who tells the Spoon, who are soon joined by Little Bo Peep, Miss Muffet, Georgie Porgie, and a whole troop of other nursery time friends. What starts with a lively parade to Mother Goose's house ends in a cozy goodnight scene featuring everyone's favorite nursery rhyme characters, the ideal note for bedtime. Includes an afterword with all the classic nursery rhymes featured in the book, making it a true treasury.

Sunrise, Moonrise book
#11
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.

Harry and Horsie book
#12
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.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#13
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.

Tomorrow Most Likely book
#14
Tomorrow Most Likely
Written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Rather than focusing on going to bed—and what kid wants to think about going to bed?—this book explores all of the dreamy, wonderful, strange things the next day might bring. Whimsical, witty, and hopeful, this revolutionary rewriting of a classic goodnight book from bestselling author Dave Eggers and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith is a bedtime story for tomorrow ever after.

Thank You and Good Night book
#15
Thank You and Good Night
Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

Patrick McDonnell's first bedtime book captures the magic of a sleepover with friends, and reminds us to cherish life's simplest pleasures. During a fun pajama party, three animal friends dance and play, but at last everyone is getting sleepy. Is it time for bed yet? Not before taking the time to say thank you for the day, the night, and good friends.

A Book of Sleep book
#16
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
#17
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.

Guess How Much I Love You book
#18
Guess How Much I Love You
Written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Sometimes, when you love someone very, very much, you want to find a way of describing how much you treasure them. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover, love is not an easy thing to measure! For two decades, Sam McBratney’s timelessly endearing story, beautifully rendered in Anita Jeram’s exquisite watercolors, has captured the deep and tender bond between parent and child. Guess How Much I Love You is one of the world’s best-loved picture books.

Night Knight book
#19
Night Knight
Written and illustrated by Owen Davey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Come on a bedtime adventure with one little knight as he rides through forests to reach his bedroom, battles crocodiles to brush his teeth and climbs the tallest tower to get into bed. This exciting and imaginative bedtime tale is told through Owen Davey's charming and witty words and illustrations — making this a perfect k-nightly read for every young adventurer. Bedtime becomes an unforgettable k-nightly adventure!

I Took The Moon for a Walk book
#20
I Took The Moon for a Walk
Written by Carolyn Curtis and illustrated by Alison Jay
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Embark on a dreamy, nighttime jaunt with a young boy and the moon. Overcoming a fear of the dark and discovering the world at night lives at the heart of this poetic tale. Includes notes about the moon and plants and animals that thrive in the wee hours.

Goodnight Mr. Darcy book
#21
Goodnight Mr. Darcy
Written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Alli Arnold
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

The adored children's classic Goodnight Moon gets a classic lit makeover in this charming parody of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice novel. All of Austen's much-loved characters are at the Netherfield Ball- In the great ballroom, there was a country dance, and a well-played tune, and Elizabeth Bennett; and Mr. Darcy surprised, by a pair of fine eyes ... And don't forget Jane with a blush and Mr. Bingley turned to mush, and a gossiping mother and father saying hush.

When the Moon Came Down book
#22
When the Moon Came Down
Written and illustrated by Feridun Oral
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A magical bedtime story about friendship that eases nighttime fears Little Bunny just can't sleep. He's hungry, but too scared of the dark to go looking for food. Then he sees a bright light nearby--what can it be? Can it really be the Moon, come down from the sky to see him? A surprising friendship is celebrated with delicate and charming pictures by a prizewinning illustrator.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!