An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Bedtime and Imagination: 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!

Share this list
Add to list
Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker & 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.

Add to list
Bedtime for Batman
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Omar Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

“Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger.”

Add to list
Moonlight Bear
Written & illustrated by Rosie Wellesley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A gentle soothing story for young children at bedtime with lovely soft artwork by the popular illustrator of The Very Helpful Hedgehog and The Very Best Sheepdog. A special glow-in-the-dark moon on the cover adds to the fun. Eva drifts off to sleep with her favourite teddy bear. When she wakes in the night. Bear is gone. She looks all over her room only to find that her teddy has turned into a real bear.

Add to list
Sweet Dreams, Supergirl
Written by Michael Dahl & illustrated by Omar Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

A young Supergirl fan faces her most elusive adversary - sleep! As darkness falls, a young girl attempts to catch some Z’s while DC Comics’ SUPERGIRL tracks down an elusive enemy. With super hero traits, like BRAVERY, PATIENCE, and PERSISTENCE, they’ll both turn sleepless nights into sweet success and sweet dreams. Along with Omar Lozano’s action-packed art, bestselling author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning, Superman, and Be a Star, Wonder Woman) delivers an imaginative bedtime book for fangirls and fanboys alike.

Add to list
Sweet Dreaming
Written by Julia Rawlinson & illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

“I can’t sleep!” said Molly. “You can,” said her Mom. “Just think of a story and sleep will soon come…”

When Molly can’t fall asleep, her Mom has the perfect remedy: a soothing bedtime story! Mom dreams up a variety of sleep-inducing scenarios, but Molly manages to find something exciting and energizing in each one. Eventually, Mom’s stories work, just not in the way she expects…

Fred and the Bedtime Elephants book
Add to list
I Love You, Blankie book
Add to list
Flashlight Night book
Add to list
Tomorrow Most Likely book
Add to list
  • Fred and the Bedtime Elephants - When Fred can’t sleep, his mom suggests counting sheep. But sheep are boring, so he tries to count elephants instead. He didn’t realize that elephants are sneaky, troublesome animals! Soon they’re wreaking havoc on his whole house, and Fred has to find a way to get rid of them, or he’ll never go to sleep.

  • I Love You, Blankie - A flowing sail, a hot air balloon, a fluffy cloud, a glowing moon… with a little imagination, a blankie can be anything! This sweet and playful board book will encourage little ones to think big as they head off into dreamland. On each page, a young child uses his cozy yellow blankie in a new way, taking him everywhere from under the sea to high among the stars. As bedtime nears, the blankie turns into a balloon, a cloud, and a shooting star, eventually placing him safely into bed where he can keep dreaming and snuggling, too. Debut author Sheryl Haft and artist Jane Massey have crafted an adorable story around a universal bedtime theme. Featuring a soft padded cover, this is the perfect book to inspire sweet dreams.

  • Flashlight Night - Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

  • Tomorrow Most Likely - 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.

Add to list
When I Grow Up
Written by Julie Chen & illustrated by Diane Goode
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“A small child muses about the future as Mom guides the bedtime routine…Winning text and illustrations for bedtime.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The whimsical pictures fill every page with happiness and variety as Chen presents exuberant ideas for the big dreams and wishes of childhood.” —Booklist

“As a mother helps her young son get ready for bed…Mom assures him that the future is wide open, and ‘No matter what, I will always be there for you.’” —Publishers Weekly

A little boy shares with his mom his dreams of what he might be when he grows up in this tender picture book from Julie Chen the host of Big Brother and formerly the host of The Talk and New York Times bestselling artist and Caldecott Honor recipient Diane Goode.

One night while getting ready for bed a little boy starts to wonder what will life be like when he grows up. He could be a painter, a musician, a mountain climber, a mayor…

He tells his mother all about his big ideas…and all of the other things he wants to do. But when will he grow up? And why does it take so long?

Add to list
Circus Girl
Written & illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts. Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

Add to list
King Jack and the Dragon
Written by Peter Bently & illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Jack, Zack and Caspar build a castle fort, then spend a day fighting dragons and beasts, but at day’s end giants carry away first Sir Zack, then Caspar, and only King Jack is left to face the night creatures alone.

Add to list
What's Next?
Written by Timothy Knapman & illustrated by Jane McGuinness
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An inquisitive baby badger is drawn to discover the world outside his den in an endearing, delightfully illustrated father-and-child story. Baby Badger sleeps all day in his snuggly burrow. When he wakes, he explores every nook of his home and wants to know “what’s next?” So Daddy takes him to the dark forest above to roll in soft moss and snuffle in bluebell bulbs and watch the silvery moon setting, a signal that night is ending and it’s time to go home. But if daytime is “what’s next,” how can Baby Badger sleep without seeing that? So he slips out alone to see the brilliant flowers and birds and to feel the yellow sun hot on his fur. Cozy illustrations and a child-friendly text depict a curious little creature dazzled by the world’s natural wonders — and a doting father who is there to guide him back if “what’s next” turns out to take him a bit too far.

Add to list
Fly Blanky Fly
Written by Anne Margaret Lewis & illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Preparing for a grand adventure with his beloved blanket at bedtime, a little boy leaps into an imaginative world where he and his blanket zoom on jet planes, fly to the moon and swim in the sea before settling down to sleep. By the best-selling author of Has Anyone Seen Christmas? 25,000 first printing.

MR Moon Wakes Up book
Add to list
A Bear Hug at Bedtime book
Add to list
The Boy and the Blue Moon book
Add to list
The Silence Slips In book
Add to list
  • MR Moon Wakes Up - Mr Moon always sleeps. He naps during hide-and-seek, passes out on puzzles and dozes during adventure stories. But what would happen if Mr Moon ever woke up? Would he lead us to hidden, dream-like worlds, filled with fantastic friends and exciting games? And if he did, would we remember in the morning?

  • A Bear Hug at Bedtime - On my way to bed, I play with a tiger, a lobster and a bear – and lots of other creatures too. But why are they so familiar? In this celebration of imaginative play, a young child is surrounded and enriched by an extended and diverse family. Inclusive and playful, this is the ideal bedtime read.

  • The Boy and the Blue Moon - On the night of a blue moon, a boy and his cat set out for a walk and find themselves on a magical adventure. Together they travel through fields of flowers, forests of towering trees, and lakes of deep dark blue. Flying through starry blue skies, they reach the blue moon. But the blue planet, Earth, calls the explorers home. Safely back in bed, the boy wonders—was it only a dream? - GODWIN BOOKS -

  • The Silence Slips In - When the party’s over and the baby finally falls asleep, when the dog is all barked out and the screens are dark, the Silence pads in on soft, furry feet. A warm, comforting presence, the Silence curls up in a sunbeam like a cuddly cat and helps you read, think and be still. The Silence is friends with the Dark. Together they soothe the jagged edges left when the Noise has rolled on and gently launch the boats of your dreams into the night. When the day becomes overwhelming or other feelings become too big, the Silence slips in.

Add to list
Rumble Grumble . . . Hush
Written by Kate Banks & illustrated by Simone Shin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In a spare, lyrical text, young listeners and readers will follow a little boy through his day, from early morning till bedtime, and watch as what fills his active imagination becomes real. Toys grow to life-size: a tin monkey plays a real drum and fiddle—rat-a-tat, toot!—a stuffed lion roars—rumble, grumble—and a dump truck empties its load—BANG! But when quiet time comes, and a hush settles over his bedroom, animals nap, and the boy becomes absorbed in other activities, like reading and drawing.

Here is an irresistible read-aloud by a picture-book master that captures all the joy of a child’s play, and renders a boy’s imagination real.

Add to list
For All the Stars Across the Sky
Written by Karl Newson & illustrated by Chiaki Okada
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In a tender bedtime ritual, a parent elicits wishes from her little one, sparking imaginary journeys together before it’s time to sleep. For all the stars across the sky, Big and little and bright, Here’s a wish from me to you, Before we say good night. “I wish that we could fly like birds!” says Luna when Mama asks her for her nightly wish. So off they go on an imaginary flight together, past mountaintops and fields and over the deep blue sea. Then Luna wishes they could swim like fish through the corals, shrink as small as ants on the vines, and grow as big as giants, stomping down the lane that leads to Luna’s very own bed. In a quintessential bedtime story, gentle art and a lyrical text take listeners on lighthearted flights of fancy and offer an ode to the unconditional love between parent and child.

Add to list
Good Night Unicorns
Written by Adam Gamble and Mark Jasper & illustrated by Suwin Chan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Good Night Unicorns highlights unicorn forests, unicorn families, unicorn horns, unicorn food, fairy princesses, unicorn fur, unicorn eyes, rainbow unicorns, healing unicorns, alicorns, snowy mountain unicorns, and more. This dazzling and colorful board book teaches young children about the mystical and imaginative world of unicorns while following the structure of a traditional bedtime story. Your little reader will fall asleep dreaming of sparkles and rainbows! This book is part of the bestselling Good Night Our World series, which includes hundreds of titles exploring iconic locations and exciting themes. Prepare to expand your young reader’s imagination with this colorful and exciting board book, dedicated to everyone’s favorite magical creature… the unicorn!

Add to list
What Can You Do with a Shoe?
Written by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers & illustrated by Maurice Sendak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What can you do with a shoe? You can put it on your ear or wear it on your head or butter it like bread or use apple jam instead! What can you do with a hat? You can fill it up with pickles or with popcorn or with glue. An octopus could rest in it, a bird could build a nest in it, a turtle be a guest in it. Or would a horse look best in it? These are samples of the questions and wonderfully silly, laugh-provoking answers in a game played by a little girl and boy dressed up i their parents clothes.

On every page of this whimsically playful book, there are enchanting watercolor illustrations by Maurice Sendak. Inspired by the infectiously funny pictures and text, children will soon begin to make rhymes of their own about everyday things. Richly imaginative and wholly in tune with children’s high spirits and sense of play, What can you do with a show?, now issued in a new edition with full-color paintings, will be welcomed by young and old. It is a treasure.

Add to list
Fight the Night
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this whimsical classic picture book, Tomie dePaola delivers a sweet depiction of a child’s imagination and all the things that go bump in the night.

To stay up past bedtime, you’ve got to fight the night. Flashlight in hand, a determined Ronald sets out to battle sleep in this refreshed edition of Tomie dePaola’s spirited 1968 picture book.

Tell Me About Your Day Today book
Add to list
Ladybug Girl Says Good Night book
Add to list
  • Tell Me About Your Day Today - A boy and his favorite stuffed animals share their days with one another in this cozy bedtime picture book from Mem Fox. There was once a boy who loved bedtime. What could be more wonderful than sharing bedtime with beloved friends? The little boy in this gentle and fun story loves to talk to his stuffed animals each evening and share with them all the things that happened to him that day—and to hear about their days, too. From bestselling author Mem Fox and award-winning illustrator Lauren Stinger, here is a celebration of imagination, play, friendship, and coziness certain to touch a chord with young children everywhere.

  • Ladybug Girl Says Good Night - Bedtime is the focus of this concept board book in the Ladybug Girl series, perfect for readers ages 1 to 3. Bedtime can be fun, especially for Ladybug Girl and Bingo. From bath-time bubble beards, to pajamas with wings, to special good-nights for all of her stuffed animals, Ladybug Girl puts her own unique and cozy twist on the nightly ritual. Perfect for fans of Llama Llama, Nighty Night by Anna Dewdney!

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Suggested Links