Best Kids 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.

Mother Goose's Pajama Party book
#4
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.

Lion's Lullaby book
#5
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.

Guess How Much I Love You book
#6
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.

Monster & Son book
#7
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
#8
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"--

Good Night, Sleep Tight book
#9
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.

The Runaway Hug book
#10
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.

Harry and Horsie book
#11
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
#12
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.

Night Knight book
#13
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!

Circus Girl book
#14
Circus Girl
Written and illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes "Circus Girl," the star of a show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.

Whisper book
#15
Whisper
Written by Joe Fitzpatrick and illustrated by Marco Furlotti
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bedtime has never been so quiet. This beautiful bedtime picture book will quickly become a favorite for naptime, bedtime and cuddle-up-and-read time. Remember to snuggle up close, because you whisper when you read this book.

Monster Trouble book
#16
Monster Trouble
Written by Lane Fredrickson and illustrated by Michael Robertson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON'T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What's a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!) The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.

Pirate's Lullaby book
#17
Pirate's Lullaby
Written by Marcie Wessels and illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"Yo ho ho! It's bedtime, but first it's mutiny! This little pirate will do anything to avoid going to sleep. Read along in fun pirate lingo as our young swashbuckler stows his toys in his "treasure chest", searches for his best "mate" (peg-legged Captain Teddy), plays a game of "walk the plank", and reads a few bedtime stories from "Davy Jones's Locker". Will Papa Pirate ever get his little one to catch "forty winks"? Young pirate fans will love this funny, rhyming bedtime story as they laugh along with the little pirate's plots to stay up. It's sure to get every young reader into his "bunk" night after night."

Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night book
#18
Duck, Duck, Dinosaur and the Noise at Night
Written by Kallie George and illustrated by Oriol Vidal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feather, Flap, and Spike are spending their first night in their very own nest. They tell stories and snuggle up to get a good night’s sleep, until . . . GRRORE! What’s that scary-sounding noise? Young readers will find both humor and comfort in this cozy bedtime story, perfect for anybody who’s ever been nervous about a mysterious noise at night.

Tuck Me In! book
#19
Tuck Me In!
Written by Dean Hacohen and illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Who needs to be tucked in? Turn each page until all baby animals—and little readers—are cozy and ready for sleep in this irresistible bedtime ritual. (Ages 18 months-4) The stars are out. The moon is rising. All the baby animals, from peacocks to pigs to zebras, are ready for bed. Will you tuck them in and say good night? Just turn the pages and the big inviting flaps that serve as blankets cover each little creature up to its chin. This simple but endlessly satisfying novelty, with its array of goggle-eyed baby animals, bold patterns, and vibrant colors, is sure to be the book of choice for little ones everywhere, night after night.

Snippet the Early Riser book
#20
Snippet the Early Riser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Snippet is a typical snail. He loves to draw. He loves to play soccer. He loves piggyback rides. But unlike other snails, he does not love to sleep in. While his family is snoozing the morning away, he is wide awake and determined to rouse his family. But how? Snippet the Early Riser is the perfect bedtime (or wake-up time!) tale, celebrating early birds and late snoozers alike.

Night Train, Night Train book
#21
Night Train, Night Train
Written and illustrated by Robert Burleigh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Told in rhyming text, a train speeds through the night, revealing the sights and colors along the way to its young and sleepy riders.

Goodnight Whispers book
#22
Goodnight Whispers
Written by Michael Leannah and illustrated by Dani Torrent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

You are strong. You are brave. You are so incredibly good. On an ordinary night in an ordinary house, a father's ordinary words do something extraordinary. Lulled to sleep by these whispered affirmations, his baby girl grows into a fun-loving child, a confident teen, and then a courageous young woman. As she ventures forth into the world on her own, her father's affectionate affirmations--now carried in memory--bolster her through life's challenges and, like whispers on the night wind, come full circle to strengthen her aging father and young son of her own. With breathtaking illustrations from Spanish artist Dani Torrent, Goodnight Whispers is a heartwarming story about a father's love and the power of affirmation.

Hush Little Baby book
#23
Hush Little Baby
Written and illustrated by Sylvia Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Bedtime is a special ritual for parents and children. Lullabies often play an important role. This best-selling version of the beloved lullaby Hush Little Baby is now available in a sturdy board book making it perfect for sharing with the youngest children.

Cow Can't Sleep book
#24
Cow Can't Sleep
Written by Ken Baker and illustrated by Steve Gray
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Belle can’t sleep. The hay is too scratchy. So she tiptoes around the farm to find the perfect place to sleep. But what if the best sleeping spots are already taken? Belle causes an uproar on the farm...until finally she finds the perfect place to sleep! Good night! Bright, hilarious digital artwork gives just the right touch to this silly bedtime story.

The Night Dragon book
#25
The Night Dragon
Written and illustrated by Naomi Howarth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

“I wish I could fly, and breathe fire, and fill the sky with great grey, sooty clouds,” Maud said to her friend, Mouse. Maud is picked on by the other dragons, so stays cooped up in her cave, sad and lonely. But when the chance comes, will her friend Mouse help her pluck up the courage to fly? A beautiful picture book about individuality and friendship from Naomi Howarth, whose first book The Crow's Tale was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.

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