The best bedtime books for young children

Who am I?

I write and illustrate picture books. Before I was a father I just thought of the picture book as my chosen art form. When I became a dad, I saw first-hand how important picture books are in the lives of young children and the people who read to them. They become family friends. For the youngest kids, bedtime and nap-time are rituals performed many times a day, which means those books get read over and over. In doing so, I found some favorites that I still enjoy reading today, even if I am reading to myself!   

I wrote...

Wild Honey from the Moon

By Kenneth Kraegel,

Book cover of Wild Honey from the Moon

What is my book about?

On a cold winter's eve, deep in the woods, a mother shrew frets about her sick young son. His head is hot and his feet are cold, and there is only one known cure: wild honey from the moon. Mother Shrew does not stop to wonder how she will make such an impossible journey. Instead, she grabs her umbrella, gives her darling son a final kiss, and sets out.

Along the way, Mother Shrew encounters one obstacle after another, from a malevolent owl to a herd of restless wild horses to an island humming with angry bees. But she is a mother on a mission and she shall not be deterred.

The books I picked & why

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Frog and Toad Together

By Arnold Lobel,

Book cover of Frog and Toad Together

Why this book?

The Frog and Toad books are my favorite picture books. Each book has five stories and one story is certainly long enough for bedtime reading. However, sometimes bedtime is a drawn-out affair and it is nice to have more stories at your disposal. My favorite books are usually the ones that describe a place so inviting that I want to live there. Frog and Toad’s little world is that for sure. It is a quiet cozy world where the problems are small, the landscape is green and leafy and friendship is abundant. I love to settle into it every time.

A Good Night Walk

By Elisha Cooper,

Book cover of A Good Night Walk

Why this book?

A good goodnight book slows things down, quiets down the room and the people in it. This book does just that. When nap-time and bedtime were frequent and important in our home we really loved this book. You go for a walk and when you are back home you are ready for bed. Decrescendo. 

The Going to Bed Book

By Sandra Boynton,

Book cover of The Going to Bed Book

Why this book?

I didn’t think much of rhyming picture books until I became a father. Whether I was savoring the bedtime experience, impatient to get on to the next task or about to fall asleep myself, the rhythm of this (and all of Boynton’s books) pulled me into the moment and made me an engaged reader. And Boynton’s books are as fun to look at as they are to read. 

The Snowy Day

By Ezra Jack Keats,

Book cover of The Snowy Day

Why this book?

This book goes all the way back to my childhood. It is one of the few books that I can remember being read to me in my earliest years. I resonated with all of Peter’s adventures in the snow. Like Peter, I understood how important snowballs, snow angels, and snow mounds were! Yet even though much of the book takes place outdoors in the snow, it is also a cozy book, a book about home, a book about mom. 

Goodnight Moon

By Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd (illustrator),

Book cover of Goodnight Moon

Why this book?

This is another book that I really didn’t appreciate until it became a bedtime standard in our home. It seemed simple and repetitive at first and I dismissed it. But due to popular demand, I had to read it regularly and soon found that there is a magic to it. It is playful and sweet and as you read it out loud you can’t help falling into the lulling sway of the words as they gently lay your little one down to sleep.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in bedtime, neighbourhoods, and frogs?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bedtime, neighbourhoods, and frogs.

Bedtime Explore 27 books about bedtime
Neighbourhoods Explore 15 books about neighbourhoods
Frogs Explore 21 books about frogs

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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