The most recommended bedtime story books

Who picked these books? Meet our 11 experts.

11 authors created a book list connected to bedtime stories, and here are their favorite bedtime story books.
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Book cover of Can I Be Your Dog?

Tanya Preminger Author Of Luna is Missing

From my list on picture books about pets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved animals and felt a deep empathy for every living creature. But it wasn’t until the COVID lockdown that I truly connected with them. Locked up with a partner, a boy, two dogs, and three cats in a small house with a yard, I realized that it's not just us taking care of them—they're doing their best to take care of us, too. Trained in art since childhood by my mom, it was during the COVID lockdown that I began to draw our furry companions in earnest. I spent every waking hour capturing their funny and endearing moments, ultimately putting it all together in a picture book.

Tanya's book list on picture books about pets

Tanya Preminger Why did Tanya love this book?

I absolutely adored this book! As someone who has been rescuing dogs since childhood, this heartwarming tale of a stray dog searching for a home really touched my heart.

The artwork is both wonderful and unique, which is a must for any picture book. It brings to life the charming world of Butternut Street and captures Arfy’s (the dog) mood swings perfectly. Arfy’s facial expressions are so touching and endearing that you can’t help but fall in love with him.

By Troy Cummings,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Can I Be Your Dog? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller featured on THE TODAY SHOW!

A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters--deeply sincere and almost desperate pleas for a forever home--from the dog, himself!

This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he'd make. His letters to prospective owners share that he's house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won't anyone open their heart--and home--to a lonesome…


Book cover of Blaze and the Castle Cake for Bertha Daye

Alexandre Lacroix Author Of Dragons in Love

From my list on bedtime stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the happy father of five children, born between 2000 and 2017. So in my adult years, I have quite constantly lived in the company of young children, and I’ve started inventing stories for them. I have now six albums published in France, all of which were originally imagined for my kids just before we switch off the light for sleeping. Born in 1975, I live in Paris, I’m the chief editor of Philosophie magazine (a monthly publication with 50 000 readers), and I’ve published twenty novels and essays alas not available in English. I’m the president and co-founder of a creative writing school located in Paris, Les Mots.

Alexandre's book list on bedtime stories

Alexandre Lacroix Why did Alexandre love this book?

Claude Ponti is now in charge of the answers to the children's questions in Philosophie Magazine. Maybe less diffused in the Anglophone world than Ungerer, he’s clearly a great artiste, one of the biggest, with an extravagant and surrealistic imagination, and this album, in particular, is a masterpiece.

By Claude Ponti, Alyson Waters (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blaze and the Castle Cake for Bertha Daye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Claude Ponti’s nimble wordplay and punning, combined with his phantasmagorical and joyful illustrations, create an endearing gem of a book, bound to be a bedtime story favorite.

From one of the world’s most beloved children’s book authors comes a story of a high-spirited flock of friends building an unusual birthday cake. 
A rabble of soft, golden “chicklets” are awoken one morning to a startling proclamation: they only have ten short days to prepare for their best friend Bertha Daye’s party. It’s time to get to work building a larger-than-life castle cake to house and feed the revelers. Made of chocolate…


Book cover of I Will Fight Monsters for You

Brian Anderson Author Of Monster Chefs

From my list on children’s books with not so scary monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with monsters. Always have been. But in a weird way. I was never a scare seeker. I sought out the unique monsters, not the traditional werewolves and vampires. I related to the creatures who were more human than the humans. The ones that struggled to fit in, but if you took the time to get to know them, they were more interesting than anyone you had ever encountered before. And I think that’s a theme I use in my stories. Overcoming your fear of things that are strange or different can open wondrous new worlds.

Brian's book list on children’s books with not so scary monsters

Brian Anderson Why did Brian love this book?

Books teaching kids not to be afraid of the dark can be cliched and a bit preachy. I stay away from books that “talk” to kids. However, while this book does deal with fear and bravery, it does so in a subtle way and feels genuine. The lessons come from the characters and not the writer. This is a sweet story and you will find yourself rooting for Martina.

By Santi Balmes, Lyona (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Will Fight Monsters for You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Two little girls―one human and the other a monster―are afraid to go to sleep for fear of what's living under their beds.

What if an entire world of MONSTERS lived underneath your floor? Martina is having trouble sleeping because she is afraid monsters might break through the floor and bring her into the monster world where she'll have to learn how to scare humans. Meanwhile, Anitram, a little girl monster, is also having trouble sleeping. There's a noisy little human jumping on the bed in the upside-down world under her floor! Martina and Anitram have more in common than they…


Book cover of Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing.

Nicole Audet Author Of Are You Eating My Lunch?

From my list on bedtime stories turning kids into book lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey as a writer began in correlation with my career as a family doctor. After reading Dr. Jacques Ferron’s, books, I knew I wanted to be an author as well as a doctor. While pursuing my medical career, I wrote medical articles and books. My husband and I have also been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul of Quebecers with the story Witness of the Last Breath. This is the story of the last night of my daughter-in-law dying of lung cancer. Before she died, I promised Marie-Noëlle that I would pursue my writing career to change the world one young reader at a time. And I did.

Nicole's book list on bedtime stories turning kids into book lovers

Nicole Audet Why did Nicole love this book?

If you are looking for a book to make children laugh without any other intention, this picture book will fulfill your needs.

The author and illustrator combine text with irresistible illustrations. While making children laugh, this book helps them improve their reading skills by using large letters. Be prepared to read this book again and again at bedtime. You may write to the author to write another one like this because your children will love it.

By Judi Barrett, Ron Barrett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling duo behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs comes the long-awaited sequel to Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, which shows us a hilarious new group of animals that shouldn't, ever ever ever, dress like humans.

Everyone knows that snakes and billy goats and walruses should definitely not wear clothing, but there are actually lots more animals that should definitely not wear clothing...

Because a frog might jump out of it,
Because a crab might tear it up,
And because a penguin is already formally dressed!

Judi and Ron Barrett, the team behind the Cloudy with a…


Book cover of The Witch who was Afraid of Witches

Ian Dye Author Of The (not-so-scary) Book of Monsters

From my list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, children’s book author, and fan of all things Halloween I have searched the globe for the best of the best when it comes to Halloween books for kids. Ok not really “the globe” but when the bookstore starts stocking the featured shelves with children's Halloween books around mid-August, I can’t resist either browsing or purchasing. These 5 are near and dear to my heart because instead of just a simple bedtime read, they all have something special and a memory attached to them. These are the books that are brought out year after year and still enjoyed by the kids, even when they are probably getting too old for bedtime stories.

Ian's book list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters

Ian Dye Why did Ian love this book?

This book is a little different from the other books on the list because it is specifically geared towards early readers.

Although that is the focus, I found this book to be a perfect balance of story and cute illustrations and makes a great bedtime story full of witches, trick or treating, and all things Halloween. As a bedtime story, it can be separated into chapters and the kids always remember where we left off. 

I also love that this book has a little more story to it and the main character, Wendy, has obstacles to overcome. It is a great book for little ones and also transitions nicely into early reading.

By Alice Low,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Witch who was Afraid of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bewitching tale for beginning readers, the perfect early chapter book story for Halloween!

Wendy is a little witch who is afraid of her mean, bossy witch sisters—until one special Halloween night when she makes a magical discovery: Wendy’s sisters can fly fast, cackle loudly, and cast spells, but Wendy can fly even faster. Can she find a way to out-witch her sisters?

In this I Can Read Level 4 paperback—complete with full-color art and short chapters—Alice Low has adapted her popular story specifically for readers bridging to chapter books.


Book cover of The Night Before Halloween

Ian Dye Author Of The (not-so-scary) Book of Monsters

From my list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, children’s book author, and fan of all things Halloween I have searched the globe for the best of the best when it comes to Halloween books for kids. Ok not really “the globe” but when the bookstore starts stocking the featured shelves with children's Halloween books around mid-August, I can’t resist either browsing or purchasing. These 5 are near and dear to my heart because instead of just a simple bedtime read, they all have something special and a memory attached to them. These are the books that are brought out year after year and still enjoyed by the kids, even when they are probably getting too old for bedtime stories.

Ian's book list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters

Ian Dye Why did Ian love this book?

This book is a part of The Night Before series which is such a brilliant and cute idea.

The Night Before Halloween also tells its tale in rhyme form, but is in the pattern of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Natasha Wing really has a grasp on keeping to the original style while telling her story in an adorable way that is written in a language that kids can easily follow.

The story itself includes all of the classic monsters as they are getting ready for Halloween and trick or treaters. It is the perfect book that has all of the Halloween monsters without any of the scares!

By Natasha Wing, Cynthia Fisher (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Night Before Halloween as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

It's time for Halloween! Celebrate the holiday with this this family fun read-aloud, a delightful seasonal entry in Natasha Wing's best-selling series.

Little monsters and goofy goblins take center stage in this silly, spooky spin on Clement C. Moore's beloved poem. But what will happen on Halloween when the monsters come face to face with human trick-or-treaters in this fun-filled book by the author of The Night Before Easter? 

A perfect gift to get young readers excited for this festive fall holiday! 


Book cover of Skeleton Hiccups

Ian Dye Author Of The (not-so-scary) Book of Monsters

From my list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, children’s book author, and fan of all things Halloween I have searched the globe for the best of the best when it comes to Halloween books for kids. Ok not really “the globe” but when the bookstore starts stocking the featured shelves with children's Halloween books around mid-August, I can’t resist either browsing or purchasing. These 5 are near and dear to my heart because instead of just a simple bedtime read, they all have something special and a memory attached to them. These are the books that are brought out year after year and still enjoyed by the kids, even when they are probably getting too old for bedtime stories.

Ian's book list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters

Ian Dye Why did Ian love this book?

I read this book to a Kindergarten class in 2006 and then again this past year.

This book is a smash hit with the kids and stands the test of time. The book is simple and the humor is silly which is what makes this book a fantastic read before bed or anytime really. It sets the mood when the leaves start to fall and spooky season is upon us.

It is highly interactive and the kids love to make the “hic-hic” sound while you read. When reading the book out loud, it gives adults a chance to let their silly flag fly and the kids all respond in-kind.

By Margery Cuyler, S D Schindler (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skeleton Hiccups as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

What's the best way to help a skeleton get over his hiccups?


Book cover of Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey

Brooke Hartman Author Of Dream Flights on Arctic Nights

From my list on quick rhyming picture books with animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a mom of young kids who love animals, I know firsthand the benefit of finding fun books that are also easy to read, fun to look at, and short enough not to make you flinch when your kids pull them off the shelves during those later bedtime nights.

Brooke's book list on quick rhyming picture books with animals

Brooke Hartman Why did Brooke love this book?

This gentle rhyming book is the perfect book for your child and their best stuffy friend to read just before they drift off to sleep. The imaginative watercolor pictures will stick with you, and children will love finding how each child’s BFFs find their way into dreamland. Bonus? The book is short enough for a quick bedtime story, but has enough of a story for you to read it over and over without making you feel tired, too!

By Emily Winfield Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dream Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take a bedtime journey with the New York Times bestselling author of The Wonderful Things You Will Be and discover the adventures that await while you dream!

You only have to close your eyes
And when you snuggle in….
You’ll be carried to your dream tonight
On wing or paw or fin
 
Snuggle into bed and discover what your dream animal might be and where it could take you! Could it be a bear who brings you to bake pastries? A fox who ushers you into a magical forest? Mermaids with whom you can sip tea?
 
With a perfect nighttime…


Book cover of Where are you Lydie?

Christyan Fox Author Of The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma's Wardrobe

From my list on bereavement and loss.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve illustrated and written over 50 children’s picture books and now teach the subject of writing and illustration for all stages up to University level. I’m particularly interested when a student presents a challenging theme a publisher might balk at on commercial grounds: we have plenty of books about pirates, fairies, dinosaurs, and monsters under the bed, but relatively few on the important lessons that life can throw at a child. Race, abuse, depression, or disability (with which I have personal experience) are subjects rarely seen in book stores and can be difficult starting points for a successful children’s book. But the restrictions themselves can often be the source of great creativity.    

Christyan's book list on bereavement and loss

Christyan Fox Why did Christyan love this book?

This is a book by one of my students, and it’s the reason I first began to notice that bereavement was an important subject for children – who might experience the death of pets, grandparents, parents, or even siblings – but one in which publishers see little commercial potential. Obviously, publishers are reluctant to print a bedtime story that ends on a downbeat note, but a children’s book can often be the best way to introduce a difficult subject or concept that starts a conversation.

By Emma Poore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where are you Lydie? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Where are you Lydie?" is a special picture book centred around the subject of sibling loss, sensitively written and illustrated for children between 3 and 7 years old. It is a facilitative story and guide for young children and their parents to explore death and bereavement together and to start those difficult conversations or explore the questions that may come up after the death of a baby in a safe and inspiring space. Grandparents, Teachers, Caring Support Professionals and friends can also share the story as a platform for exploration too.

"It's Lydie's birthday today but she's not here. In…


Book cover of How to Catch a Monster

Ian Dye Author Of The (not-so-scary) Book of Monsters

From my list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, children’s book author, and fan of all things Halloween I have searched the globe for the best of the best when it comes to Halloween books for kids. Ok not really “the globe” but when the bookstore starts stocking the featured shelves with children's Halloween books around mid-August, I can’t resist either browsing or purchasing. These 5 are near and dear to my heart because instead of just a simple bedtime read, they all have something special and a memory attached to them. These are the books that are brought out year after year and still enjoyed by the kids, even when they are probably getting too old for bedtime stories.

Ian's book list on bedtime stories for your little Halloween monsters

Ian Dye Why did Ian love this book?

How to Catch a Monster is just one of the books in the How to Catch series.

It is a quick read for a bedtime story and very interactive and fun for little ones. The rhyming is catchy and the illustrations by Andy Elkerton are beautiful and colorful. All of the How to Catch books have personality and this one doesn’t disappoint.

The kids love the plotting and planning in order to catch the monster and as a parent, I enjoy watching the gears turn when I ask how they would catch a monster. It is a house favorite and gets the kids in the Halloween spirit.

By Adam Wallace, Andy Elkerton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Catch a Monster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A USA Today Bestseller! From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling How to Catch series comes an all-new monster story and picture book for kids!

Get ready to laugh along in this fun children's monster book as a brave young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that's been so scary night after night! But what if our monster isn't scary at all? Maybe our hero is about to make a friend of the strangest sort...

Whether you're looking for kids books about fears, spooky basket stuffers, festive gifts for children, a great bedtime story, or…