Best Bedtime Books!
I have ALWAYS been a huge bookworm and New York Public Library cardholder. I had the honor of working for NYPL for over a decade, from intern, to children's librarian, to branch manager. I got into the habit of making booklists over the years, and couldn't resist building one full of our favorite bedtime stories - about bedtime!
Read with your babies early and often, especially before bed! You're getting great snuggles, encouraging early literacy, and offering a soothing pre-sleep ritual. Sharing books with Little Monster has been one of the greatest parts of parenthood thus far. I hope there is a book on here that brings joy to you and your family.
While I have suggested age ranges for each book, feel free to read whatever you want to your Little Monster! *Stars indicate Little Monster's favorites thus far!*
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You may also access a partial list of these books from my affiliate list at bookshop.org, which supports local bookstores. I earn from qualifying purchases here as well.
Ages 0-18 Months
Books for 0-18 months
This installment of the ever-helpful Toddler Tools series shows a family happily going through their bedtime routine before falling asleep. A great intro to instilling a bedtime routine.
Two parents go through the day with their high-spirited little one; though they are exhausted, they wouldn’t have their baby be any other way. This loving book is peppered with Spanish vocabulary.
A young girl snuggles with her daddy as they imagine a journey through gardens in the moonlight.
*Sandra Boynton’s beyond-cute animals go through their bedtime routine before settling down to sleep. Also available in Spanish.
*It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals should be in their cages, but...This nearly wordless book is great for a wide age range, as the pictures do the storytelling.
*A classic for a reason! Soothe your little one’s potential separation anxiety by lovingly wishing everything in the bedroom good night. Also available in Spanish/English bilingual edition.
Say good night to the planets, animals, oceans, and other natural wonders in this beautifully illustrated rhyming book.
A condensed version of “How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night”. Shorter, sweeter, and just as much fun!
Another installment of the Toddler Tools series - this one will help your little one relax and take a good nap!
Zaza says good night to all of her toys before drifting off herself. Especially helpful as the 18m bout of separation anxiety dawns.
Books for 18 months - 4 years
Ages 18 Months - 4 Years
*The Baby Beebee bird yells “BEEBEE BOBBI” all...night...
long. The other animals hatch a brilliant plan to get some sleep.
Ed will not stay in his bed! How can his parents help him settle down for the night?
A little girl and her parents get their waves, locs, and curls ready for bed as part of their nighttime routine. When her bonnet goes missing, will she be able to sleep?
A little girl wants to sleep with Mommy in the big bed, and offers Daddy some other options.
Leslie Patricelli’s beloved board book baby is at it again - they are getting a new big kid bed!
Louie the elephant is getting a big kid bed! He is nervous about the change, but soon realizes how much he enjoys it.
Farmer Brown's Duck is making trouble again - this time he's trying to find the perfect spot to sleep!
*Dinosaur can conquer a big slide and deal with boring grown-ups talking, but can he beat his greatest opponent: bedtime? (spoiler for parents: no, he can’t!)
*The Pigeon, of bus-driving fame, is back at his old tricks, relentlessly pleading to stay up past bedtime. Kids will enjoy this taking a turn to say NO!
*Shirley won’t stay in bed until her father teaches her a helpful trick to make the morning come faster.
Pig can’t sleep in his sty, because Cow is there. But Hen is in Cow’s Bed! Will the animals ever get to sleep where they belong?
A traditional go-to-sleep-story, told by mummies, vampires, ghosts, and more classic creeps!
Little dinosaurs wreak havoc at bedtime, then switch to model behaviors in this fun, rhyming story.
Octopus volunteers to put his parents to bed - but bathtime, pajamas, toothbrushing, and tucking in are very different when a child takes charge.
*Gerald is tired and wants to take a nap. Will his friend Piggie let him rest or keep him awake?
Flip the script and let your kiddo take charge of their monster’s bedtime routine.
Little Critter doesn’t want to stop playing and get ready for bed. Will he get his way, or will his dad creatively outsmart him?
*Toddler FOMO and hilarious photographs! Dave Engledow (aka the Internet’s “World’s Best Father”) presents a silly story with an all-too-true lesson.
*A little girl works through her concerns about sleeping alone in this gentle look at the bed to crib transition.
This gorgeously illustrated, cumulative story is a classic - everyone sleeps on Grandma until a pesky flea comes along!
*Everything goes horribly wrong when Lucy absolutely refuses to take a nap.
New toddlers will enjoy this story about a baby with severe FOMO who refuses to go to sleep, despite numerous reassurances that he will not miss anything.
*Ben wants to sleep at night but Bungee just wants to bounce! Ben must figure out a way to get them both a good night’s rest. A fantastic introduction to “sleep rules”.
*This adorable interactive book requests your child's help to get to bed, from making sure it brushed its teeth to tucking it into bed.
*A sweet, sentimental story about baby milestones, leading up to a child getting their own big bed.
Books for 4 years and up
Hibernation season is coming, but Berkley just cannot settle down to sleep! How will Momma and Poppa Bear get everyone the rest bears need?
Ages 4 Years and Up
*Sophie worries at night when everything is calm and quiet, and she can’t fall asleep. Her mother comes up with a creative, effective solution that helps Sophie’s brain avoid the worry spiral.
David and his mother create a bedtime story about a dragon who doesn’t have to be fierce all the time in this bedtime story-within-a-bedtime story.
This picture book for older readers teaches basic sleep science wrapped up in a fun adventure.
Papa Chicken is TRYING to tell Little Chicken a bedtime story, if he could just get a word in edgewise! This book is hilarious for parents and their little motormouths.
When Shailey's dad gets a new job, he's too busy for bedtime stories. She posts a job ad for a new bedtime reader and gets applications from many classic book characters.
Roderick stalls and stalls bedtime until his parents buy him a special stuffed animal, who turns the tables and keeps poor Roderick up until all hours.
This illustrated, fun workbook will help older kids face their anxieties and learn to love their beds.