Goodnight, sleep tight: 13 best bedtime stories for kids

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From timeless classics to new favorites, children will love these bedtime stories.

Reading nightly with your child creates a fun, predictable routine that your child  (and you) will look forward to. Choosing books that your child asks for again and again makes it even more enjoyable.

Books on shelf with wooden dinosaurs on top.
Bedtime Stories on Shelf. Photo Credit: Cottonbro Studio via Pexels.

While this list could almost be endless, these are the best due to their popularity and appeal to such a wide range of children over time, just like our list of the Best Children’s Books

Advantages of Reading with Your Children

Reading with your child not only creates memories; it creates readers. As award-winning children’s author Emilie Buchwald said, “Children become readers on the laps of their parents.”

Children who are read to daily are exposed to between 290,000 and one million more words by the time they enter kindergarten compared to kids who aren’t read to regularly, according to Child Mind Institute.

“Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It helps them develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word,” said Bernice Cullinan and Brod Bagert of Reading Rockets.

“Reading bedtime stories with my children is always something I prioritize because it is a time for intimate bonding, intellectual stimulation, and beneficial worldview building. We’re often busy during the day, so reading at night is a special quiet time with each other that is set apart from the rest of the day.” — Jessica Haggard Easy Homemade Life

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The Top 13 Bedtime Stories for Kids

“How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You” by Jane Yolen

“How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You” is great for sending the message that no matter what a child does, they are always loved. Children will love the fun illustrations of dinosaurs acting like people, too. 

“Time for Bed” by Mem Fox

“Time for Bed” lets children know that darkness is falling everywhere and

little ones just like them are getting sleepy and feeling sleepy. It is perfect for letting children know they aren’t the only ones heading to bed.

“Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

“Dragons Love Tacos” is a #1 New York Times bestseller that is silly and fun. It informs the reader that if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should serve tacos. But beware, tacos mean salsa, and dragons cannot eat red hot salsa or you will be in big trouble.

“Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw

“Love You Forever” has sold more than 30 million copies, and for good reason. It reaffirms the love a parent has for their child forever and is both funny and sentimental. Parents and kids enjoy reading this book over and over.

Grandma reading bedtime stories to two grandkids
Grandma Reading Bedtime Stories to Grandkids. Photo Credit: Alex Green via Pexels

“The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone

Grover from Sesame Street begs the reader not to turn the page, but of course, kids can’t resist. Grover and the kids are surprised to find out who the monster is. 

“Skippyjon Jones” by Judy Schachner

“Skippyjon Jones” is about a kitten who believes he’s a sword-fighting chihuahua, which makes it fun and silly. Many of the words rhyme and some Spanish words are mixed in too to make this an enjoyable and educational read for all.

“The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf

“The Story of Ferdinand” has simple but detailed illustrations and playful text. It shows children that it is important to do what makes them happy even if no one but their mother understands.

“The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst 

“The Invisible String” is a beautiful story that explains how we are always connected to our loved ones even when we can’t see them. This book is great for dealing with separation anxiety, divorce, and/or loss.

“I Love You to the Moon and Back” by Amelia Hepworth

“I Love You to the Moon and Back” shows children how strong a parent’s love is every minute of the day. Throughout the day, a bear and a cub show their love for each other in a variety of ways. 

Dad reading bedtime stories to toddler in bed
Dad Reading Bedtime Stories to Toddler. Photo Credit: Pavel Danilyuk via Pexels

“Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey” by Emily Winfield Martin

“Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey” is full of gorgeous illustrations and enchanting rhymes that invite children to close their eyes and discover what their dream animal might be.

“Bunny My Honey” by Anita Jeram

“Bunny My Honey” is the story of a little bunny who runs a little too far away one day and gets lost. All he wants is for his adoring mommy to cuddle him and put her twitchy nose on his. 

“Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown

“Goodnight Moon” is a classic bedtime story in which a young rabbit says goodnight to every familiar thing in his room. It is the perfect book to read before bed.

“Snuggle Puppy” by Sandra Boynton 

“Snuggle Puppy” is a love song from parent to child and is full of cuddly dogs and sweet rhyming lines. Kids will enjoy the cute puppies, too.

“We love bedtime books that have rhyming in them or that are about going to sleep. Many of our favorites are written by Sandra Boynton, specifically, “The Going To Bed Book.” It is fun and has pictures that our toddler absolutely loves.” — Sara Nelson, Real Balanced

Bedtime stories are important to a child’s brain development, and they can also be fun. Most children enjoy being read to and love snuggling up to their favorite adult right before bed. Which book will you read tonight?

Heidi is a Certified Elementary School Teacher in the Inland Northwest and has been teaching for 17 years. She is also a vintage recipe blogger at, where she focuses on recipes that are at least 50 years old, many from her grandparents’ kitchens. When she isn’t teaching or baking, she loves spending time with her husband and three kids.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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