The Best Read Aloud Books – Bedtime Stories For Kids


The Best Read Aloud Books – Bedtime Stories For Kids

This post includes some amazing and lovely bedtime stories for kids that they will love to hear again and again!

Why Should You Read Bedtime Stories For Kids?

Reading aloud to you child is amazing!

It’s something you should do together often as it:

  • Increases their vocabulary
  • Boosts their speech and language skills
  • Increases their knowledge
  • Improves their phonological awareness (understanding the sounds of their language and how they go together)
  • Can be a great way to bond with your child
  • It can help them to develop a lifelong love of reading

Bedtime stories for kids can also form part of a lovely bedtime routine which can help to comfort and calm your child before it’s time to visit the land of nod.

RELATED If you want to learn more about the benefits of reading aloud to your child and discover 8 scientifically backed strategies to ensure they get the most out of the experience click here

Read on to discover some amazing bedtime stories that you and your children will love to read together as night time draws in.

The Best Bedtime Stories For kids

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The Gruffalo – Julia Donalson

Bedtime Stories For Kids - The Gruffalo

A gruffalo, what’s a gruffalo?

I thought I’d kick off with this classic!

It’s one of our boy’s favourites and we’ll read it to him any time of the day but it makes a nice bedtime story as it’s easy to read and something he’s so familiar and comfortable with (he even tries to say gruffalo now which is extremely cute!).

Any story your child is really familiar with would be great as a bed time story.

If you (somehow?!) don’t know, it’s the story of a mouse that heads through the deep dark woods meeting lots of different creatures that want to eat him. I won’t give away too much more but spoiler alert – there may also be a gruffalo involved!

Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

Bedtime Stories For Kids - Goodnight Moon

This is a gently lulling, rhyming picture book with some sweet illustrations. It’s about saying goodnight to all the objects that are found in a little bunny’s room. Perfect for calming your little one when it’s getting close to sleepy time.

And it’s not often we get to say goodnight to mush!

After reading this why not say goodnight to everything in your child’s room? Aww cute!

The Way Back Home – Oliver Jeffers

The Way Back Home

Here’s another of our favourite bedtime stories for kids! Written by one of our favourite children’s authors. I particularly love his illustrations. I’d choose so many of them as prints to go in our boy’s room.

The way back home is a wonderfully imaginative story about a boy who found an aeroplane in his cupboard. Obviously he takes it out for a spin but little did he know he’d make a very unusual friend…

The Night Bear – Ana and Thiago de Moraes

The Night Bear

This amusing bedtime story is about a bear who goes out at night in search of his favourite food – scrummy nightmares! Monsters with hideous eyes taste like burgers and fries.

It has some awesome illustrations and would be great for any children that experience nightmares to be able to view them in a more humorous light.

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney

Guess How Much I Love You

This story is a bit of a family tradition.

It can be really important for children’s self esteem to go to sleep with positive thoughts in their head and knowing just how much you love them.

This is a tale about a parent hare and a child hare trying hard to express just how much they love each other.

I love you right up to the moon and back!

The Bedtime Bear – Ian Whybrow

Best Bedtime stories for kids - The Bedtime Bear

This is a fun lift the flap type bedtime story.

It’s about a bear that travels to many wonderful locations as bedtime draws closer.

It’s illustrated by Axel Scheffler (of Gruffalo fame) so you know they’re going to be good!

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

Another absolute classic!

We just love this so much I had to include it. There’s loads of repetition and sound effects which make it great for joining in with and to help your kid’s language development.

It may be a little high energy for right before bed so may be a good idea to follow it up with something a little gentler.

Goodnight Gorilla – Peggy Rathman

Best Bedtime Stories For Kids - Goodnight Gorilla

This is a funny story about a mischievous gorilla. The story doesn’t contain many words and so is told mainly through pictures. It can be a nice book to finish on just before bed as it’s quick to read.

It’s also useful for teaching your child the names of lots of animals.

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep – Susanna Leonard Hill

Best Bedtime Stories For Kids - Can’t Sleep Without Sheep

This is another funny bedtime story about a girl who tries counting sheep to help her drift off. However. She takes too long and the sheep get fed up and quit.

The sheep find all sorts of different animals as replacements but none of them are quite right…

If Animals Kissed Goodnight – Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Kissed Goodnight

Another lovely little bedtime story. In this book, a girl wonders what it would be like if animals kissed goodnight like we do. How do wolves say goodnight? Giraffes? Snakes? Sloths?

This is a playful, rhyming board book that is great for starting a discussion about family bedtime rituals.

Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

Best Bedtime Stories For Kids - Owl Moon

This is a lovely little story about a girl and her Pa who set off on an adventure together, you have to be brave, you have to be quiet.

It’s about the relationship between father and daughter as well as their closeness to nature. It also has some wonderful illustrations of frozen North American woodlands – gonna make you want to get all snuggly!

Sleepyheads – Sandra J Howatt


This charming board book is perfect for reading to your younger children. It’s great for showing them that animals have beds too and has a gentle rhythm to help your child grow sleepier.

It also has some dark and calm images which create a lovely bedtime feel.

Some Readers’ Favourite Bedtime Stories

I thought it would be nice to include some reader’s favourite bedtime stories here. So if there’s something you and your little one have spent many an evening snuggling up to please let me know in the comments and I can include it here!

Good Night Georiga – Adam Gamble

Good Night Georgia

This one was recommended by Kimberlie in the comments – so thanks for that!

It’s part of a series called Good Night Our World that I hadn’t heard of before so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

This one takes you on a tour of some of the Peach State’s most attractive landmarks, but there are loads more including Good Night Florida, Good Night Canada and even Good Night Fire Engines.

They are educational board books with cute illustrations which teach children all about the theme with a rhythmic language to help lull your child gently to sleep.

It’d be great to get the one for the area you live in!

Hush little baby – Sylvia Long

Bedtime stories - Hush Little Baby

This was another recommendation in the comments, this time by Jean – so thank you Jean, another one I’ll have to add to the collection!

It’s a variation on the classic lullaby, in which a mother soothes her child to sleep with the promise of such things as a quilt, a banjo tune, and the sights and sounds of nature.

Bonus – Switching On The Moon – Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters

Switching On The Moon

This isn’t a bedtime story but a poem anthology we often read to our little boy.

It contains loads of brilliant bedtime poems, most of which are short – only a page or two.

They range from funny little rhymes to traditional lullabies all about bedtime.

RELATED To find out more about the benefits of rhymes for children as well as to learn about the history of nursery rhymes click here – you won’t regret it!

Final Thoughts On Bedtime Stories For Kids

I hope you have a chance to read and enjoy some of the bedtime stories mentioned above with your little ones. They are some truly great little books which are bound to help your child to happily and peacefully drift off.

Related if you’d like to know more about the power of pictures books, and learn a little of their interesting history head on over to this article.

Do you have any favourite bedtime stories? Please leave a comment below as I’ve surely missed some great titles. I’d love to discover more to read to my little one!

If you enjoyed this list of bedtime stories for kids please share and if you want to be kept up to date with the latest Nurtured Neurons News please subscribe (I’ll never spam you).

Let’s nurture those neurons!

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4 years ago

Many of our favorites are on this list, but you also have several I’m eager to read to my son. Have you heard of the Goodnight ( insert state) series. My son loves Good night, Georgia.

Jenn Summers
4 years ago

This is a great list, we have read about half of the ones on your list. One of my favourite books to read to my girls is ‘Hush little baby’ by Sylvia Long. We were gifted it when our twins were in NICU and I couldn’t hold them so I would sit there and sing this into their little protective houses. They are almost 6 and we still love to cuddle with this book!

4 years ago

Great article!! Sometimes as a mama I forget all of the amazing benefits of reading bedtime stories to my littles. I just get caught up in the checklist of things that need accomplished before we shut the lights off. This is a great reminder!!

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