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7 Great Bedtime Books

Easy reads that will help your kids sleep soundly.

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Ah, sweet bedtime, when parents can relax a bit and take a breath. Help kids settle down to sleep in a peaceful, positive way by sharing these stories.

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

By Nikki Grimes; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2020)

Recommended by the Denver Public Library, “this timeless story of a mother lovingly encouraging her energetic child to go to bed feels like a classic, even though it was just published in 2020,” says children’s librarian Liesel Schmidt. The story features a child who doesn’t want to go to bed, alongside unique collage illustrations of animals, which mirror the child’s emotions and mannerisms.

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Child of the Universe

By Ray Jayawardhana; illustrated by Raul Colón (Make Me A World/Random House Children’s Books, 2020)

Just before bed, a father tells his daughter about her place in their interconnected universe in this book recommended by Liesel Schmidt. Cosmic illustrations of planets and stars accompany the father’s observant and complimentary words about his girl.

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed

By Candace Fleming; illustrated by Lori Nichols (Schwartz & Wade, 2017)

A favorite of Boulder Library specialists, this book teaches kids about bedtime on the farm and all the different places animals sleep, with a twist. Pig goes to his sty to find Cow sleeping there. Cow goes to her stall to find Hen sleeping there. Each animal tells the other: “Go sleep in your own bed!” Sound familiar, parents?

Venetian Lullaby

By Judith L. Roth; illustrated by Kendra Binney(Page Street Publishing, 2021)

A soothing lullaby carries a baby on a gondola ride past the sights and sounds of Venice, Italy, with mother as gondolier and father as serenader. Rhyming text guides the family floating through the city and past historic landmarks, pigeons, pets, people in apartments, and businesses.

I’m Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark

By Anna Milbourne; illustrated by Daniel Rieley (Usborne, 2018)

The dark can be scary, but it can be other things, too. Readers learn this as they peep through laser-cut holes in this book’s pages. It comes recommended by Jaclyn Stevens, an Arvada homeschool teacher and Usborne Books & More consultant. “Light shines through the cut outs,” she says, “which is particularly beautiful at the end when the boy discovers there are some things you can only enjoy in the dark—stars.”

It’s So Quiet

By Sherri Duskey Rinker; illustrated by Tony Fucile (Chronicle Books, 2021)

Mouse can’t get to sleep because it’s too quiet. Then he learns the night is full of all kinds of sounds, such as croaking bullfrogs and howling coyotes. Kids will laugh and squeal through this silly, not-so-quiet bedtime read-aloud from the author of the well-known book, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.

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Lilah Tov Good Night

By Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G); illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020)

Words from a beloved Hebrew lullaby pair with illustrations of a refugee family in this bedtime story. As a Jewish family leaves their home and travels by boat, they say “Lilah Tov”—good night—to all their familiar surroundings. The story ends with a child sleeping safely in a new home.

Note: Want to support local bookstores? Check out these spots that have great options for kids.


Librarians and book experts also recommend: 


Bedtime for Sweet Creatures: Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. Child of the Universe, Go Sleep in Your Own Bed, Lilah Tov Good Night: Penguin Random House. Venetian Lullaby: Page Street Publishing. I’m Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark: Usborne. It’s So Quiet: Chronicle Books. Background: Getty Images.

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