What better way to wind down after a long day than to cozy up with a good book? This goes for your little one as well. Benefits of reading bedtime stories together can include an engaged imagination, expanded vocabulary, and reduced stress in both child and reading partner! Here are some of our favorite sleepy suggestions.
Did you know the seasons sleep too? A Dream for Every Season by Haddy Njie and Lisa Aisato and translated by Megan Turney and Rachel Rankin, is a dreamy title from Arctis Books. We get a glimpse of what each season dreams about while awaiting their turn to bring their own unique beauty into the year. See Spring and Summer snooze, Fall slumber, and Winter gently wake. Each season is represented by a beautifully illustrated character and paired with lilting, rhyming text.
Follow along as elephants, whales, and field mice reassure their babies of their unconditional love in I’ll Be There by Karl Newson with illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw. This perfect-for-snuggling story from Nosy Crow is an endearing celebration of nurturing bonds and the hopes we all hold for our little ones’ futures. Whether growling like a polar bear or hooting like an owl, there is ample opportunity for a few silly noises to be made, all while enjoying the sweet sentiment of the reassuring refrain. This title includes the audiobook version through with the Stories Aloud QR code for nights when parents would like a story read to them as well!
We’ve all heard that it’s great to start your day with words of affirmation; why not end it that way too! In Whatever Comes Tomorrow by Rebecca Gardyn Levington and illustrated by Mariona Cabassa from Barefoot Books, lyrical stanzas aim at easing the worries and anxieties that can unfold from everyday uncertainties. From having to say goodbye to a good friend, to getting a new haircut, little ones can find comfort in the brightly colored illustrations and comforting text, as well as tips and tricks to tame a worrying mind provided in the backmatter.
What do you do when your best friend has a different bedtime than you? In When Little Owl Met Little Rabbit, by Przemysław Wechterowicz and illustrated by Emilia Dziubak, we have a cozy read-aloud from Floris Books that explores just that. We meet Little Rabbit and Little Owl who live in the same oak tree. Both are desperate to become friends only to learn that just as Little Rabbit falls asleep, Little Owl is waking up. Filled with soft, dreamy illustrations that play with both the light from the sun and the moon, and mirrored by text highlighting each little animal’s time spent awake, this charming duo proves that friendship conquers all.
Counting sheep to fall asleep is the oldest trick in the book, literally! But not all sheep want to be counted. That’s what comes to light in The Flock, by Margarita del Mazo, illustrated by Guridi. Young Mike’s flock of sleep sheep is at a standstill when Sheep number 4 decides to go rogue. They refuse to jump despite the bleating pleas of the rest of the flock. Seconds turn to minutes, and minutes to hours, and poor Mike just can’t fall asleep! Just when all seems lost, a postman arrives with a letter addressed to Sheep 4. Concluding with an adorable twist, this tranquil translated title from NubeOcho is the perfect read for anyone who needs a little extra help falling asleep. This book is also available in Spanish.
When sleep just won’t come no matter how hard you try there’s only one thing to do: go look for it! Go on a nocturnal adventure with Wolf in Looking for Sleep, by Georgiana Deutsch and illustrated by Megan Tadden, from Tiger Tales Books. Wolf recruits his forest friends, Badger and Hedgehog, to help him search high and low for the ever-illusive slumber. They look in a lullaby, a yawn, and even a snoring Rabbit’s nose, but to no avail. That is, until they seek the wisdom of Owl who reads them a very familiar sounding story. This cozy picture book is also available in board book format.
Instead of counting sheep, you can always count kisses! 10 Kisses Before Bedtime, by Danielle McLean and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska, also published by Tiger Tales, is an adorable touch-and-feel bedtime board book showcasing several diverse families and their loving bedtime routines. From packing away toys and brushing your teeth, to bubble baths and lullabies. Each page has its own uniquely textured element and bold numbers to count each of the kisses you give as you get your little one snuggled up and ready for bed.
Bedtime can be such a great bonding moment and stories can be a quintessential part of that bond. Some books are handed down or read so much that even when the pages wear thin, you still know the ending. The next time you snuggle up remember these future favorites so you’ll be prepared when they ask for “just one more!”