favorite bedtime books for babies and toddlers

We’re all about reading around here. As a teacher, when I see a kid who doesn’t read, I cringe the way I imagine a dental hygienist would about my daughter’s adamant refusal to let me brush her teeth (tips anyone??).

Pat and I both have an innate love for books. I’ll read pretty much anything, but my absolute favorite is always to shut out the world around me and sink into a whole different one with characters I feel like I know personally.

Which is why I’ve read Harry Potter at least 20 times.


You might think I’m exaggerating, or that I’m one of those crazies who doesn’t know the meaning of the word literally and uses to say things like, “I literally died laughing.”

But you’d be wrong.

(Side note: It makes me cringe just to write that sentence down and realize that not everyone who may read it finds it appalling. Guys. Grammar. Come on. But that’s a post for another time.)

Anyway, I’ve been reading to Reagan since her first week of life, and she absolutely loves her books! As she’s become more mobile, I’ve had to be okay with reading only one page of a book before she takes off again (a big challenge for me), but fortunately at this age it’s just about making books fun. She loves turning the pages, she loves interacting with her favorite touch and feel board books, she loves handing me every book she owns one by one to make stacks on the floor, and most of all she loves cuddling up for a bedtime story. 

Bedtime books are part of our daily routine before every sleep period. Which means that with a two-nap schedule, even on our crazy days we almost always get at least three books in.

I’ve been reading the same books (with a few additions as time has passed) since the start, which I think contributes to the way she calms down almost immediately as soon as the book is in front of her. I really believe that starting from the very beginning is the best way to go about it, but it’s never too late! 

Here are our favorites:  

  • Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown- Classic, and one of my personal childhood favorites. It’s been fun to see how she starts to interact with it differently as she grows.

goodnight moon

             on the night you were born  it's time to sleep my love  wherever you are my love will find you

  • The Going to Bed Book, by Sandra Boynton- Okay, I’ll be honest. Before I had Reagan and I flipped through a couple of Sandra Boynton books, I thought they were truly terrible. But apparently she knows what she’s doing, because Reagan loves them! I’m now a Sandra Boynton convert. Simple illustrations, they’re the perfect length for tiny attention spans, and they lend themselves to lots of silliness. The way to any toddler’s book-lovin’ heart. This particular book is great for days I need to get her in bed asap or am not particularly in the mood for reading. Great nap time book. 

the going to bed book

  • Time for Bed, by Mem Fox- Calming and repetitive. When it comes to books for babies and toddlers, repetitive is a good thing; it keeps their interest and fosters language development. 

time for bed

  • Daddy Hugs– A recent addition to her library, and a lighter read. It’s great for babies and toddlers because the pictures are clear and simple and my little one is engaged because she knows the meaning of many of the words. 

daddy hugs

  • God Gave Us You, by Lisa Town-Bergren- We don’t read this one as often because it seems a bit longer than our others and is written in story format (at this stage I’ve had a preference for poetry). But Pat read this to Reagan every night while I was pregnant with her, so it’s near and dear to my heart. 

god gave us you


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3 comments on “favorite bedtime books for babies and toddlers

  1. love all these!! can i suggest another?! it’s called A Cuddle For Little Duck by Claire Freedman and Caroline Pedler. when P was about Reagan’s age we began reading it almost daily. she still asks for it, and even though she’s “”outgrown” the reading level, so to speak, she LOVES the rhythm and the inevitable cuddling we do when we read it. 😉 #mommypoints #nevertooold

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