Bedtime is a special time for children, and a book can be the perfect way to wind down and relax for both the child and the adult reading to them. Don’t worry if you aren’t around at bedtime, or that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the family’s routine.See if you can find another time in the day to share a book – that will become just as special.
Many children have books at bedtime before they start school, but this tails off as they start to read for themselves. Whatever age your child is, they will still appreciate a story at the end of the day. As well as picture books, this list suggests some titles that are broken up into chapters – perfect for sharing a longer story. Don’t be surprised, though, if your child demands more than one chapter at a time.
If the family has several children, it may be possible to use the same book for all of them. Younger children will be encouraged to listen for longer as they have the example of their older sibling to follow, and the family will benefit from that shared experience.
Adults who question their story reading skills may decide to use a story CD instead, and listen to that with their child. These are particularly useful on a long journey.
All of the books on the list are available to borrow from your local library. If you can’t find the one you want, ask the staff to request it for you from another library.
John Butler -
If You See a Kitten
A beautifully simple book that gives children the chance to join in and make very simple noises even from an early age. For very small children this book is available in a board book format
Trish Cooke - So Much
A lovely sing song story with rhythm and rhyme and lively illustrations. Baby joins in the family party until it’s time to get ready for bed.
Helen Cooper - The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed
It’s bedtime, but the baby decides that he’d rather go on an adventure than go to bed. Perfect for sharing at bedtime.
Julia Donaldson - Snail and the Whale
A small snail and a very large whale go off to see the world, but when disaster strikes, who is it who saves the day? An adventure with a reassuring end.
Debi Gliori - Goodnight, Baby Bat
Baby Bat and the other animals are preparing for bed, with flaps and a snow flurry.
Julia Jarman - Big Red Bath
A succession of animals join in at bathtime. A rhyming story with riotous illustrations.
Oliver Jeffers - Lost and Found
A boy finds a penguin at his door. The penguin is lost. Can the boy help?
Night, Night Baby: a rhyming flap book
A simple rhyming text with shaped flaps. Ideal for sharing at the end of the day.
Martin Waddell - Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
Little Bear is so frightened of the dark outside the cave that he can’t sleep. Big Bear comes up with a reassuring solution.
Fiona Watt - Sleepy Baby
Sharing in Sleepy Baby’s activities is a good preparation for every baby’s bedtime.
Georgie Adams - The Three Little Pirates
An exciting story told in nine chapters, each of them a cliffhanger.
Allan Ahlberg - The Man Who Wore All His Clothes
The Gaskitts are an ordinary family but very strange things happen to them. An attractive book with great illustrations.
Antonia Barber - The Mousehole Cat
When the Great Storm-Cat tries to overwhelm the village of Mousehole, Mozer and Old Tom set out to tame her.
Roald Dahl - The Enormous Crocodile
The Enormous Crocodile is busy trying to trick children into becoming tasty snacks, but fortunately the jungle animals are out to stop him.
Anne Fine - Jamie and Angus Together
Beautifully written and gentle stories about a little boy and his favourite toy and very best friend Angus. Delicate line drawings from Penny Dale.
Emily Gravett - Meerkat Mail
Sunny leaves home to see the world, and send postcards back to his family. He soon realises that nothing is the same, though, without them there.
Dick King-Smith - Lady Lollipop
A lovely story of a princess and her pet pig.
David Melling Good Knight, Sleep Tight
Fun story, lovely illustrations to share, easy to read aloud
Lynn Roberts - Rapunzel
A re-working of a much loved fairytale, set in the 1970s.
Jill Tomlinson - The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark
Plop isn’t brave enough to join his parents when they hunt for food, but other night animals persuade him otherwise.
Joshua Doder A Dog Called Grk
Tim finds a loveable little dog called Grk on his doorstep and embarks on a mission to reunite him with his owners. An exciting and energetic read!
Helen Dyer Fish in Room 11
Toby’s lonely life in a seaside hotel changes when he finds a mermaid.
Eva Ibbotson Star of Kazan
Enchanting story of Annika, an abandoned child brought up in an eccentric household in Vienna and her adventures when her “real” Mother appears.
Michael Morpurgo Why the Whales Came
Daniel and Gracie discover that the forbidden “Birdman” is not as dangerous as everyone says as they unravel the mysteries of their island.
Chris Mould The Wooden Mile (something wickedly weird)
Great pirate story with only slightly scary pirates! Atmospheric pictures. More in the series.
Philippa Pearce Tom’s Midnight Garden
When the grandfather clock strikes thirteen, Tom finds himself in a magical garden where he meets a new friend.
Philip Pullman I Was a Rat
A tale about a rat who changed into a boy, but couldn’t change back again, with echoes of the traditional ‘Cinderella’ story.
Chris Riddell Ottoline and the Yellow Cat
A brilliant book for older children where the illustrations are as important as the words. This fantastically zany story will amuse parents and children equally.
Jeremy Strong Hundred-mile an- hour Dog
Streaker is no ordinary dog as Trevor finds out when he agrees to walk her every day of his holidays.
Trevor’s attempts to train Streaker make for an entertaining read.
Cat Weatherill Barkbelly
Traditional story of the adventures of a wooden boy who wants to find out where he came from. Lovely storytelling.