Sometimes the bedtime routine can be a little tricky when excitable young ones just want to stay up and play. But it doesn’t have to be.
Make bedtime calming, with a bath, book and bed schedule, where you can help bring their favourite fantastical characters to life within the soft comfort of their bedrooms, sending them off into a deep sleep dreaming of their own tales.
Whether you want to read your child a soothing story with a positive moral or for your tween to recite a paragraph or two to you, what children’s bedtime books should you invest in? We know just the tale.
Check out a few of our favourite classics and modern, award-winning bedtime story books here:
Infants (under 7 years)
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
In this book, this greedy little caterpillar is just so hungry he has to eat lots of different foods before he falls asleep. We won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say this sweetly illustrated story gets even more colourful! Your child will love this simplistic book, especially its finger holes.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been a bedtime story book favourite for more than 30 years, so it’s no wonder that it is now one of the best-selling children’s books of all time. Just make sure not to read it to your child on an empty stomach.
2. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
If your child likes to explore new places and wants to go on an adventure, they’ll adore this book about a family day out. Follow their journey as they swish, swash, splash and splosh their way through their walk and rush back home. It’s sure to inspire a day trip of your own.
3. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
Imagine if a tiger came to tea at your house – we bet it wouldn’t be as sweet as this tale. A story to read aloud, it tells the tale of a fluffy tiger who calls by unannounced and is invited to tea by a girl called Sophie.
With beautifully delicate illustrations and a surprising tea guest, your children will want you to read this book to them every night.
4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
From decade old favourites to a modern best-seller that’s been adapted for film. The Gruffalo is a hugely successful tale of a cute mouse and the things he comes across during a walk in the woods. He uses his wits to evade danger and shows us that it’s not looks, but what’s inside that counts most.
5. Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
With minimalist illustrations and a straightforward tale, you’re sure to love this book as much as your child. Orange Pear Apple Bear tells a story with just five words, four of which are in the title.
Charming and clever, yet ever so simple to read this is a delightful choice for babies and pre-schoolers.
6. Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
‘In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street
and in the dark, dark street there was a dark, dark house,
and in the dark, dark house there were some dark, dark stairs
and down the dark, dark stairs there was a dark, dark cellar
and in the dark dark cellar…
three skeletons lived!
There was a big skeleton,
and a little skeleton,
and a dog skeleton! *Rowf!*’
Take a walk down memory lane and become nostalgic with the friendly skeletons that graced our TV screens as children. Your kids will love this pleasant change from the cute animals and cheery monsters that grace many of the book covers that are out there at the moment.
7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
A cult favourite, Dr. Seuss’ books are known for their weird and wonderful tales of imaginary creatures and their adventures.
In this tale Sam-I-am asks “do you like green eggs and ham?” before reeling off numerous locations and friends to enjoy it with, for example “on a train or in a tree?” or “in a house or with a mouse?” Written with short words and inherently entertaining, we think Green Eggs and Ham is a brilliant book for teaching your child to read.
Juniors (8-12 years)
8. The BFG by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, the list can go on… Roald Dahl is one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time and the BFG has to be one of our favourites. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet a big friendly giant?
9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
An enjoyable read with valuable life lessons written into it, The Secret Garden shows two selfish and spoilt children transform into caring sweethearts through discovering nature and letting their imaginations run wild.
Who knows, it may even encourage your children to try a spot of gardening?
Young Teens (over 13 years)
10. Holes by Louis Sachar
You may feel like you have bad luck, but no one is cursed quite like Stanley Yelnats IV. In this novel he is falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to a desert camp to dig holes as punishment. It is here that the story really begins to get interesting.
Holes is a classic tween book, that’s so good, it often gets taught in school. Like The Secret Garden, it has a moral underlining of selflessness and honesty, something we’re sure you’d love your soon to be teenager to learn.
11. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
No list of children’s books is complete without a mention of the Harry Potter series. And where better to start than the first of seven tales – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?
Harry Potter needs no introduction - it’s one of the best-selling book series of all time. The first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has sold more than 100 million copies and been transformed into a film, so you know it must be good, with young ones everywhere likely to love it.
Recommended Reading: What Are Your Favourites?
Does your tyke have a favourite bedtime story book that you think deserves a mention in this list? Tweet us your reading recommendations @HappyBeds and for a good night’s sleep check out our children’s beds.