mom reading a bedtime story to her kid

The benefits of reading to your children are innumerable. Not only does it help to forge strong parent-child bonds, but it supports healthy brain and language development, and plants the seeds for a lifelong relationship with books and reading. Bedtime routines are a great way to establish nightly expectations and reading provides the ideal ambiance for winding down before drifting off to dreamland. The following bedtime stories for kids deliver the perfect balance of imagery, silliness, and adventure. Their ability to keep my toddler’s attention, awaken his imagination, and teach him valuable lessons are what make these some of our favorite bedtime stories to read.

Pin of Best Bedtime Stories For Kids

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Bedtime Stories For Kids

Funny Bedtime Stories For Kids

The Wonky Donkey

Wonkey Donkey

This is a playful tale about a defective donkey with a delightful disposition. The accumulative build-up and expressive illustrations make this book a silly and engaging read that will quickly become one of your and your little’s favorite bedtime stories to read.

I Need A New Butt

bedtime stories for kids I need a new butt

If you’re looking for silly bedtime stories to read, look no further. We all know toddlers have a natural proclivity and curiosity towards poop, pee, farts, and butts, and this book takes full advantage of that! Prepare to crack a smile!

A Giraffe And A Half

Giraffe And A Half

Some of my all-time favorite bedtime stories to read are from the famous children’s author, cartoonist, and poet, Shel Silverstein, or “Uncle Shelby” as he fancied himself. It was hard to limit myself to just two of his works for this list because he’s written so many fun and memorable masterpieces through the years. A Giraffe And A Half is nothing short of that! This rhyming, nonsensical tale about a stretched-out giraffe who accumulates and then loses a number of silly objects, will have your child giggling all the way to the end.

Inspirational Bedtime Stories For Kids

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Giraffes Can't Dance

‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ is an inspirational story about learning to embrace what makes each of us unique and special. This is one of our favorite bedtime stories to read not just for the powerful lesson it teaches but for the colorful illustrations and poetic writing style.

The Pout-Pout Fish

bedtime stories for kids Pout Pout

A whimsical, fun, and colorful story that teaches us to find our happiness, value our friendships, and acknowledge that we’re so much more than what meets the eye. I’ve read this story to my toddler dozens of times now and it’s become one of his favorite bedtime stories to read, as well as my own. I have no doubt it will soon be one of yours too!

The Pout-Pout Fish In The Big Big Dark

bedtime stories for kids Pout Pout

This is a follow up to the Pout-Pout Fish, one of my toddler’s favorite bedtime stories to read. This one has another great lesson about friendship as well as facing our fears–particularly the dark. I love this story because my toddler is very afraid of the dark right now and I feel like he gains a little more confidence every time we read it.

Jonathan James And The What If Monster

bedtime stories for kids Jonathan James

Reluctance and apprehension come in many forms. For Jonathan James, it’s in the form of a little green monster that prevents him from trying new things and experiencing life. This is one of the cutest bedtime stories to read about building confidence and combatting self-doubt.

Bedtime Stories For Kids With Valuable Lessons

Strega Nona

Strega Nona

Being an Italian, this has become one of my very favorite bedtime stories to read! Not only does it teach a valuable lesson about the importance of listening and following directions, but also that every action has a consequence. It’s im’pasta’ble to believe how silly this story is.

Doctor De Soto

bedtime stories for kids Dr. De Soto

An endearing tale of benevolence that teaches us to do what’s right even when it frightens us. With the perfect amount of trickery and suspense to excite little minds, Dr. De Soto has secured a spot on our list of favorite bedtime stories to read.

Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff

bedtime stories for kids Cami Kangaroo

This is one of my favorite bedtime stories to read to my toddler because it reinforces the importance of staying organized and keeping things tidy. It’s much easier to find things when they are put in their places, especially when our presence at a party depends on it! Kids love this book for its lovely illustrations and easy to comprehend moral.

bedtime stories for kids: Jameson holding a book in bed
Bedtime Stories For Kids: Jameson Getting Ready For Bed

We’re Different We’re The Same

bedtime stories for kids We're Different We're the same

If you’re in search of good bedtime stories to read about diversity, be sure to check out this charming Sesame Street picture book. This colorful and engaging story is filled with characters your kids already know and love and teaches us that we’re all the same on the inside, despite our differences on the outside…and that’s what makes our world such a beautiful place.

The Giving Tree

Giving Tree

This is by far one of my favorite bedtime stories to read! It’s definitely a tear-jerker and my toddler just loves it. Many will have their own interpretation of the message, but for me, it reminds me of my parents and all the sacrifices they’ve made for us over the years, never asking for anything in return other than to feel needed. As a mother myself, I now see how truly selfless being a parent is.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

bedtime stories for kids How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight

You might suspect dinosaurs would throw a fit when it’s time to settle down for the night…but, you would be wrong. Sure, there are a million bedtime stories to read about dinosaurs, but this one is cute and sweet and teaches kids the proper way to act when it’s time to get ready for bed.

It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny

It's Not Easy Being A Bunny

P.J. Funnybunny learns an important lesson about family in this cute and sweet read. Sometimes, all we want to do is separate ourselves from our crazy families, but at the end of the day, we realize that home really is where the heart is. This is one of my favorite “Easter relavent” bedtime stories to read, but I love it so much, I read it all throughout the year.

Adventurous Bedtime Stories For Kids

The Little Boy Who Lost His Name / The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name

bedtime stories for kids Lost His/Her Name bedtime stories for kids Lost His/Her Name

This is one of my son’s favorite bedtime stories to read because, well, it’s all about him! This customizable book details the adventures of your little girl or boy as they set out to find their name which has gone missing in the night. They encounter a number of friends along the way who offer single letters, that eventually (you guessed it), spell out your child’s name!

Where The Wild Things Are

bedtime stories for kids Where The Wild Things Are

This is one of the most timeless and cherished bedtime stories to read and known for its brilliant, detailed illustrations and originality. Where The Wild Things Are has withstood the test of time and continues to delight children all over the world with its exciting tale of adventure and symbolic exploration of childhood imagination and emotion.

The Gruffalo

bedtime stories for kids Gruffalo

An endearing tale of a quick-witted mouse who escapes a series of ill-intentioned predators by dreaming up an even scarier foe, who coincidentally likes to dine on said predators… the Gruffalo. But, is the Gruffalo really all in his imagination? The vivid pictures and rhythmic narrative make this book one of my favorite bedtime stories to read.

Bedtime Stories For Kids About Friendship

Grumpy Monkey

bedtime stories for kids Grumpy Monkey

There are many bedtime stories to read about acknowledging and embracing our emotions, but this one is by far my favorite. This humorous book is filled with beautiful, vivid illustrations and written in a way that even the smallest of minds can comprehend its deeper meaning.

Room On The Broom

bedtime stories for kids Room On the Broom

This is one of our favorite bedtime stories to read going into the Fall and leading up to Halloween. From the creators of The Gruffalo, this gripping, tale of friendship, loyalty, magic, and adventure will have your kids at the edges of their beds until the very last page. The beautiful illustrations and poetic flow make this book an essential addition to any kid’s bookshelf!


bedtime stories for kids Courderoy

Corduroy is one of my husband’s favorite bedtime stories to read. This timeless treasure has been adored by children, and parents alike, since its original publication in 1968. Powerful concepts like friendship, love, and acceptance spill out of the pages, leaving readers with a sense of warmth and fulfillment.

Little Blue Truck

bedtime stories for kids Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck is a cute little story about karma and friendship. The underlying message teaches kids to treat others as they would want to be treated and is demonstrated in a way that even the littlest of minds can grasp.

The End

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this list of my favorite bedtime stories for kids. What are some of your favorite bedtime stories to read, and why? Let me know in the comments below. Goodnight and sweet dreams!

Bedtime stories for kids: Jameson's bookshelf

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8 Comments on 21 Bedtime Stories For Kids: Short Reads For Short People

  1. Wow! Would love to add kangaroo and dinosaur stories to our library very soon! Your bed time story list is quite intriguing.

  2. I have to admit, I quickly stopped my scroll when I got to I need a new butt. LOL! I’ve NEVER heard of that book. The wonky donky makes us laugh too.

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