Bedtime can be tricky for many kids. From fears to restlessness to I’d-rather-be-playing, it’s not always a smooth transition to sleep. These fall 2018 picture books about going to sleep might help make your kids sleepy. If nothing else, these (meta) books make the perfect companions to your read aloud time just before turning off the lights and settling in for the night.
6 Bedtime Stories (About Going to Sleep)– So Meta!
Sleepy the Goodnight Buddy by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Scott Campbell
A must-read book for any child who goes to bed at night… In other words, everyone. This kid, Roderick, has impressive sleep stalling strategies. So his parents get him a stuffed animal named Sleepy. Who talks. Who is even more of an expert in sleep stalling strategies than Roderick. I’m talking professional level strategies. In a hilarious role reversal, Roderick gets Sleepy a glass of water, reads him a story (The Day the Crayons Quit), checks the closet, and does all the things that Roderick’s parents used to do for him…until Roderick is exasperated. “You’re the worst goodnight buddy ever! You’re supposed to take my mind off scary things and help me sleep, but instead, you’re just exhausting me!” With that, Roderick falls asleep. Then look carefully at Sleepy’s expression–what satisfaction! Don’t you love the irony!
Stop that Yawn! by Caron Levis, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Gabby and Granny are on a quest to stay up late — but they must stop that yawn!! It’s an exuberant adventure through the city streets with pitch-perfect repetition: “Grit your teeth, seal your lips, we have to stop that– YAWN.” But we all know that yawns are catching. The yawn makes everyone sleepy, even fall asleep. This eventually includes Gabby. The lively green-blue illustrations give the book a festive nighttime vibe. It’s a picture book begging to be read just before bed. (And I dare you not to yawn!)
The Night Monster by Sushree Mishra, illustrated by Sanket Pethkar
Avi tells his sister, Swati, that he’s scared of a monster at night. Swati suggests that Avi write a the monster a letter. To his surprise, the monster (who is actually the big sister) writes back. “The shadows are my friends. They don’t want to scare you. They just play with each other. I don’t make the oot hoot noises. It is my friend Owl. She doesn’t want to scare you. She just likes to sing in the night.” Back and forth (with some lift-the-flaps) Avi and the not-a-monster communicate. Avi soon realizes that the night is not a monster. In fact, he waits for the night to bring him sweet dreams. I love reading about this kind sister who thought of a way to help her brother’s fears! Not to mention, this story reminds me that knowledge can be powerful. Knowing about nocturnal animals, for example, alleviated some of Avi’s fears.
There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor by Wade Bradford, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Fans of silly stories will enjoy watching a sleepy man named Mr. Snore look for an EMPTY hotel room where he can finally sleep. Room after room already has a guest in it — a mouse, a pig, a giraffe, spiders, … so where will he sleep? Mr. Snore finally finds a room — or does he? A surprising but satisfying ending.
Little Bear Dreams by Paul Schmid
What do polar bears dream about? Short phrases with succinct graphic art deliver a cozy bedtime atmosphere in a sweet polar bear story. Did you know that polar bears dream about hot chocolate, cold pizza… short tails and tall hats…and…?
Dreamland by Noah Klocek
Luminous illustrations depict a little girl is on a bedtime journey to find her dreams and restful sleep. I know that my own daughter can relate as she has struggled to fall asleep night after night. “She struggled past the moonlight that fell in her room . . . // and waded through the blankets that seemed lost in the sheets.” Marching, dancing, traveling, Amelie finally finds herself in her favorite dreams. Teachers, use this as a mentor text for vivid verbs and rich imagery!
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