The 5 Best Bedtime Books That Help Baby Sleep

There are a lot of factors that make a good bedtime book, and you can't rely on Amazon reviews to pick these books for you. Here are ones that actually work, and most importantly, are easy to hold.

People have a lot of strong feelings about bedtime books, but there are really only two factors that matter. Can you hold the book with one hand? Does the book actually make your kid fall asleep? If the answers to these two questions are YES, then you have a good bedtime book. If there’s anything about the book that is too exciting, too long, too weird, then the book is out. It doesn’t matter if its beautiful and the illustrator took a long time making it perfect. For example, I cannot and will not, in good conscience recommend The Going to Bed Book, because there’s a big deal made about animals getting on the deck of a boat and doing jumping-jacks. I get the idea here, but I think the book is too exciting. It’s cute. Get it if you want, I can’t say it works. And I’ll definitely say the book called The Pajama Zoo Parade is not a successful bedtime book. All you have to do is a look at the cover, it’s like a bag of Skittles merged with rainbow confetti and became sentient. Not exactly calming!

The point is, when it comes to bedtime books, you have to get real. You need a board book because it’s easy to hold that book and your precious offspring at the same time. It’s also nice if the book rhymes, or somehow lulls your kid to sleep. The point of reading a story before bed is to make them feel happy and safe. If you have a newborn or a toddler, these five books actually work.

If Animals Kissed Goodnight

Soft, adorable illustrations are the primary reason why this book is so excellent. It also, very subtly, starts lowering the lights in the background as the book gets closer to the end. This one is a little long, but, but the refrain about the sloths kissing goodnight is great, and the repetition really works.

Get it on Amazon here.

Shhh! This Book Is Sleeping

This book is kind of new, and it’s freaking amazing. It encourages your child to actually tuck in the book you’re reading, a kind of giant, blue face that is getting really sleepy. A pink mouse assists in this process. This book is also a good one to read twice, back to back, just in case your kid wants to tuck the book in again.

Fatherly IQ
Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a universal child care program that would be paid for by a tax on wealthy Americans. Would you support such a policy?
Yes, the government needs to do more to help parents
No, a massive federal program will be a mess
Yes, the wealthy should step up
No, taxing twice is economically unsustainable
Thanks for the feedback!

Get it on Amazon here.

Goodnight, Gorilla

You’ve heard of this one. And maybe you think its too minimalist, and because there’s not a sing-songy story, that it doesn’t work as a lullaby. But it does. Make up your own story about what the Gorilla is doing. Just keep it the same every time. Trust me, this works.

Get it on Amazon here.

I Am a Bunny

I know what you’re thinking: that’s not a bedtime book! But it totally is. At the very end of the book, Nicholas goes to sleep and waits for it to be spring again. The changing of the seasons from spring to summer, to fall and winter are super-calming for tiny babies and toddlers, too. Plus, the illustrations are peaceful and kind. That’s what bedtime is all about.

Get it on Amazon here.

Goodnight, Moon

This one is a classic for a reason. Sure, it’s nonsensical. And yes, that roaring fire is super dangerous for that baby bunny’s bedroom. And yeah, my daughter found a headless giraffe in one corner of the book. Just forget all of that. This book is excellent. It’s just surreal enough to simulate what dreaming is actually like to prep your kid for actual dreaming. This book is a masterpiece and easy to memorize, too, that way you don’t need to really read it while you’re reading it.

Get it on Amazon here.