We are HUGE books nerds. Almost every room in our house has at least one pile of books stacked up somewhere. I love taking the boys to the bookstore and letting them pick out a new book. The baby isn't quite so enamored with the written word, but our toddler could sit and read for hours. I love the way his face lights up whenever he gets a new book. Even with the fairly constant flow of new books being brought in to our home, there are five stories that have proven to be life savers. From long nights of fevers, teething, and growing pains, to layovers in strange airports, these books have pulled us the toughest of times and brought calm and comfort every night at bedtime. In no particular order, here are our five favorite bedtime (or anytime) stories:
The Goodnight Train
This book, written by June Sobel and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, is the perfect story if you have a squirmy wormy at bedtime. Our toddler struggles with transitioning from time to time, and this story helps by meeting him at his energy level and slowly working to calm him down. We always start the story at a fast pace and slow it down, following the speed of the train as we go. It's fairly short, so it's perfect for younger babes with their short attention spans.
In My Heart: A Book of Feelings
If you have a toddler in your house, you already know that everyday is an emotional roller coaster. We spend A LOT of time talking to our toddler about his emotions, and what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to convey all of those emotions. This book, written by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey, covers a wide variety of feelings and gives a little explanation about each one. We change our tone of voice to match each feeling as we read about them, as well as changing our facial expressions to match, and our toddler loves to play along. I usually pick this at bedtime if we've had a rough day as a way to unpack all of his big feelings and settle down for the night.
The Pout Pout Fish
If I had to pick my very favorite of the boys' books, this would definitely be it. I have SO much fun reading this to them. My husband and I both have little voices we do for all of the characters which makes it extra fun. Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna, this book follows a pouty fish as he swims around, explaining to his friends why he can't be happy. The ending is so insanely cute and sometimes our toddler just skips straight to the end to collect the kisses he always gets to go with the story. I don't want to give too much away, but once you read it, you'll understand what I mean.
5-Minute Stories Collections
I adore the 5-Minute Stories collections. There are so many out there, including a ton of Disney variations. There's not a child I know out there who doesn't have at least one character they're obsessed with, and you're bound to find your child's favorite. These are great for bigger kids, or if you have a younger one like our toddler who has a deep love for books (and Thomas) these are the perfect length to keep them engaged without pushing the limit.
Little Owl's Night
This book will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the very first book our toddler became fixated on, and we've already been through a couple copies as he's loved each one literally to pieces. Written and illustrated by Divya Srinivasan, this book follows an owlet as he goes through his night and settles in for bedtime. There are so many different animals in the story, and we always take the opportunity to make each animal sound. Not only is this a great learning and recognition exercise, it's fun and silly as well. This book has gotten through so many long flights and layovers while we travel to visit family, and I feel like I can never say enough about it. Check it out and see for yourself why it's so easy to fall in love with.
That's it! Our top five favorite bedtime stories. If you haven't had the opportunity to check any of these titles out, do yourself (and your little ones) a favor and swing by the bookstore ASAP. No matter what your favorite stories are, reading with your children is such an intimate and wonderful time. So go on, get your READ on!