Our favorite bedtime books

In honor of National Young Readers Day, we’re talking about bedtime books today on Borealis!

At bedtime I don’t just want to listen to myself read, I want to interact and talk with the girls. So my favorite subset of children’s books are the kind where there isn’t a straightforward story to read, but different things to talk about. Here are a few of our favorite types:

  1. Books where you follow a character. Mamoko introduces you to a dozen or so characters, then gives you 5-6 pages of scenes where the action progresses throughout the day and different things happen to the characters. The girls LOVE picking a character for each of us and then taking turns finding our character and describing what happens to us. For the toddler set, Littleland works a similar way. 

2. Richard Scarry books. Although he has a few story books, a lot of Scarry’s picture books have annotated pictures and with a little dialogue stringing them along. I like those because we can talk about what’s on the page. Blythe might point to a character and say, “He’s sad,” and we can talk about why that’s true or whether he might be a worried or scared instead. The girls can help count on counting books, or read simple words.  

Slam (cover)

3. Books that are told in a series of pictures but have no words. The girls love these books and I enjoy telling them in slightly different ways as the night suits me. We’re currently digging Slam!, a book that follows the action after a boy slams the front door. Other favorites: Journey and Lion and the Mouse.

4. As important as books are, I also like to spend time telling stories. Beatrice has a long-standing request for “tiger stories,” so Adam and I have told every possible story related to tigers that we can think of. I also tell “Peatrice and Lythe” stories, which are topsy-turvy stories about the girls. Sometimes I make the girls tell me a story, and you can see how they’ve learned the storytelling elements and work them into their own stories, which is fun.


5. And although it seems counter-intuitive, for actual reading books I like chapter books because you can dig into them and get lost in the story and not have that one-after-the-other-after-the-other feel of reading a stack of picture books. We have enjoyed classics like Winnie-the-Pooh and Laura Ingalls Wilder books (like the illustrated one above), as well as series like Sophie Mouse, Catwings, and Ivy and Bean.

I also find it more relaxing and snuggly to lie down in bed with the girls. They fight over my lap so having one girl on each side lying down is a good compromise. Or I read some with Beatrice while Adam reads with Blythe, and then we switch.

I only fall asleep in their beds sometimes. 🙂

Here’s to bedtime and great books!

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