Ceci’s Favorite Bedtime Books :: The Toddler Years


bedtime books - Boston Moms

While bedtime is a contentious time in our household, one routine that has remained steadfast is our bedtime reading. As an English teacher, I treasure this time with my oldest, encouraging her love for reading before she can do so independently, and spending anywhere from five minutes to a half-hour delving into a world of literature. Depending on her fancy, some nights we read as many as five books, and others we read only one. Here is a list of our favorite bedtime books:

“I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt, illustrated by Cyd Moore

This is one of the sweetest books I have ever read, and my daughter loves it. Throughout the book, a young child imagines all the ways s/he could change and become stinky, scary, or otherwise awful, and with each description, the mother assures her love as unconditional and unwavering. I love the theme; Ceci loves all the silly descriptions!

“Sleep Tight, Snow White” by Jen Arena, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez 

This is a new addition to bedtime, and there are a couple of things to love about this one: My daughter knows most of the characters because the book refers to common fairy tales. Also, it rhymes. A lot. Every page is a new rhyme about a different character going to sleep. It’s simple, sweet, and entertaining. This will definitely become a regular in our reading collection. 

“The Peas Say Please: An I Can Do It Book” by Tori Hane, illustrated by Belinda Strong

Another rhyming book, this one is fun and it teaches manners. It isn’t technically a bedtime story, but Ceci loves it because she recognizes the lessons as ones we teach her, and it’s a bit silly with the personification of different foods and objects. The text is simple, making it a great read for a sleepy toddler to digest before bedtime. 

“DC Superheroes: My First Book of Girl Power” by Julie Merberg

We have a well-rounded toddler. She loves princesses and superheroes. This book, one of four DC superheroes books we own, is by far her favorite. (Wonder Woman is a close second, followed by Batman and Superman). It introduces a variety of female superheroes in the DC universe (yes, there are more than just Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Super Girl), along with their superpowers. We’ve read this one so much that Ceci knows it by heart, calling out each heroine’s power as I read it.

“Goodnight, Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

One of the most classic bedtime books, this story features a bunny who avoids bedtime by saying goodnight to every possible thing in his room. The pictures aren’t as colorful as other texts, but they are so endearing. Ceci also enjoys finding the different items the bunny says goodnight to in each bedroom scene. Some nights we even pick out objects in her room to say goodnight to before turning off the lights.

Huggy Kissy, by Leslie Patricelli

This sweet story was given to us by a friend after the arrival of our second daughter, Adelaide. Simple words and pictures, all about hugging and kissing, make this story a quick read before bedtime — perfect for an over-tired toddler. At the end of the story, there is a list (with pictures, of course!) of the different types of hugs and kisses. We always select one type to end our reading — my favorite is the Eskimo kiss, while Ceci’s is the bear hug!

“I Am A Princess” (Little Golden Book) by Andrea Posner-Sanchez, illustrated by Gabriella Mata and Francesco Legramandi

This book, one of the many Little Golden Books we have, replaced Ceci’s other favorite, “The Pokey Little Puppy,” around two years ago. While the puppy was adorable and precocious, Ceci began to favor princesses and picked this book from her bookshelf one evening before bed. Like the superhero book, this one introduces each princess, along with her favorite pastime. It even inspired her to watch “The Princess and the Frog” (a welcome change from “Frozen,” “Moana,” and “Tangled,” which were all on repeat for months). 

These are some of the books that have been in our rotation for the past couple of years. Occasionally, Ceci gets hooked on something new, like the PJ Masks Moon Mission Sing-Along book or the Little Golden Book about Captain Marvel. Ultimately, she returns to her cache of bedtime classics.

What are your toddler’s favorite bedtime books?


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Sarah grew up in Rhode Island and now lives in West Bridgewater, making brief stops in Quincy, Fall River, and East Bridgewater, along the way. She made the leap from Rhode Island to Massachusetts way back in 1999 when she decided to pursue a teaching degree at Boston University. She chose her career in 1987, and is currently teaching High School English to 10th and 12th graders, fulfilling a six-year-old’s dream at the age of 22, a proclamation that often brings forth snickers from her students. She became a mother for the first time in 2016, to her daughter Cecilia, and doubled-down most recently in late 2018, with the birth of her second daughter, Adelaide. She currently lives with her husband, Jason, their dog, Nanook, their cat, Lanky, and six chickens. They share a home with her parents, who live above them, and also provide the most amazing childcare for Ceci and Addie. Sarah couldn’t live without her family, her insulin pump (shout out to other T1D mamas), and Starbucks Iced Chai Lattes. She could live without angry people, essay grading, and diaper-changing. She is looking forward to embarking on her maiden voyage into blogging with Boston Moms Blog and hopes you are too!