10 Best Bedtime Stories to Read with Kids

There’s no doubt about it. Reading to your kids is good for their cognitive development. Through childhood books, kids learn about the world around them. They improve their vocabulary and develop empathy. They learn to let their imaginations run wild and importantly, build stronger connections with their parents or carers.

In our house, we read to our kids every night at bedtime. We read classic childhood stories, family favourites or the books they bring home from the school library. Reading to our kids is actually what sparked the idea for our latest product, the Willow Cushion. We love the bedtime reading routine but not the sore backs that came from sitting awkwardly in bed while we read.

There’s no shortage of books for kids. Some are exciting and adventure packed. Some are silly. And some have a deeper message. We think the best bedtime stories are the ones that you enjoy reading together. Here’s our top 10 books for kids to fill your bedtime storytime bookshelf.

1. 'Dogger' by Shirley Hughes

This is a family favourite that I loved as a child and now all our kids love it just as much. It’s the story of Dave and his favourite toy, Dogger, that has gone missing. The story to reunite Dave and Dogger is a heartwarming one where friendship, family and kindness prevail. It’s one of those comforting books to read before bed with a happy ending to boot.

2. 'Goodnight Moon' by Margaret Wise Brown

For some kids, the best books to read at bedtime are ones with not-so-subtle messages about going to sleep. Goodnight Moon is one of those. It’s gentle, rhyming and simple in the best possible way. It’s a beautifully calming way to get the kids ready for sleep.

3. 'Harriet, you’ll Drive me Wild!' by Mem Fox

We all have our bad days as parents. This is one of the best bedtime stories to read if you’ve had one of those days. And really, you can’t go wrong with anything written by Mem Fox for a bedtime story! It’s all about unconditional love and forgiveness in the relationship between the busy Harriet and her usually-patient mother.

4. 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson

With its repetition and rhyming, The Gruffalo is an ideal bedtime story. Of course, there’s also the message about overcoming challenges, no matter your size, through cleverness and courage. It’s the perfect balance of fun and adventure with a delightfully catchy story for kids to follow along.

5. 'Corduroy' by Don Freeman

In this story, Corduroy has lost a button and is on a quest to replace it, believing he won’t be chosen by a child without it. The story addresses themes of belonging and love with the concept that everyone has a place where they are needed and loved, even teddy bears with missing buttons.

6. 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are is probably at the top of the list of best childhood books for many parents. Through Max’s journey, the simple story and beautiful illustrations encourage children’s imagination and explore themes of anger and reconciliation. It’s also reassuring with the message that home – and love – are always there.

7. Bluey: Sleepytime by Joe Brumm

A list of the best bedtime books wouldn’t be complete with Bluey! Based on the episode by the same name, Blue: Sleepytime sees Bluey and Bingo exploring the dreamscape together. It makes for a great book to read to go to sleep, setting the scene for bedtime and encouraging children to dream big and use their imagination.

8. 'Matilda' by Roald Dahl

For older kids who might not want to read picture books at bedtime, try diving into some of the classics. Anything by Roald Dahl is a winner but Matilda is a great place to start. Read a chapter a night and you’ll fly through the book. This is also a good way to introduce reluctant readers to quality literature.

9. 'The Chronicles of Narnia' by C.S. Lewis

With seven books in the series, you’ll have your bedtime stories lined up for quite some time with The Chronicles of Narnia. What’s so beautiful about these books is the fantastical world the kids can escape to as they drift off to sleep. Then there’s the themes of bravery, redemption and the battle between good and evil.

10. 'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams

Another classic, The Velveteen Rabbit was published more than 100 years ago but the moral of the story is still relevant today. It’s a story about self-acceptance and self-worth, told through the journey of a stuffed rabbit who just wants to be real.

Read to the kids in comfort!

Now you’ve got your list of the best bedtime story books to fill your bookshelves. What’s missing is your NooK Willow cloud cushion. The perfect size for a single bed, the Willow is filled with Australian-made, certified-safe crumbed foam. It’s the same foam we use in our Lily Pad cloud cushions.

Choose from 40 premium Warwick Fabrics to match your bedroom decor. The Willow is 100% made in Australia in our factory on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, guaranteeing quality and durable construction. It adds comfort while reading to the kids and they can also use it in their NooK builds or while lounging about on the floor!

And because we know you’re going to completely covet these cushions for yourselves, two fit perfectly across a King sized bed and make comfy bedtime reading or catching up on your favourite series something to look forward to all day!

Shop the Willow Cushion and level up your bedtime storytime.


Lily Pad Love

So much more than a Bean Bag! If you want a spot where you feel like you’re floating on a cloud and escaping the everyday grind … then the Lily Pad is for you!