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Parent Picks: Bedtime Stories You'll Actually Want to Read

13 books that kids and adults love reading

Vicky McDonald

Published on: April 09, 2021

Dad reading to kid

Reading to your kids at night and watching them snuggle up for a good story is one of the greatest parts of parenting. But sometimes, the books that kids want to hear every night are not necessarily the ones that parents love reading — I’m looking at you “Thomas the Tank Engine.”

That’s why it’s important to do a bit of research and find books that are actually enjoyable to read. The type of books that are made for silly voices and will have you and your kid giggling every time. Or the kind of book that has such a powerful story that it stays with you forever. 

We asked our ParentMap parents to send us their favorite books of all time that still delight after multiple readings.

Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter
"Don't Push the Button" by Bill Cotter

Don't Push the Button!
by Bill Cotter

Parents love this short and sweet interactive book. It'll give you and your kid a giggle before bed.

Age range: 1–4

Little Fur Family Board Book 
by Margaret Wise Brown

Everybody knows "Goodnight Moon," but this lesser-known classic by Margaret Wise Brown is a must-read. It's the perfect book to calm everyone down after a long day.

Age range: 2–6

Penguin Problems by Jory John
"Penguin Problems" by Jory John

Penguin Problems 
by Jory John

You've probably guessed by the title, but this book will make you chuckle a lot. The other great thing about this book is that it helps kids and adults appreciate what they've got and to stop complaining. According to some Amazon reviews, people have bought this book for their childless adult friends. It's that good. 

Age range: 3–7

Mary Had a Little Lamp 
by Jack Lechner

The title alone will make you want to read this cute and funny book. It's a classic tale with a quirky twist that kids will love hearing and adults will enjoy reading. 

Age range: 3–8

The Pigeon Series
by Mo Willems

The pigeon books are a fun read and will have your kids in stitches. These books also encourage lots of chat and interaction with that stubborn pigeon. 

Age range: 3–6

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel
"Owl at Home" by Arnold Lobel

Owl at Home 
by Arnold Lobel

This book was first published in 1975, and many adults claim that this book fostered their love of reading. It's still a solid five-star winner on Amazon, too, which proves it's also loved by kids today. You can't help but fall in love with Owl and his nutty behavior. 

Age range: 4–8

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak

This book is almost 60 years old and it is still delighting adults and kids around the globe. It's just the right length and has the perfect level of silliness. This beautiful book is a must for your collection.

Age range: 4–8

Frog and Toad Are Friends 
by Arnold  Lobel

Here's another classic series by Arnold Lobel. These stories about finding lost buttons and writing a letter are from simpler times, but still manage to captivate adults and kids. 

Age range: 4–8

The Maggie B 
by Irene Haas 

This is another classic from the 1970s. It's a soothing read with beautiful illustrations. 

Age range: 4–8

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
"Library Lion" by Michelle Knudsen

Library Lion
by Michelle Knudsen

This sweet little story is all about being yourself and shows kids that it's okay to break the rules sometimes. 

Age range: 4–8

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown 

Parents love this short but mighty book that teaches kids about nonconformity and the importance of accepting yourself. The illustrations are also beautiful. 

Age range: 4–7

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls 

This powerful tale of love and adventure is one you won't ever forget. We promise you'll love it just as much as your child does. (Tip: Keep a box of tissues on hand for this read.) 

Age range: 8–12

The Harry Potter Series
by J. K. Rowling

As parents, it's sometimes nice to escape from it all. So why not let yourself be transported to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where anything is possible. Kids and parents can pretend they're at school together as they read these books. 

Age range: 8 and up

Looking for more great books?

Check out these great books:

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2019, and updated in April 2021.This article contains affiliate links. If you purchase products through links on our site, ParentMap may earn an affiliate commission.

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