A good book is the best way to lull children to sleep. Readers share their beloved nighttime tales from past and present.

By Real Simple
Updated August 05, 2009
Brooke Slezak

Anything by Dr. Seuss. There is nothing better than hearing about a “Wocket in my pocket” or how to “hop on pop” right before you go to bed.
Allison Feike
Lenoir City, Tennessee

Oddly enough, my preferred read was a book of pasta recipes that I would request of my dad every night. He would go page by page reading the ingredients and the instructions until I fell asleep.
Emily Garvin
Slidell, Louisiana

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. My children and I nearly hurt ourselves giggling as we reedited the story, adding names and problems from our own less-than-perfect days. Even the worst day could have a happy ending if you had a good laugh and a cuddle at bedtime.
Joel Melsha
Winter Garden, Florida

My favorite story was always when the princess finds her Prince Charming. It took me three tries (the third time was the charm), and I had to kiss a lot of frogs (more than I care to admit), but I finally found my prince.
Peg Goodman
Eagan, Minnesota

I love reading Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon to my granddaughter. After she points out the pictures of whom and what the bunny says good night to, she adds the funny things she can think of to say good night to in her house.
Marsha Fahey
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

My grandma used to read me The Story of Imelda, Who Was Small, by Morris Lurie. It’s about a girl who is so tiny that she has to sleep in a shoe box. When her parents take her to the doctor to fix her up, he suggests she eat only long foods and avoid short, dumpy ones. My grandma and I still joke about eating our “longs.”
Leslie Dickey
Auburn, Nebraska

My father’s ghost stories. At bedtime, he would regale me with spooky tales of kids going missing at a campsite. I completely adored my dad and always loved his creative storytelling. However, on my first venture to a sleepaway camp, I volunteered to tell the first ghost story only to have everyone inform me that I was simply retelling the plot of Friday the 13th. I still laugh when I think of my dad and his borrowed material.
Allison Norris
Manorville, New York

My own. I keep a journal and enjoy flipping through the years of experiences, opinions, and emotional breakthroughs.
Julie Couret Willoz
Metairie, Louisiana

My mom once made up a story about a raccoon that thought it would be much happier as a different animal but eventually realized that being a raccoon was the best fit. As a recent college graduate, I’ve been thinking about this story a lot lately. It’s OK to go through trial phases of different careers and beliefs, but ultimately I know that my mark will be made as me: a fabulous, unique, and wonderful raccoon.
Kelly Treleaven
Austin, Texas

My kids love for me to make up stories with them as the main characters―my son as the knight who slays the dragon and my daughter as the princess who, this time around, saves the prince.
Allston Ball
Orlando, Florida

I bought Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney, when I was in the midst of signing up my son Drew for preschool. Every time we get to the part where Mama Llama comes back to pick up Llama Llama and he’s so happy to see her, I can’t help but cry. Seriously, I get choked up. Drew loves the book because the teacher is a zebra and because he is quite the mama’s boy.
Rebecca Sample Gerstung
Chicago, Illinois

The shortest one on the shelf!
Debbie Bates
Carrollton, Texas