The 90 BEST Bedtime Stories of All Time

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It’s time to refresh the stack of bedtime stories on your bedside table with a few choices from our ultimate list of 90 of the best bedtime stories of all time. From 60-year-old classics to sleepy lullabies and laugh-out-loud favorites, we’ve got something for everyone—the kids may start begging you to put them to bed. Scroll down for the list.

Babies & Toddlers

Best bedtime books a book of sleep

A Book of Sleep


Settle in for sweet slumber with Il Sung Na's debut children's book, The Book of Sleep. The sweet story follows an oil as he flies over the forest as fellow animals prepare for a night of rest. Told with "soothing" text and gorgeous depictions of a starry night, your littles will be sawing logs in no time.

best bedtime books pigs in a blanket

Pigs In A Blanket


You know you're in for a real treat when the fun of the book begins before even opening the first page. In this board book by Hans Wilhelm with illustrations by Erica Salcedo, kiddos open the "blanket" flaps of the book to discover three cozy pigs. As they turn the pages of Pigs in a Blanket, readers are greeted with fun rhymes as the three piggies start their day, embark on an adventure and eventually go to sleep. With colorful illustrations, this book will help reinforce daily rituals like getting dressed for the day, playtime, brushing teeth and winding down back to bed.

Best bedtime books goodnight moon

Goodnight Moon


The greatest bedtime book of all time is still as quirky and delightful as it was in 1947. Reading the familiar text together night after night is deeply satisfying, as is looking for the little mouse on each page and watching the light “in the great green room” grow darker and darker.

best bedtime books Time for bed

It's Time For Bed


It’s time for bed, little sheep, little sheep / The whole wide world is going to sleep. What’s better for bedtime than cozy scenes of baby animals and their mothers, paired with musical, fun-to-read, couplets? The book concludes, appropriately, with a human mother and child.

The Napping House


A cumulative story that one by one, sleepy people and animals climb onto Granny’s big bed to slumber, until the very last, smallest one wakes everyone up. The restful blue palette lightens as the book progresses and day approaches.

Just Go To Bed


The Little Critter books may not be fresh, original, or trendy but there’s something about those scraggly, overall-clad characters that kids just adore. In this installment, our hero is cranky about having to go to bed and trots out one creative, hopeful scenario after another to delay the inevitable. Patient Dad has a comeback for each one.

best bedtime stories hush little ones

Hush Little Ones


Soft illustrations of cuddly baby animals and a sing-songy rhyme on every page make for a sweet and simple bedtime book. Animals range from the expected—mice, birds—to the more exotic—penguins, whales, and kangaroos.

best bedtime stories big red barn

Big Red Barn


Soft illustrations of cuddly baby animals and a sing-songy rhyme on every page make for a sweet and simple bedtime book. Animals range from the expected—mice, birds—to the more exotic—penguins, whales, and kangaroos.

bedtime books sleep my bunny

Sleep My Bunny


You may recognize the illustrations of author Rosemary Wells (of Max & Ruby fame) in this lovely bedtime book for little ones. Inside this bunny's cozy house, the family is going to the timeless tradition of bedtime. Follow along at each step, which will help your own child learn a routine of his own: eating dinner, cleaning up the toys, taking a bath, listening to a story. A charming addition to your bookshelf.

best bestime books alice in wonderland

Bedtime Classics: Alice in Wonderland


Classics are reimagined in this new series of board books that take famous books and re-tell them with inclusive and charming illustrations.



Kids who love musician Laurie Berkner will enjoy snuggling down with a literary version of her song Pillowland. With magical, lush art by French artist Camille Garoche, Pillowland carries readers away to a feather-fluffed dream world where bedtime is always a grand adventure.

best bedtime books night night jungle

Night Night Jungle


From the tired toucan to the sleepy sloth, kids are encouraged to say goodnight to all the jungle animals as the moon rises. Set in sweet, rhyming prose, this new edition to the Night Night series from author Amy Parker will be enjoyed by your littlest readers.

The Quiet Book


This is a lovely recitation of the quiet things in life: “coloring in the lines quiet,” “right before you yell, ‘SURPRISE!’ quiet,” “bedtime kiss quiet.” The tone and gentle illustrations (featuring porcupines and teddy bears and other humorous animals) make it just right for settling down before sleep.

best bedtime books kitten's first full moon

Kitten's First Full Moon


Kitten mistakes the moon for a large bowl of milk and tries, in vain, to reach it. Although not strictly a bedtime book, the theme of the beautiful moon that hangs over each page oozes cozy, cuddly sleepytime feelings.

The House in the Night


The unique look of this book, with its black-and-yellow scratchboard illustrations, is what will draw you to it first. The text, a cumulative poem beginning, “Here is the key to the house,” is simple and elegant and matches the pictures to a tee.

best bedtime stories reading beauty

Reading Beauty


If you cringe at your child's adoration of all-things princess, check out this modern fairy tale that puts a fresh, empowering spin on the classic Sleeping Beauty. Lex, a book-loving space princess, sets off on an adventure to break her own curse with the help of her adorable side-kick pup. It's the perfect story for crown-wearing bibliophiles (and want-to-be space explorers).

The Going To Bed Book


Extreme silliness, Sandra Boynton-style, and fun and short enough to be read every night, for years. The animal passengers of a large ocean liner brush their teeth, change into their pajamas and, of course, exercise, before winding down to “rock and rock and rock to sleep.”

Good Night, Gorilla


As the zoo closes, clever Gorilla escapes from his cage and follows the zookeeper around, letting all the other animals out, too; hilariously, all of them end up following the zookeeper home to bed—unbeknownst to him. Because all the text in the book consists of goodnight greetings, parents will need to narrate the story in their own words.

best bedtime books hush little baby

Hush Little Baby


Marla Frazee’s detailed, humanistic illustrations bring new life—and humor—to the familiar folk song. There’s a lot more going on here than usual, starting with a big sister who wakes up the baby in the cradle, much to the exhausted parents’ chagrin.

best bedtime books llama llama red pajama

Llama Llama Red Pajama


The Llama Llama series was an instant hit, owing to the meter and rhyme that don’t miss a beat, making them easy and fun to read aloud. Here, little Llama lies awake in bed, scared, listening to Mama washing dishes and talking on the phone in the kitchen. Will he ever be able to fall asleep?

best bedtime stories twinkle twinkle little star

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star


Jerry Pinkney has become deservedly famous for his many illustrated picture books, including The Lion and the Mouse, which won the 2010 Caldecott Medal. Twinkle Twinkle sets the classic lullaby to rich, gorgeous paintings of an idealized nighttime world. Set sail for dreamland!



“Here’s a little baby, 1-2-3” begins each scene of this wonderful rhyming concept book from a beloved British author-illustrator. Marveling at the delightfully Anglo home scenes, follow the baby through his day until his mother places him, sleeping, into his crib. The cutout on each page will keep younger readers engaged.

best bedtime stories pajama time

Pajama Time


If your kids need to get their sillies out before snuggling down, look no further! No one does goofy, expressive animals and infectious, top-tapping rhyme like Sandra Boynton. Here, she gives pajamas the silly treatment: Pajammy to the left. Pajammy to the right. Everybody’s wearing them for dancing tonight.

Goodnight Goodnight Sleepyhead


In board-book format, a little girl settles down for bed, saying goodnight to each of her favorite playthings (picking out one body part for each—“Goodnight fingers” for the doll, “Goodnight lips” for the fish). The soft illustrations have a lovely vintage vibe.

best bedtime stories good night sleep tight

Good Night, Sleep Tight


Bonnie and Ben got the good babysitter tonight, and he entertains them with one silly Mother Goose rhyme after another. The simple refrain is addictive and you will find yourself chanting it as you go about your day.

Preschool & Elementary Age

Before We Sleep


Little Red and Hazel are the best of friends, but winter means on one of them will be lonely. A perfect allegory for preparing for bedtime, the sweet illustrations and prose share the message that they'll be there for each other when they awake.

Bears in the Night


This Berenstain Bears classic from 1971 holds up today as you go out the window, down the tree, over the wall and...up...spook...hill.

best bedtime books how do dinosaurs say goodnight

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?


Don’t even bother checking this out if you’re worried about your kids learning bad bedtime manners from the masters! Children will laugh with vicarious glee to see young dinosaurs (with, oddly, human parents) behaving very badly, then coming around and doing it right.

best bedtime stories guess how much i love you

Guess how Much I Love You


It may not be flashy or funny, but there’s a reason this one is still a favorite since it was published in 1994. The combination of the elegant pen-and-ink pictures (reminiscent of Winnie-the-Pooh), gentle brown and green palette and the loving, ultra-simple storyline is exquisite.

best bedtime books close your eyes

Close Your Eyes


Little Tiger is nervous about going to sleep, but his mother soothes his concerns with wisdom, whimsy, and reassurance. The vibrant paintings with bright swaths of primary colors will please young eyes as the loving text lulls them to sleep.

Rock-A-Bye Room


Fanciful and whimsical pictures complement the musical text of a mother singing a child to sleep. Especially adorable is the scene of the snoozing trains and tractor covered by quilts.

best bedtime stories what color is night

What Color Is Night?


In this debut picture book by author Grant Snider, readers explore the shapes and colors of nighttime from an entirely new—and delightful—perspective. A comforting bedtime story, the narrator takes children on a friendly exploration of the colors of the night, from a glowing moon to the bright lights of a big city.

best bedtime stories bear snores on

Bear Snores On


Bear’s friends arrive in his cave, one by one, until there’s a party going on—but Bear won’t wake up! A catchy rhyme and endearing illustrations make this a favorite for bedtime and story time alike (If your kids are fans, you’ll want to check out all the follow-ups in the series.).

best bedtime stories the night is yours

The Night Is Yours


Follow Amani as she plays a game of hide-and-seek at night with the friends in her apartment complex and calls to the moon to light her way as she finds each "hider." A celebration of friendship and empowerment, loving who you are, and the beauty of the night sky, this sweet tale is accompanied by lovely illustrations and told in rhyming prose that's perfect for a bedtime story.

The Dark


Lemony Snickett's take on a bedtime story of sorts is illustrated by famed children's book artist Jon Klassen in this delightfully different way of looking at darkness. In this book, The Dark becomes its own thing, not something scary but something with its own personality. Winner of the Blue Ribbon Picture Book Award.

Fight The Night


This classic from beloved Strega Nona author Tomie dePaola was first published in 1968 and tells the story of Ronald, who knows in order to stay up past bedtime, you've got to fight the night.

best bedtime stories kiss goodnight

Kiss Goodnight


Chubby, cuddly Sam and his big, shaggy mama make a comforting, engaging pair in a bedtime book that reinforces the importance of routine. The contrast of the wild storm outside and the cozy interior will make bedtime seem a happy and safe place for toddlers and preschoolers. A great choice for kids who have the nighttime jitters.

best bedtime books dinosaur vs. bedtime

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime


Dinosaur has never lost a fight—but bedtime will be his biggest challenge ever. Loud, fast and funny, this is one you’ll want to start, not end, with (It’s also a fantastic read-aloud for a classroom visit.).

Best Bedtime Stories Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep

Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep


Your own kids might not get along this well—but we can all dream! When little Willa can’t sleep, her big brother Willoughby steps in, gently pointing out all the happy things around her, to help bring on the Sandman. Adorable Willa, with her floppy ears and stuffed animal look, will captivate listeners.

In The Night Kitchen


In perhaps the most unusual of our bedtime book suggestions, Mickey dreams a crazy dream in which he helps out the breakfast cake bakers in a most spectacular way. This fun bedtime story is another blast from the past that has held up nicely.

best bedtime books no go sleep

No Go Sleep


In a twist on a familiar bedtime story, instead of the child saying goodnight to his surroundings, here we have all the things around the child saying goodnight to him: And the stars said, ‘We will twinkle and sprinkle sweet dreams to you. And a car driving by said, ‘Beep beep, sleep, sleep.’ The illustrations, wonderful sketches with a watercolor rinse, are by a well-known editorial cartoonist, and look it.


A Bedtime for Bear

Poor beleaguered Bear. First Mouse shows up unexpectedly on his doorstep (Bear was sure his visit was scheduled for another night). Then Mouse can’t seem to keep quiet, and Bear can only go to sleep in absolute silence. But then Bear hears another sound, and suddenly he’s glad Mouse is there to help.

Ages: 3-7

Order it now, $6.98

Night Lights

Every page here has just one word (or phrase): streetlight, headlight, lantern light, firelight, candlelight, etc.—each one a different kind of light. Combined with the illustrations, they tell the story of a child’s special day, from biking home with mom to blowing out the birthday candles and finally, going to sleep under the moonlight. Magical.

Ages: 3-8

Order it now, $5.48

Don’t Turn the Page

Any book starring porcupines is a contender right from the start! This one has also got a simple story about a child who doesn’t want Mama to finish the bedtime book (because that means bed), and a special twist at the end.

Ages: 3-8

Grab it here, $11.90

There's a Nightmare in My Closet

Mercer Mayer is known mostly for his Little Critter books (and one of those is on this list, too), but this picture book is special, funny and tender. It belongs in every child’s library.

Ages: 3-7

Buy it here, $6.19

Where the Wild Things Are

It’s hard to pinpoint the best feature of this eternal classic: Is it the beautiful prose, the repetition of key phrases or the poignant moment when naughty Max suddenly ”was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all?” Regardless, indulge in nostalgia and make it part of your bedtime routine.

Ages: 3-7

Find it here, $13.29

photo: Nosy Crow

Have You Seen My Blankie?

Princess Alice has lost her blankie and when she finds it in the arms of a dragon, she sets out to find him his own lovey. Told in rhythmic style, this beautifully illustrated book is not only the perfect bedtime story, but is also one of kindness and friendship.

Ages: 2-5

Get it here, $14.43

Touch the Brightest Star

In this interactive bedtime book, children are invited to participate in the closing of the day. They press a firefly, blow a breeze, pat a deer, blink their eyes to fill the sky with stars and trace the Big Dipper on the page. It’s a lovely way for parents and children to welcome the night.

Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $9.98

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site!

“The sun has set, the work is done; / It’s time for trucks to end their fun.” Take a tour of a bustling building site as Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer and Excavator finish up their jobs and go to bed. Truck enthusiasts will ask for this one every night—and day, too.

Ages: 2-6

Buy it here, $7.95

Bedtime for Frances

Frances and her bedtime delay tactics are as utterly funny and enchanting as they were 55 years ago, and the minimalist illustrations by Garth Williams (of The Little House books fame) are perfect enough to frame.

Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $6.19

The Berenstain Bears: In the Dark

Like all Berenstain Bears books, this one is on the long side, is filled with dialogue, complex situations and offers a message. When you need something a bit meaty to lull little people to sleep, this is just the ticket (and the don’t-be-afraid-of-the-dark theme doesn’t hurt).

Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $4.36

 Kitten and the Night Watchman

Author John Sullivan's Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning story is based on his real-life watchman experience, with his stray sidekick cat, Bebee. But what happens when the watchman’s new friend goes missing? A feel-good, good-night read.

Ages 4-8.

Buy it here, $15.30

Moon by Alison Oliver

Beautifully written and illustrated by Babylit books illustrator Alison Oliver, Moon is all about getting into the woods to find your inner (gentle) beast. Head into the fantastical forest with Moon this summer and encourage kids to connect with their wild side. 

Ages: 4-7

Get it here. $11.99

photo: Downtown Books

The Big Book of Super Hero Bedtime Stories

Wind down from your busy day with something a little different: The Big Book of Super Hero Bedtime Stories gives kiddos a glimpse into the night time routines of their favorite super heroes: does the Green Lantern act as his own night? Does Batman sleep upside down? Because after a day of fighting crime or working their day jobs, just like kids, even super heroes need a good night's sleep.

Ages: 4+

Find a copy here. $16.99

photo: Candlewick

A Bedtime for Bear

A fun, graphic novel-style book (multiple boxes per page, speech bubbles, sound effects) gives new life to a familiar story of a bear who just wants to sleep. The festive snowy outdoor scenes will put kids in a holiday mood, so save this one for winter.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $6.98

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave

From award-winning lettering artist Jessica Hische comes her debut children's book, Tomorrow I'll Be Brave. Inspired after the birth of her own daughter, Hische wanted to give kids an opportunity to reflect on their day, to understand that tomorrow is a new beginning and that self-forgiveness is the best gift you can give yourself. Filled with strong words like Brave, Confident, Creative, Smart and Curious and complemented by gorgeous illustrations, Hische's first foray into children's literature is a success.

Ages: 3-7

Order it here, $11.68

photo: Chronicle Books

Tomorrow Most Likely

Dave Eggers is at it again with his newest release for kiddos ages 3-5, Tomorrow Most Likely. Publishing this month from Chronicle Books, this new read illustrated by Lane Smith reinvents the classic bedtime book. Instead of focusing on what happened that day, the little boy protagonist focuses on the future and imagines all the fun, dreamy and whimsical things that might happen tomorrow. 

Ages 3-5

Buy it now, $8.99 

Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?

Little Bear is afraid of the dark, even when Big Bear keeps getting him bigger and bigger night lights. So Big Bear brings him to see the biggest light there is—the moon. As cozy and comforting as a cup of cocoa after dinner.

Ages: 3-7

Buy it now, $6.95

Max and Ruby’s Bedtime Book

Every kid loves to hear stories about themselves, and Max and Ruby are no exceptions. Here, Grandma recalls their adventures in making a restaurant, swimming at the lake, and refusing to go to school. Rosemary Wells’s signature brightly colored illustrations are as pleasing to the eye as ever.

Age: 3-7

Order it now, $8.46

photo: Harcourt Children's Books

In a Blue Room

Alice, bouncing on her bed way past bedtime, wants blue, only blue. But as her mother brings her one special sleep-inducing gift after another (flowers, tea, an extra quilt, a wind chime), her room becomes beautifully suffused with all different colors. Finally, as she nods off to sleep, the moon comes in and makes everything blue.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $35.27

Little Fox and the Missing Moon

The mystery-loving fox from Apples for Little Fox is back in this book by Ekaterina Trukhan. Follow along as Fox dreams the moon is missing, and he and his friends go on a quest to return it to the sky.

Ages 3-7

Order it here, $12.32

photo: Templar

Night Knight

Even knights have to go to bed; the only difference is, it’s way more grand and exciting when you’re a knight! A little boy demonstrates some magical thinking as he brushes his teeth, puts away his things, and says goodnight to his pet (a dragon), all in a fantastical medieval setting.

Age: 3-7

Get it here, $11.44

photo: Templar

By the Light of the Moon

Snuggle up under the light of the moon with this sweet bedtime book. Bright and bold colors tell the tale of a little frog singing alone in a swamp. As his pals join in, nothing sounds quite right until every voice is included––even a tiny firefly. A story of the power of little voices, By the Light of the Moon will take a permanent place in your heart and your bedtime rotation.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $16.99

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey

This sweet entry, perfect for right before the lights go off, shines with vintage-style illustrations that seem to step right out of a Little Golden Book. Gentle verse imagines a series of sleepy children, each holding a stuffed animal, on a special voyage with their stuffie come to life.

Ages: 3-7

Grab it here, $14.24

photo: Simon & Schuster


Written by Kenyan-born actress Lupita Nyong'O, this is as much her personal story as it the story of young Sulwe, a girl whose skin is the color of midnight. The stunningly gorgeous illustrations by Vashti Harrison are reason enough alone to want this book in your library, but the story itself is beautifully told; it's about differences, acceptance of oneself no matter how we think others see us, it's about wanting to fit in and yet being unique. A vital message for every kid out there, regardless of race or gender. Read it today with your kids. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $11.14

photo: Hachette Book Group

Bedtime for Superheroes

From saving the city to trying to avoid being slimed, being a superhero is a hard job! That's why it's important to have a good routine once the day is done. From dinner to bath to reading a book, even superheroes need to recharge their batteries. This adorable picture book from YA author Katherine Locke is sure to be a new bedtime favorite. 

Ages: 4-8

Available at, $17.49.

Interrupting Chicken

Another loud and jolly entry (it may not soothe kids to sleep, but it’s sure to make bedtime fun), this one stars an overeager chicken who just can’t keep from interrupting dad as he tries to read bedtime stories. Guess who ends up falling asleep first?

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $7.59

photo: Little, Brown and Company

A Big Bed for Little Snow

Little Snow gets a big bed, but he can't seem to resist jumping on it. Every time he jumps, feathers fall out...this beautiful story from Caldecott Honor winner Grace Lin pairs the natural mischief of a sweet young child with the magic of winter for a story you'll want to read every cozy night or snowy day. 

Ages: 4-8

Find it here, $13.39

photo: Simon & Schuster

Hibernate With Me

This adorable book by Benjamin Scheuer will soothe any anxious child with its rhythmic words that we’re betting you won’t be able to help but sing to your little one. And the illustrations by Jemima Williams are just as comforting. For anyone who has ever felt a little scared or lost or shy (and we can all relate to that) this book reminds us all that we can hibernate together, where it’s cozy and safe. 

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $17.99

Monsters Are Afraid of Babies

Everybody knows ... monsters are afraid of babies! From the way babies howl to how sticky and stinky they are, monsters have a great fear of these crawling little creatures. Adorable, funny, rhyming prose will delight your kids as you reassure them not to fear (babies OR monsters). Written by Nicholas Tana and illustrated by Elise Leutwyler and Jessica Abbott. 

Ages: 4-6

Find it here, $14.99

I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed

The Charlie and Lola books are wildly popular with kids of all ages—and with adults, too, because the stand-out voice and witty dialogue are truly a pleasure to read. Here, stubborn Lola refuses to go to bed, and her fabulously sympathetic big brother Charlie steps in to help.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it here, $7.99

No More Monsters Under Your Bed!

We love our kids' wild imaginations but when those imaginations conjure up images of monsters under the bed and prevent your little from falling asleep at night, it's time to bring in reinforcements. Turn to this magical book by Jordan Chouteau with illustrations by Anat Even Or, to help your kiddo conquer her fears. With goofy monster illustrations and even a real no-more-monsters patch your child can wear to bed, this book is sure to drive away those monsters in no time.

Ages 4-8

Buy it now, $13.60

photo: Candlewick

Wild Honey from the Moon

How far will one mother shrew go just to help her sick son? She'll go to the moon, and back. This beautifully illustrated book by amazingly self-taught author/illustrator Kenneth Kraegel is as touching and moving as it is visually pleasing. 

Ages: 4-8

Find it now, $17.99 

photo: Candlewick Press

The Shortest Day

Written by Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis, this magnificent book based on Cooper's "The Shortest Day" a poem written for John Langstaff's Christmas Revels. It is the story of the shortest day, of the Solstice, and how our Yuletide traditions have evolved from the desire to burn against the impending darkness of winter. Absolutely gorgeous. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $16.19

photo: Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.

The Reader

The Reader is an ode to joy for young bookworms, celebrating the thrill of diving into a good book—especially when you really should be asleep. It is the story of a gender-neutral reader who chooses adventure over naptime, and you get to go along for the ride as the reader swims with whales, chases jaguars, and climbs dinosaurs as big as mountains.

Ages: 3-8

Buy it here, $17.95

Ira Sleeps Over

Ira’s sleeping over at his friend’s house for the first time ever. But should he bring his teddy bear? Or will Reggie make fun of him? A winning, chatty voice, wonderfully sketchy illustrations (circa 1972), and a surprise ending make this a hit with kids and adults alike.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $6.96

photo: Scholastic

My Daddy Snores

A humorous take on the perils of sleeping near a snoring parent, My Daddy Snores will give the entire fam a chuckle. When daddy snores, the walls shake and no one seems to get any rest, not even the family pets. 

Ages: 3+

Get it here, $21.95

Upper Elementary & Middle Grade

photo: HarperCollins

Goodnight Already!

Bear is so tired, he feels he could sleep for months. His neighbor Duck, on the other hand, has never felt so awake. Maybe he’ll just go see what Bear is up to. A hilarious all-dialogue story, great fun to read aloud and reminiscent of Elephant and Piggie.

Age: 4-8

Get it here, $7.94

Astronaut Annie

Annie’s career day at school prompts her family to guess all of the things Annie wants to be when she grows up—and her family puts their own hopes and dreams into her. She’ll tell the world her story like her reporter grandfather, soar high like her basketball star mom, bake brave like her grandma. But Annie’s dream of being an astronaut takes all those things and more. Bonus info about famous female astronauts and facts about the moon, make this the perfect book for any aspiring astro-lover of any age or gender.

Ages: 6-8

Order now. $12.99

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Read your little rebel to sleep with these bedtime stories and she’ll dream the impossible. This “most funded book in crowd funding history” features short, page-long bios on 100 seriously smart, driven women from around the world, so your little dreamer can learn what it takes to reach the same heights as Freda Kahlo, Jane Goodall and the Williams’ sisters, to name a few. Dream big, kiddos!

Ages: 3-100

Buy it here, $20.14

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, 2: 100 More Stories of Extraordinary Women

Don’t let the title fool you: this recent sequel to the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls collection is appropriate for boys and girls, anytime, day or night. Beautifully illustrated, the book contains 100 outstanding women from Beyoncé to Nefertiti. We promise you'll learn something, too! And with 100 different women, the book will last you all summer long (unless you devour it, like we did, in one sitting). A great book to keep on hand for future essays!

Ages: 3-100

Get it here, $14.99

photo: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Night Gardener

Breathtaking illustrations take center stage in The Night Gardener. Overnight a wise owl has been sculpted into the tree outside William's window, the first of many to come that will bring color and beauty to his drab town. But who is this mysterious gardener who only works at night?

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $3.90

Harold and the Purple Crayon

The classic story of Harold and his artistic adventures has been entertaining kids for over six decades. Follow along as our pajama-clad hero has an expedition of colorful proportions. From drawing landmarks to creating his own purple picnic to finding his way back to bed, this lovely tale should be on every bookshelf.

Ages: 4-8

Order it here, $5.39

Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story

We're not sure what we love the most about this charming bedtime story: the gorgeous illustrations, the sweet storyline that follows the world as it turns in for the evening, or the guided meditation at the end that helps your little wiggle worms settle down for the evening.

Ages: 4-8

Grab it here, $8.97

The Night Knights

Sleeping in the dark can be scary. From monsters under the bed to things that go bump in the night, kids have all sorts of spooky bedtime fears. But never fear, the Night Knights also show up at night, charged with the valiant challenge of protecting kids as they make their way through dreamland. A new release from author Gideon Sterer with beautiful illustrations drawn by Cory Godbey.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it here, $13.19

Goodnight Darth Vader

Bedtime can test any parent’s patience—even Darth Vader. This instant classic by Jeffrey Brown examines how the Sith Lord gets his wild ones in bed. The answer? With a bedtime story full of droids, Yoda, robots, rebels, and furry critters, of course.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $10.93

Charley's First Night

Henry brings home a new puppy, and his first challenge will be figuring out how to get Charley to sleep in a strange, lonely house. His parents said no dog in his room, but that’s the only place Charley wants to sleep. It’s told in lyrical prose and complemented by light, enchanting watercolors.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now, $15.99


Follow the adventures of little Sandy, in whose bedroom tiny stars appear every night. She turns them into magical creatures who stay with her until she falls asleep, and in the morning, she brings them back to life with magical illustrations. It's when a little girl named Morfie shows up at school, and she knows all about the pictures, that things get really interesting. There are a few scary aspects to this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, so we recommend this for your very oldest kids. 

Ages: 10 & up 

Order it now, $7.99

photo: Harper Collis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis' classic tale is a must for pre-bedtime reading. Enjoy a chapter a night as you follow Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy through a magical wardrobe and into Narnia where they battle trials of good and evil. This gateway book is the perfect introduction to the entire series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

Ages: 8+

Get it here, $4.49

photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Princess Bride

Told much in the same humor and whit as the classic film, The Princess Bride is an adventure beyond compare. Pirates, princesses, miracles and of course true love abound in this action-packed novel that is bound to make your kiddos excited for bedtime reading.

Ages: 7+

Get it here, $23.01

photo: Dover Publications

My Father's Dragon

The 1948 classic, My Father's Dragon, has been a family fave for decades. Follow Elmer Elevator as he strikes out to rescue a baby dragon from Wild Island, where he is selfishly enslaved. Armed with lollipops, rubber bands and chewing gum, Elmer and his adventure will charm your kiddos like he has done for over 50 years.

Ages: 6-10

Get it here, $14.95

—Emma Bland Smith with Gabby Cullen, Karly Wood and Amber Guetebier

Featured image: iStock



The Best 100+ New Books of 2020, According to Our Kids

Amazon Announces Best Children’s & YA Books of 2020

27 Kids Books That Feature Diverse Characters

15 Books That Feature Asian-American Heroes & Leads

Top Picks For Stories That Celebrate Friendship

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BFFs. Besties. Frenemies. Why do kids have so many names for friends? Maybe it’s because after family, your kiddos’ pals are the greatest force in their lives. It starts with toddler play dates set up by mom, and before you know it they’re inviting kids over for an all-night movie marathon. Read on to discover eight of our favorite books about the power of friendship.

This post is sponsored by HarperCollins publishing’s new HarperAlley graphic novels for early readers, ages 6-10. The novels harness the power of visual learning to engage kids and help emerging readers build their literary skills to become confident, independent readers. Learn more about the graphic novels Pea Bee & Jay, Arlo & Pips and Beak & Ally!

Yo! Yes?

Sometimes the language of friendship is as simple as a “yo!” In this vibrantly illustrated story, two boys from different backgrounds become friends from the start of a tentative greeting. 

Ages: 2-4

Get it here, $7.99

You Are Friendly

This award-winning book teaches kids there are numerous to connect with others. Inviting someone to play, sharing and being kind are all ways to make and keep friends.

 Ages: 2-4 

Get it here, $7.99


Beak & Ally, by Norm Feuti

A brand-new early reader graphic novel series about finding friendship in unexpected places! Ally the alligator is perfectly happy being alone... until one day a noisy bird named Beak lands on her snout. Much to Ally’s annoyance, this chatty bird likes to sing constantly and has chosen a nearby tree to build his new nest. Even worse, he insists that he and Ally should be best friends. In fact, he has all kinds of friendship goals in mind, and it seems nothing Ally says will convince him that she’d rather just be alone. Nothing beats peace and quiet... except for maybe a new best friend?


Get it here

The Invisible Boy

No one ever notices Brian, and he’s not included. Everything changes when a new kid comes to class. Brian makes him feel welcome right away, and they form a special bond that helps each of them shine.

Ages: 6-9

Get it here, $10.59

How to Be a Friend

This fun dinosaur character-themed book is a friendship how-to guide. Kids learn how to show someone they want to be friends, how to handle bullies, how to be a good friend, and even conflict resolution.

Ages: 4-8 years

Get it here, $8.99

All Are Welcome

Teaching kids the importance of inclusion is the building block of friendship. This book follows a group of kids of all backgrounds as they are wholeheartedly welcomed at school by their teachers and peers.

Ages: 4-8 years

Get it here, $14.19

Enemy Pie

Jeremy Ross is the new kid on the block and enemy number one. His dad has a special recipe to turn enemies into friends: Enemy Pie. Part of the recipe is spending a whole day playing with the enemy so it may not be easy, but it's bound to work!

Ages: 5-9

Get it here, $13.99

The One and Only Ivan

This Newberry Award-winning book tells the story of Ivan, a gorilla who lives in a shopping mall with humans watching his mundane life through the glass. A baby elephant named Ruby who was taken from her family meets Ivan, and changes his life forever, as only true friendship can.

Ages: 8-12 

Get it here, $7.99

This post is sponsored by HarperCollins publishing’s new HarperAlley graphic novels for early readers, ages 6-10. The novels harness the power of visual learning to engage kids and help emerging readers build their literary skills to become confident, independent readers. Learn more about the graphic novels Pea Bee & Jay, Arlo & Pips and Beak & Ally!

—Emma Bland Smith & Jamie Aderski

13 Construction Books Every Little Builder Needs

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Got a little builder in your household? Tap into their love of all things construction and get them engaged in reading with a few of these books that they will definitely dig. From old classics to new favorites, we’ve got your blueprint for active imaginations and trucks, trucks, trucks. Click through the gallery to see them all.

Little Excavator

Age: 2-5 "Llama Llama" author Anna Dewdney passed away last year but she left behind the nearly-final version of her latest endeavor: <em>Little Excavator</em>. For fans of building and construction, or just fans of Dewdney's, this sweet gem might bring a tiny tear to your eye with its signature rhyming text so true to Dewdney's style and her darling illustrations. Meet Loader, Dump Truck, Backhoe, Crane and the littlest one of all, Little Excavator, who is small but mighty. Available from from <a target="_blank" href="; target="_blank" rel="noopener">Viking, </a>$17.99 <p style="text-align:right;"><em>image courtesy Penguin Random House</em></p> fuck

What is your kiddo’s favorite construction book? Share with us in a Comment below!

—Emma Bland Smith & Amber Guetebier

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At every age, there’s a reason not to pay retail for awesome kids’ clothes. Babies grow lightning fast. Toddlers really do a number on their duds. And big kids? They actually have opinions! (That feeling when you order the most adorable—and expensive—dress from a boutique catalog and your daughter refuses to wear it? Not great.) Happily, here in the Bay Area, we live in a veritable smorgasbord of fabulous kids’ consignment stores. No matter where you live, you can find a local shop packed with used baby and children’s clothes, gear, and toys, for a fraction of the brand-new value. And better yet? Get an even better deal by bringing in your own gently-used items to consign for cash or store credit.

monkei milesPhoto credit: Jade Pugh

San Francisco

Monkei Miles
San Francisco has a dearth of kids’ consignment shops, so budget-conscious locals all cheered when this hip and friendly new boutique, decorated with vintage toys, opened last summer. The owner, a former buyer for fan favorite Chloe’s Closet, has an eye for sourcing cute, cool, high-end used kids’ clothes (sizes newborn to 12), which she sells back at incredible prices. You can also find unique toys, mobiles, locally-made art and children’s jewelry. Keep kids busy in the reading nook, complete with comfy bean bag.

Insider tip: The owner buys used clothes on the spot for cash or credit (no consignment, no waiting!). Call for an appointment.

Monkei Miles
1523 Irving St.
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Chloe’s Closet
This San Francisco consignment favorite has three locations. The Bernal Heights store has long been a go-to for city moms and is on pretty much every “Best Kids’ Clothing Store” list in the city. From toys to costumes to maternity clothes, parents will find everything they’re looking for and will likely go home with much more. The Bernal location sells clothes for kids (from newborn to size 12) and moms, while the Inner Sunset location sells only kids’ items (newborn to size 10). The Berkeley location features kids’ sizes newborn to 12 as well as women’s maternity. (Note that you can consign women’s maternity and non-maternity clothes at all three locations, whether or not they can be sold there.) Be sure to check out the detailed “How to Consign” section on the website before you go. No appointment is necessary, and they buy anytime they’re open.

Insider Tip: The store’s Twitter feed occasionally offers coupons or call-outs for in-demand items.

Bernal Heights
451 Cortland Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m

Inner Sunset
616 Irving St.
San Francisco, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m

1545 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, Ca
Phone: 510-900-6043
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m

chloes closetPhoto credit: Chloe’s Closet

Hunter’s Threads
Nestled in the heart of the Outer Sunset, Hunter’s Threads offers a plethora of second hand scores for your children, AND doubles as a resource for families seeking therapy for developmentally delayed kids. Unique to the consignment world is Hunter’s Threads approach to ascertaining their inventory. Unlike other shops where you are compensated for your hand me downs, HT accepts clothing on a donation basis. This means, you can clear out your clothing without worrying about the re-sale value or the label. The result? An easy KonMari session—clean, clear and donate. Your closet is left with the appropriately sized delicious duds for your wee one. It also means that HT can resell clothing at a lower cost (think Goodwill pricing vs. Chloe’s Closet) as they do not have a consignment fee. Hunter’s Threads also has their own line of clothing, adorned with their logo to drive awareness to the cause.

Good to know: Hunter’s Threads closed on Mondays

Hunter’s Threads
2124 Taraval St.
San Francisco, Ca

Mox Box
Do you crave stylish, fun and affordable clothes for your kids (ages 2-12) but dread paying retail prices and lack the time to browse consignment stores? You might be a great fit for Mox Box, an innovative and convenient personal shopping service for kids, founded by two San Francisco moms. Fill out an online form describing your child’s age, size and taste, then wait with bated breath for a box packed with 14-17 used and new (or all new—your choice) pieces, with brands like Mini Boden and Tea. (Shipping is free!) See the website for pricing and details.

Insider tip: Send back your kids’ own outgrown, gently used clothes for a credit on your next box.


mox box photoPhoto credit: Mox Box

East Bay

Snickerdoodles is a locally owned, family-operated consignment shop specializing in a wide range of high-end but affordable used clothing, shoes and toys. Fabulous deals can be found here. They pride themselves on great service and new sellers are always welcome. The shop is located in charming downtown Danville close to other fun shops and restaurants so you can make an afternoon out of the outing. The consignment hours are limited; see website for specifics and guidelines.

Insider Tip: The owners recommend bringing in clothing laid flat (such as in a laundry basket) for faster service.

442 Hartz Ave.
Danville, Ca
Hours: Mon. 12 p.m.-5 p.m.; Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m.


A Wee Change
Don’t want to spend a fortune on maternity clothes? This well-stocked store in a shopping mall (plenty of parking!) in Walnut Creek has one of the largest selection of used pregnancy gear around, ranging from posh working outfits to nursing bras. They also feature all styles and brands of kids’ clothes up to size 16. It’s easy to keep kids entertained here with the toys they’re welcome to play on and try out, and a TV to distract if all else fails.

Insider tip: Don’t forget to browse the clearance rack, with last-chance buys as low as $1.

1551 Palos Verdes Mall
Walnut Creek, Ca
Hours: Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Growing Pains
Located in an unassuming strip mall in Concord, tiny, pleasantly-packed Growing Pains is a treasure trove of gently used clothes and toys for the very young. You may not find as many items for older kids and teens, but babies and toddlers are extremely well represented. One of the biggest selling points is that unlike many chic consignment shops, this one is happy to buy and sell lower-end brand like Carters and Target, to mix in with the pricier items. Super friendly service makes selling and shopping here a pleasure.

Growing Pains
4425 Treat Blvd., Ste. K
Concord, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 12 p.m.,-5 p.m.

Berri Kids Boutique
While their brick and mortar boutique in Pleasanton has closed, you can shop an even wider selection (and consign by mail) at their sleek website. They have a fantastic inventory of new and like-new children’s clothing, books, toys and gear at 40-60% off retail prices. They buy clothing outright, and accept baby gear on consignment. Clothing items range from 12 months to 10 years. Note that they do not accept clothing brands from big box stores including Circo and Cherokee from Target and Arizona from JC Penny. They also won’t take cribs, mattresses, stuffed animals or car seats. Favorite brands recently found here are Baby Gap, Crewcuts, Tea and Janie and Jack. Check their website for all their detailed guidelines.


Grove Street Kids
Grove Street Kids has been a popular spot for moms with growing kids for over a decade. Owner Anne Marie Elliott is a mom who loves giving back to the community while combining her passions for eco-responsibility and fashion. The efforts have paid off: Her shop has received numerous “Best Kids Boutique” awards in the Bay Area. The charming window displays and play area in the back keep kids and moms happy. You will find clothes for resale from newborn sizes to 10 years old. Women’s and maternity clothing are also found here. See website for consignment days and times, as well as tips on what they accept.

Insider Tip: Popular brands and styles can now be found at their online shop for purchase to pick up at your convenience, or to have shipped directly to you.

1385 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, Ca
Hours: Tues.–Fri., 11 am to 5 pm; Sat., 11am to 3 pm; Closed Sunday and Mondays


Photo credit: Grove Street Kids


Silver Moon Kids
A longtime favorite which moved from Grand Avenue in 2011, Silver Moon carries both new and used apparel for ages 0-12, plus unique and sought-after gifts, toys and books. Looking for a fantastic birthday gift for your hip friend’s toddler? Pick up an Oaklandish onesie, Appaman jersey, the latest Robeez, or trendy Salt Water sandals. As far as consignment, the owner is looking for brand name, current clothing in excellent condition. They pay 40 percent in cash or 60 percent in store credit.

Insider tip: Ask for the cute wrapping and bag for your birthday gift.

Silver Moon Kids
3233 Lakeshore Ave
Oakland, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Ruby’s Garden
From the gorgeous, artsy décor and displays, you won’t believe this place is consignment. Friendly staff, occasional live music, parties and pets—Ruby’s Garden is the perfect model of a welcoming, locally-owned business. They offers both new and used clothing (new clothes up to age 12; used clothes up to age 8), with an emphasis on hip, trendy, vintage and urban. Ruby’s also feature cool books and toys, making the store a great pre-party shopping stop. Sell your own stuff for store credit only; see website for hours.

Insider tip: Most first Fridays of the month, Ruby’s Garden throws a Bunny Party, from 6-8 pm, with juice, snacks, wine–and bunnies!

Ruby’s Garden
5026 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, Ca
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Ruby's Garden-22Photo credit: Ruby’s Garden

North Bay

This consignment shop in downtown San Rafael has been around for almost 30 years and its buyers have developed a keen eye. The shop offers gently used clothing for infants through size 14, and you’ll also find one of the better used toy, book and DVD collections here. Need some adorable decals for the nursery? Chances are Outgrown will have it. Need a baby crib for your little “mama” at home? We bet you’ll find it here. Consignment is accepted every day until 2 p.m.

Insider Tip: Save your Circo and Sprockets gear for the Goodwill bag. This store sticks to its high-end acceptance policy.

1417 4th St.
San Rafael, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Play it Again Kids
At Play it Again Kids, in business since 1991, the owners know what Marin moms are looking to buy. They have a vast inventory that changes every day. The shop won’t accept clothing with stains, nor will they buy battery-operated toys before they’re demonstrated to work, which should give buyers confidence and help sellers sort through what to bring in. No appointment is necessary to sell (although consignment ends at 4 p.m.), and you’ll get 40 percent of the selling price for items priced higher than $50, and 30 percent for items priced lower.

Insider Tip: If you’re selling larger items like furniture or equipment, you have the option of arranging for the store to pick it up.

783 Andersen Dr.
San Rafael, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Sun., 10 a.m.– 5 p.m.

Ella Bunbee
Shop at Novato’s only kids’ consignment store for strollers, gear and seasonal clothes of all brands, in great condition and wonderfully organized. But there’s more to love! The folks at Ella Bunbee are committed to community service. Shoppers are encouraged to fill out a card stating how they will be kind to the community and to clip it to a display branch. The store also accepts shoes for charity for Soles4Souls, and, through the Community Closet program, makes sure that donations that can’t be sold go straight into the hands of families in need.

Insider tip: Need a truly useful gift for a mom friend? Pick up a gift certificate!

867 Grant Ave
Novato, Ca
Hours: Mon., 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (intake only); Tues.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

ella bunbee

North Bay Just Between Friends Children’s and Maternity Consignment Sales Event
This is the North Bay’s largest maternity and consignment sales event. It happens just twice a year and the next sale is September 14–17 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Each sale has over 500 families consigning and boasts over 100,00 items including clothes, toys, books, games and gear. This event is highly organized, so much so that the space resembles a department store. Go to their website for admission information, selling details and free consigning tutorials.

Insider tip: Consigners get to shop first, and if you volunteer to work the sale (as a “Helper”), you’ll get even more back on your sales.

Dates: Set. 14-17, 2017
Sonoma County Fairgrounds
1350 Bennett Valley Road
Grace Pavilion
Santa Rosa, Ca

just between friends

Photo Credit: North Bay Just Between Friends (JBF)

South Bay

Kid to Kid
Kid to Kid is great because they will simply pay you cash on the spot (or offer store credit) for your clothes, toys, books, DVDs and equipment—no waiting until your items sell. Their huge selection runs the gamut: Recent summer finds include great swimsuits, Melissa and Doug toys and a huge stroller selection. You can also find maternity items here. Stop in and leave with several items for the price of one retail piece! There is a play area for kiddos so moms can shop uninterrupted. Follow them on Facebook and stay on top of store promotions and sales (they have two semi-annual sales).

Insider tip: Your kids will love going inside the child-sized door next to the big one!

2666 Homestead Rd.
Santa Clara, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.


bubble kids

Photo credit: Mili T. via Yelp

Outrageous Outgrowns
This huge semi-annual sale is packed with more than 40,000 used items at prices lower than those of the typical consignment store. This amazing three-day extravaganza of buying and selling happens each spring and fall; the next event takes place October 20-22. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of this sale; the high level of organization makes it a breeze to shop. If you plan to sell, be sure to register in advance, and check the website for more information.

Insider tip: Sunday (the last day of the sale) is known as Half Price Day. Many vendors slash prices even further!

Dates: October 20-22, 2017
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, Expo Hall
344 Tully Rd.
San Jose, Ca
Hours: October 21, 22nd and 23rd 2016, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

bird in the nest

Photo credit: Bird in the Nest


Bird in the Nest
This adorable little boutique in downtown San Carlos is a gem. Shop here for a well-curated selection of affordable clothes, toys, books and maternity wear. They have both new and recycled kids clothing, from newborn to 7 years. Call to see what they are currently buying and to make an appointment. Bird in the Nest will pay you cash or trade on the spot, and they also consign larger ticket items.

Insider Tip: This store is easy to visit with your baby or toddler as they have a play area, changing station and nursing chair.

1568 Laurel St.
San Carlos, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Online: thebirdinthenest.comt

The Lovely Bump
Nestled in downtown San Bruno, this light and airy shop will dash any misgivings about shopping consignment. The clothes are pressed and hung on wooden hangers, it’s stroller-friendly with wide aisles, offers a children’s play area (with an in-house turtle!) and features a range of new and almost new clothing, baby linens and gear. Call to set up a selling appointment to sell; guidelines are on the website.

Insider Tip: They provide evening appointments to accommodate working parents.

509 San Mateo Ave.
San Bruno, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Do you have a favorite shopping spot for gently used kids clothes? Tell us in the comments below!

—Erin Feher and Emma Bland Smith

Wet & Wild: SF’s 7 Best Fountains

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They don’t need to have seen Roman Holiday to know that dipping a few fingers (or toes) in a magnificent city fountain is a magical experience. And since this summer is already shaping up to be a hot one (and our drought has been declared over for now), it’s the perfect time to get to know these gurgling, gushing works of art. So skip the hassle of the pool and hunt down one (or all) of these majestic water features. Scroll down to learn more.

levi's fountainPhoto: Emma Bland Smith

Halprin Fountains (Levi’s Plaza)
These two fountains may be the city’s least-known but most fun, located in a hidden park across from the Exploratorium, straddling Battery Street. Kids can run in circles over the criss-crossing concrete slabs, hopscotch across pools, and duck under branches. The faux-rural park (think streams and foot bridges) is a peaceful haven on a busy day. Combine this with a hike up the famed Filbert Steps (they begin here), a stop to look for the parrots of Telegraph Hill and to peek into the enchanted wonderland of private gardens and you’ll forget you’re in bustling SF. Hungry? Continue on past Coit Tower and down into North Beach, where you can grab a slice of pizza at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana or some top-notch Mexican grub at Tacolicious. (See our story about North Beach with kids here.)

Levi’s Plaza
1155 Battery St.
San Francisco, CA

Goldgen Gate Park fountainPhoto: Emma Bland Smith 

Music Concourse (Golden Gate Park)
Want to pretend you jetted off to Paris for the afternoon? Visit the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, located between the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum. With gravel paths, stately wood-and-iron benches, shady plane trees, and three classic round fountains in the middle, there’s a serene, stepped-back-in-time feel here. On weekends artists display their wares and music flows from the band shell, creating a carnival-like atmosphere. Take a lunch break in the De Young café, which you can access without paying the museum entrance fee.

Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA

Palace of Fine Arts 

Redwood Park, Transamerica Pyramid Center
Truly a majestic park in the very center of the city, Transamerica Pyramid Center features two of our most famous towering icons: the Transamerica Pyramid AND Redwood trees. Amidst the grove of about 50 towering redwood trees, all transplants from the Santa Cruz mountains, is a fountain that looks as if it exploded right through the park’s pavers. The fountain commemorates a famous short story by Twain, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and features little frogs sculpted mid leap.

600 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

Ruth Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain
This ode to SF narrowly escaped destruction a couple years ago, when the original plans for the new Apple Store in Union Square included its removal. But public outcry (gotta love SF) ensured not only its survival, but its restoration. The original, but priced up fountain by local artist Ruth Asawa features dozens of whimsical bas-relief scenes of the city, all done in bronze. And now, with the renovated plaza beyond, this is a lovely place to find a quiet moment within one of the more bustling areas in town.

345 Stockton St. (at Post)
San Francisco, CA 94108

photo by authorPhoto: Emma Bland Smith 

Mermaid Fountain (Ghirardelli Square)
This small but sweet gem sits in Ghirardelli’s beautiful brick main square. It was created by Ruth Asawa, one of San Francisco’s most famous and cherished artists, known for her sculptures. This fountain is among her more accessible and classical works, and children will be charmed by the two lovely mermaids, one of whom tenderly cradles a mer-baby. After dropping in a few pennies, pop into the two chocolate stores for your free samples (no trip is complete with them!), then let the kids explore the square.

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA

huntington fountainPhoto: Emma Bland Smith 

Fountain of the Tortoises (Huntington Park)
Feel like a well-heeled native with a visit to Huntington Park. Perched at the top of Nob Hill, between the Fairmont Hotel and Grace Cathedral, this small park features a cozy playground (currently being remodeled), a grassy field popular with local dog-owners, and the pretty little Fountain of the Tortoises. Potty time? Step into the posh Fairmont lobby or visit the dim, cool cathedral. You can’t get more San Francisco than this! Tip: The fountain was recently lit, so try for an evening visit if your tots are night owls.

Yerba Buena Gardens fountainPhoto credit: Google images

MLK Memorial Fountain (Yerba Buena Gardens)
There are so many reasons for families to frequent the urban center known as Yerba Buena Gardens: the bowling alley, ice skating rink, Metreon movie theater, awesome sunken playground, Children’s Creativity Museum and live theater (the Bay Area Children’s Theater puts on plays here). Add the biggest fountain on the West Coast to the list and it’s officially a must-visit. Visually, it’s stunning: a massive wall of falling water. But the real attraction is walking behind it, where you can read quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., etched on the wall. Inspiring.

Do you have a favorite urban fountain that the kids like to splash in? Tell us in the comments below! 

–Erin Feher and Emma Bland Smith

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Kids love to dream about becoming inventors. After all, tinkering and creativity come naturally to them. These picture and chapter books revel in the magic of creations and innovation while illuminating the other processes that are critical for success: curiosity, imagination, problem solving, and most of all, persistence. Flip through the album below to discover 13 stories that’ll get their gears spinning.

<h2>Rosie Revere, Engineer</h2> Age: 4-8 This best-selling book about a little girl with big dreams has spawned several equally fun sequels (<em>Iggy Peck, Architect</em> and <em>Ada Twist, Scientist</em>). The illustrations support the theme with a blocky font and grid background, and the bouncy rhyme begs to be read aloud. The awesome hook here is that Rosie is the descendent of the famous Rosie the Riveter and is determined to follow in her grandmother’s groundbreaking footsteps. Available at <a target="_blank" href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1472561940&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=rosie+revere+engineer"></a&gt;, $10.59.fuck

Which book do you want to read with your kids? Share with us in a comment below!

—Emma Bland Smith

14 New Books That Feel Like Old Classics

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During the summer, a great list of new reads is like a seventh-inning stretch for little minds. Get your budding literati amped up about reading with these 14 page-turning picture and chapter books. They may look and sound like the favorites your kids ask for night after night, but each one is a newfangled adventure waiting to be discovered. Scroll through the flip book below and we promise, the days of bugging them to fulfill summer reading requirements are over.

<strong>If they love <i>The Carrot Seed</i>, try <i>And Then It’s Spring. </i></strong> Waiting isn’t easy—but patience and faith pay off in beautiful ways. That’s the simple but powerful message in both these books about a child and a garden. The delightful <em>And Then It’s Spring </em>uses lyrical prose and ethereal watercolors to make its point about plants and seasons. Be sure to also check out the author’s second (and equally lovely) book, <em>If You Want to See a Whale.</em> Good for: ages 3-8 Available at<a target="_blank" href=";qid=1434805830&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=and+then+it%27s+spring&quot; target="_blank">,</a> $13.01.fuck

Which new book will you read to the family this summer? Share with us in a Comment!

—Emma Bland Smith

Feature photo: KOMUnews via flickr

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It’s not really surprising that books like Alice and Wonderland, The Adventures of Narnia, and Harry Potter are so popular with young readers. Little kids really do believe in magic, and older ones want to still believe. Honestly, what’s not to love about a world where a wand does your bidding, unicorns roam the forest, and there’s a flying broom with your name on it? These 13 books, for ages three and up, celebrate kids’ delight in all things magical.


Age: 4-9 A frog finds a “Handsome Prince Spell” in a old book—with the instructions missing. By tearing out words and combining them in different ways, he eventually manages to make his dream come true (If only he’d read the small print: “Handsome Prince Spell will be reversed upon the kiss of a genuine princess.”). The fun involves spelling and wordplay, so this book will appeal to both beginning readers and kids learning their letters. Available at <a target="_blank" href=""></a&gt;, $16.99.fuck

What’s your favorite magical read? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Emma Bland Smith



Plant a Love of Gardening with 15 Great Reads

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There’s so much kids can learn from working a garden plot—science, focus, empathy, and that skill we never stop struggling with, patience. These 15 beautiful books will set the tone and have your little ones raring to get out and get dirty; dig through the slideshow to see them all.

And Then It’s Spring

Age: 4-8 A quiet book, written in the second person (“First you have brown. You have brown all around”) in an appealingly run-on way, this is one of the most memorable and enchanting gardening books of all time. The narrative is matched with ethereally-light but detail-packed illustrations, making it best for sharing one-on-one. Available at <a target="_blank" href="; target="_blank"></a>, $8.98. fuck

What’s your favorite book about gardening? Share with us in a comment below!

—Emma Bland Smith


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Looking to give Goodnight Moon a little extra shelf time (and well deserved break)? Freshen up family story time by adding 12 fantastic new books for ages 3-11. From early readers to chapter books and graphic novels, flip through the album below to discover your budding bookworm’s latest literary fave.

Peg + Cat: The Race Car Problem

Ages: 3-7 Peg and Cat, stars of the popular math-based PBS animated show, have their own book! Here, the adorable duo create a car and enter it in a race. In order to win, they’ll have to draw on all their math skills, bringing us on a rollicking adventure in the process. Love it? Look for the next two in the series: <em>The Chicken Problem</em> and <em>The Pizza Problem</em>. Available at <a target="_blank" href="; target="_blank"></a>, $12.99.fuck

Do you know of new kiddo-captivating reads? Share with us in the Comments! 

—Emma Bland Smith