Bedtime Stories for Kids Who’ve Outgrown Nursery Rhymes (and Stories f – Evereden

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Bedtime Stories for Kids Who’ve Outgrown Nursery Rhymes (and Stories for You Too!)

We all have our evening skincare routines, bath time rituals, no-laptops-in-bed rituals—perhaps even a cup of herbal tea (or something stronger) before bed. But one of the greatest joys of becoming a parent is the bedtime stories ritual with our kids, when we get into our coziest PJs, crack open a storybook, and get lost in a world beyond our own. Teaching your kid to read by reading books out loud is discovering the magic of words—of the imagination—all over again. This bedtime ritual doesn’t have to end when your child learns to read on their own, either. By setting aside time every night to read together, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to finally catch up on your book club’s monthly pick—and helping your child become an even better reader.

Don’t think of this as another thing to add to your to-do list—or a chore for your child. Keep bedtime stories enjoyable for both of you with the following guidelines:

  1. Keep it occasional. All good things in moderation, including bedtime stories. Now that your kid can read on their own, give them space. Either pick a few nights of the week that you read together, or schedule 10 minutes of reading together after reading alone.
  2. Tie it in. Ever become compelled to read a book—after you watched the movie based on it? Offer to rent the movie version after the two of you have finished reading the book.
  3. Think outside the book. We are lucky to live in a world where it is so convenient to consume information in so many different ways, from New Yorker short stories to webtoons to Taylor Swift’s album notes.

Now comes the hard (but fun) part: How do you choose which book to read? We’ve compiled a list of our favorites to help you get started.

To find a clue:

For you:

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

In this riveting classic, detective Hercule Poirot is stuck on a moving train from Istanbul to London—where a murder has just occurred. Can he solve the mystery before the passengers, aka all the suspects, debark? 

For your child:

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Who hasn’t dreamed of hiding out in a museum? Claudia Kincaid, a little girl growing up in the suburbs, wants something…more. So she runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City—and she finds herself in middle of a mystery: The museum procured a Michelangelo statue for the bargain price of $250. But is it real?

To empower and inspire:

For you:

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi

This long essay from the Nigerian author defines feminism for the 21st century. You may recognize it being excerpted in Beyoncé's 2013 hit, “Flawless.”

For your child:

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

Give your child—regardless of gender—the opportunity to have multiple feminist heroes and role models with this beautifully illustrated survey of amazing American women throughout history. 

To be in Vogue:

For you:

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

Iconic fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg has had an unparalleled life, from marrying (and divorcing) a prince to founding one of the most important brands in American fashion. She is also extremely pithy and full of witty quips in real life and in her memoir.

For your child:

Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes by Eva Chen

Instagram executive and former fashion editor Eva Chen, a protégée of Anna Wintour, combines girl power and fashion fairy tale with this, of course, Instagrammable picture book about Juno Valentine, a fictional girl who looks a lot like her adorable daughter, Ren.

To enchant and mesmerize:

For you:

Circe by Madeline Miller

Mythology is traditionally told from the perspective of a man, with the women in the stories being passive objects to which things just “happen.” Classicist Madeline Miller tells the story of the nymph Circe not from the perspective of Homer’s Odysseus (as it is usually known), but from Circe’s own perspective. It’s a riveting New York Times best seller with themes that resonate with us today—as mythology is meant to do.

For your child:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This award-winning book, based on Chinese folklore, is beautifully written and illustrated by Grace Lin. A poor village girl, Minli, embarks on a quest to help reverse her family’s fortunes. 

To rally the troops:

For you:

You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe

Award-winning historian Alexis Coe’s biography of the first American president, George Washington, is not your grandpa’s presidential biography. This entertaining new book dispels the myths of the Founding Father—and honestly makes ol’ George seem more exciting.

For your child:

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

Grace Campbell is an elementary school student who is outraged that there hasn’t been a female American president yet—oh, we get it. This picture book explains the American electoral process by following Grace as she runs for a mock election in school.

To spark curiosity:

For you:

For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World by Sasha Sagan

Sasha Sagan, the daughter of astronomer Carl Sagan, offers ways to find meaning and magic in our everyday lives—there is an entire chapter dedicated to parenthood worth reading.

For your child:

Super Cool Tech by DK

This expansive book, designed to look like a laptop, offers thermal imaging, X-rays, illustrations, cutaways and more—in other words, it’s not your average picture book. Explore some of the most amazing inventions in human history, and get inspired for the future—possibly invented by your kid?


Main Photo Courtesy of Cassie, @cassanola

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