Publishing: Candlewick Press; Somerville, MA; 2011
Description: Timmy Bear and his mother recount the day in reverse order before he goes to sleep for the night.
Programming: This would be a good bedtime story for individual parents, or a good way for librarians and teachers to talk about time a chain of causes and events, because everything Timmy tells has a cause that came before it. Students might look at other stories, perhaps, popular folk and fairy tales and try to tell them backwards, pointing out what was the cause and what was the effect.
Publishing: Beach Lane Books, New York, 2011.
Description: Ray and Frazee have captured the voice and perspective of a child. They talk about stars in the literal sense, but also how we view stars as a culture-how they might be put on a paper to show good work, or you might be called a star. In doing so, they represent stars as a beacon of hope and inspiration, not just for children, but for all people.
Programming: Before reading, I would prompt children to discuss where they have seen stars. In the night sky, for example, but also maybe in their classrooms and in nature. After reading, have a scavenger hunt (inside, outside, or both) to see if children can spot stars. The class might also discuss that some stars form shapes, or constellations, and they might look at some of those. Crafts could include star wands or badges, or each child could write on a star the qualities they possess that make them a star.
Publishing: Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2012
Awards: 2013 Notable Children’s Book
Description: A little girl who does not want to go to sleep asks her parents if everything in the world sleeps. They mention several animals and the way they pass the night (or day, in the case of the bats). Soon, the little girl falls asleep, just like the animals mentioned. The illustrations are at once colorful and soothing, making this a great bedtime story.
Programming: This book would do well with discussions about sleep cycles and the rhythms and cycles of nature. Students might research and make lists of animals that sleep in the day versus the night, animals that hibernate, and/or animals that sleep in trees or underground.
Publishing: Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2008.
Awards: Caldecott Medal Winner
Description: This night-time routine book works from outside the house (“this is the key to the house”) to inside a story book, back out again, and finally back in through the same series of steps. The black and white cross-hatched drawings are lightened with a soft yellow that mimics the glow of a lamp or the moon. This is a great bedtime story in the same vein as Goodnight Moon.
Programming: Kids could discuss/write about their own night-time routines. Because this book is inspired by the rhyme “This is the Key of the Kingdom,” it might be interesting to discuss the original rhyme and where/how the two differ. The words to one version of the rhyme can be found here: