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Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?

08/08/2015

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” Marcel Proust

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?- Collage of Classic Bedtime Storybooks

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember? - Collage of Popular Bedtime Storybooks

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember? – Collage of Popular Bedtime Storybooks

“Ghosts are not what I remember of my childhood; but somehow they infuse memories of myself as a child, the little girl in a storybook, with ghosts hovering around her.” Yolanda A. Reid

In a poll of 2,000 British mothers with children under the age of seven, only one in five said they read a book to their child every night. In fact, 36 percent of parents don’t read bedtime stories to their children at all.
Though some parents cited time restrictions and stress as preventing them from tackling a book at night, nearly half of those surveyed said that their children simply preferred television, toys, or computer games to books. And perhaps most sadly, four percent said their children don’t own a single book. Bedtime stories for children dying out, NY Daily News, 2013

 

What are your memories of bedtime stories? We all have them … sorta! True, our memories of bedtime stories might not be what our parents think or remember. Why is that? Well, let’s just say that while bedtime meant bath/bedtime stories/sleep for adults, perhaps it meant bath/bedtime drift off to sleep/deep sleep for little kids. I grew up in a house full of books. My Dad was an avid reader, and my Mom loved her magazines, cooking books and esoteric novels.  Yet, when I think of books and my earliest memory of them, I remember, vaguely, being read to by the fireplace on a cold winter’s day or curling up in bed with my mom on a Saturday morning to share a book. What about bedtime?  What about all the books shared in the collages above and below? I read them alright but, not necessarily at night.

My daughters had some insights for me. I remember buying and reading almost all of the classic, popular books featured in this post, and we still have many of them on our bookshelves at home. But my kids remember it differently. When I asked them for their favorite bedtime stories/memories, they assured me that they read all these books … by themselves! Em mm. How could that be possible? Oh, they remember bedtime alright but, they remember taking a bath, playing in the bathtub with their rubber ducks and bath toys, being playfully chased down the hallway, getting their hair brushed and getting tucked in bed. And those bedtime stories we thought they were listening to?  Let’s just say they were counting sheep in La La Land as we droned on about Peter Rabbit and Mrs Piggle Wiggle.  Above and below are collages of some books I recall.

“Memories of childhood were the dreams that stayed with you after you woke.” Julian Barnes

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?- Collage of Popular Bedtime Storybooks

“I remember, I remember
How my childhood fleeted by,—
The mirth of its December
And the warmth of its July.” Winthrop Mackworth Praed
“These are the quicksilver moments of my childhood I cannot remember entirely. Irresistible and emblematic, I can recall them only in fragments and shivers of the heart.” Pat Conroy

What really goes on at bedtime and what about bedtime stories?  You see, when I read the poll conducted with 2,000 British moms above, I was mortified. How could parents not read to their little ones at night? How could 4% not even own a children’s book? Frankly, given our modern day, two working family homes, it come as no surprise that bedtime might just be that … time for bed. It also doesn’t surprise me that kids, after a long day of activities, play dates, prep classes and whatnot, remember the pre-bedtime activities more than the cuddly night time read of say, Goodnight Moon.  If we stopped to really think back to those early years, we might also remember that we had time restrictions and a need to unwind after a stressful day. It’s not that parents don’t read to their kids anymore, and it’s not that our children don’t have memories of childhood books, it’s just that opinions differ on when those books were read. It’s a matter of our separate memories of the time of day that books were actually read/shared.

But what about all those books we bought/believed we read to the kids … at night?  My daughters said: “Look Mom, our memory of reading books kicked in around 3 years of age and, by then, we could read our picture books and understand them.” Okay, so they did internalize the reading sessions we shared and because we read books together (Forget bedtime: we know they weren’t paying attention because they were sleepy), they became early and avid readers themselves.   As I thought about our exchange, I traveled back to my childhood memories of reading and, just like my kids, my fondest memories were of curling up in my Dad’s Study and pulling books off his shelf to read. Back in the day, you could purchase a set of leather bound classics to create a home library. My Dad had a wide range of books and it gave me enormous pleasure to pluck a book off the shelf and attempt to read it. Some of the books were more challenging to read, and I would skim and infer what was intended as I read along.  As I looked through the list of books featured here, I was drawn to a few that were solidly part of my childhood reading, Winnie The Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Wind In the Willows, Paddington Bear, Madeline, Corduroy, The BFG, Goodnight Moon and some others. I remember all of them fondly and how much pleasure they gave me, and I am pleased that I shared my love of books with my children. Bedtime or not, they are still avid readers.

More Below!

“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.” Graham Greene

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember?

Bedtime Stories: What Do You Remember? – Collage of Classic, Popular Bedtime Storybooks

Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future. Mattie Stepanek

 

What about your memories of bedtime stories? What do you remember? Did you read bedtime stories to your kids? Which ones were your/their favorites? As I was reflecting on books to include in this post, I found myself thinking about how our memories are created and what people cherish most: We capture snippets of moments and build new memories around them. I was a shy child so books formed a formidable part of my memory bank. My kids love books, video games, TV, music and technology; snippets of those interests infuse their memories of childhood. Often, what is remembered is the emotion; the love, warmth, struggle, and life’s ups and down tend to linger longer … and they all make for good reading. In researching books for this post, I came across two articles that were a great help in jugging my memory of favorite books. They are: 50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child AND 15 Classic Children’s Books That Started as Bedtime Stories. Check out their recommended books and add a few more to your list. Is there a book that you don’t see mentioned or featured that was part of your childhood? Do tell.

As Marcel Proust said in the opening quote of this post, “There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” What was your favorite book? What memories do you have of yours?  Do share!

My fellow bloggers were equally creative with their selections. Check out how others interpreted the theme – Bedtime Stories – below.

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Bedtime Stories –  What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

Positive Motivation Tip: Books and reading conjure up all sorts of memories or none at all for us… We choose what we want to remember… Whatever we recall, let’s cherish the memory. It is the emotion that is evoked not so much the bedtime storybook.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: (See below) via Wikipedia

Goodnight Moon
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Winnie the Pooh
Paddington Bear
“Paddington (1975) meeting Mr and Mrs Brown” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
Wind In The Willows
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Babar the Elephant
The Hobbit
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman/ Caroline Binch
“The Big Orange Splot” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“Myfathersdragon” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing book cover” Via Wikipedia –
“CM ThreePigs” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“News Zen” by It is believed that the cover art can or could be obtained from the publisher.. Via Wikipedia –
“Cover of Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“Curious George” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“The Velveteen Rabbit pg 1” by Margery Williams – Archive.  Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –
Little Bear
Wizard of Oz
“Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944) – Page: Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia –
“White House Clifford the Big Red Dog, 2003” by White House photo by Susan Sterner. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia “Frog and Toad Cover”. Via Wikipedia –
“Seuss-cat-hat” by Copyright holder is Random House/ Seussville Via Wikipedia
The Story of Ferdinand
A Snowy Day by Esra Keats
“ALEXANDER TERRIBLE HORRIBLE” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
The Hungry Caterpillar
“Corduroy” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“The Hundred Dresses” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“The Paper Bag Princess” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“Strega Nona (Tomie dePaola book) cover art” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“The Giving Tree” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
“CM mosquitoes” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears written by Verna Aardema
“Madeline-1939” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“Where The Wild Things Are (book) cover” Via Wikipedia –

“Pippi Långstrump” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
Thomas The Tank Engine
“TheBFG” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“MotherGooseInProse” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –
“JustSoStories” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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76 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/08/2015 3:41 am

    I love this post! We didn’t own a lot of books at my house, but my brother, sister, and I TREASURED our Saturday morning bus ride to the public library where my mother would drop us off in the Children’s Room to choose a book each, while she headed to the main section to pick out her books for the week. Those trips made me a reader. And a writer. As a teacher for 35 years, not one day went by that I didn’t read aloud to my 2nd, 3rd, or 4th graders. It was hands down my favorite part of the day.

    Like

    • 09/08/2015 7:01 am

      Thank you and what a beautiful memory you just shared! I think the bedtime story secret is that most households barely did it because the kids and the ADULTS! were exhausted by bedtime. I love your bus ride share … very visual. ❤

      Like

    • LifeAsAConvert permalink
      13/08/2015 5:57 pm

      That is so cool. I remember my Dad would take us to the library and basically let us loose. We read so many books. I’m glad my kids have taken the same interest in reading as I did.

      Like

  2. 09/08/2015 9:05 am

    I remember a lot about my mom reading to me when I was little. My first favorite as a toddler was “Jim Jump” and she can still recite most of it by heart!

    Like

  3. viviankirkfield permalink
    09/08/2015 9:48 am

    I’ve shared this post everywhere, Eliz! My favorite time as a child was always a time when I had a book in my hand. I’d walk home from the library with so many, I looked like a walking stack of books. My mom did read to us every night, I read to my kids every night, and either I or my daughter read to her son every night. He is six and can read them himself, but he still loves to be read to at bedtime. It is that warm, cuddly moment at the end of the day when all is right with the world, no matter what.
    As to which are my favorites? Your collage has them all…except perhaps Caps for Sale, which I love also.

    Like

    • 06/09/2015 12:11 pm

      Oh dear Vivian, my kindred spirit, thank you! I spent many childhood hours with a book glued to my face and my memories are of enjoying reading more than anything else. If I was read to, which I probably was, it has long faded from memory. I read to my kids and have photos to prove it but, they remember the joy of learning to read by themselves and that is what I also remember. Books open worlds to us that we could never fully live so, I am grateful. Thank you for sharing my post, it means a lot to me. As my health allows, I will visit again. Thank you! ❤

      Like

  4. Ginger Mommy permalink
    09/08/2015 12:50 pm

    Good night moon is a fave of mine. I read it to all of my children as well.

    Like

  5. Jessica (@YourHealthyYear) permalink
    09/08/2015 2:29 pm

    I remember so many of these books. I even have a few put away for when I have my own kids!

    Like

  6. sacha permalink
    09/08/2015 2:57 pm

    I remember reading the cat in the hat to my son, because I wanted to start a bedtime reading generation lolzz

    Like

  7. Michele permalink
    09/08/2015 3:05 pm

    Although I don’t remember doing this, my Mom reminds me frequently when she is lamenting that my niece might not be reading to her daughter enough. At bedtime, I used to pluck out three or four books and tell her or my Dad to read each one of them a specified number of times–they did–I stayed awake–they fell asleep!! But now I am an AVID reader!!

    Like

  8. kitchnwhisperer permalink
    09/08/2015 3:14 pm

    This brought me back to my childhood! Reading was always an important part of my upbringing and is still a favorite escape for me to this day. Thanks for reminder.

    Like

  9. TweenselMom permalink
    09/08/2015 5:00 pm

    I regret to say that I wasn’t able to take advantage of the years when my kids are still small. They love listening to bedtime stories. I’ll try to make up.

    Like

  10. The Trophy WifeStyle permalink
    09/08/2015 5:06 pm

    Omg so many fantastic books!!! A very hungry catipilar was one of my favorites. Now my daughter has a copy 🙂

    Like

  11. Nicole Lutzy permalink
    09/08/2015 6:05 pm

    Those are great choices. My kids like Good Night Moon, very fitting for bedtime!

    Like

  12. Claudette Esterine permalink
    09/08/2015 6:17 pm

    I am one of those who didn’t have bedtime stories read to them. I made sure that was not my daughter’s experience and I now see that my granddaughter is getting her full share of bedtime stories.

    Like

  13. Shann Eva permalink
    09/08/2015 6:24 pm

    So many great books. I’ve been looking and buying ones at Half price Books lately that I remember from my childhood.

    Like

  14. Rosey permalink
    09/08/2015 7:52 pm

    I remember more of what I read to my kids than what was read to me. It’s fun now to see my son read the same books he loved to my granddaughter.

    Like

  15. Stillblondeafterall permalink
    09/08/2015 8:22 pm

    I have read so many of these books to my kids (or read them myself). Probably my favorite that I saw was “Goodnight Moon”. One I loved but I didn’t see was “Is your Mama a Lama”.

    Like

  16. Curtis Joseph permalink
    09/08/2015 8:38 pm

    Nothing beats a classic Dr. Seuss book, they are tons of fun!

    Like

  17. Eileen Mendoza Loya permalink
    10/08/2015 12:34 am

    I don’t actually have a favorite. All I remember is that I had a big picture book of famous fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I liked the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.

    Like

  18. Esme Sy permalink
    10/08/2015 2:28 am

    I remember these stories. My mom read to us until the time that we can read on our own. I also did this with my kids. It’s sad to know that most parents now are not reading stories to their kids at bedtime.

    Like

  19. 10/08/2015 10:08 am

    I remember my mother, who was very keen on efficiency, or her version of it, used to put a classical music record on the player in our room, reasoning that we were bound to be asleep by the time it finished. You have to smile really, because she possibly missed one of the key qualities of the bed time story, which is sharing, of course.

    Like

  20. LifeAsAConvert permalink
    10/08/2015 12:45 pm

    I don’t remember being read to when I was little, but I do read to my little ones. They LOVE Curious George books and anything about animals.

    Like

  21. lizzhollands permalink
    10/08/2015 12:51 pm

    I remember reading most of these books, but I was never read to before bed.

    Like

  22. Taylor Gilmore permalink
    10/08/2015 1:17 pm

    4%?? I’m shocked. I guess it’s too easy to assume most parents are in the habit of reading to their children. I always did and I really thought every one else did as well.

    Like

  23. just1mommysopinion permalink
    10/08/2015 1:55 pm

    Love all of the children’s books. I loved cat in the hat when I was little and my kids love it too! That book will never get old 🙂

    Like

  24. Victoria permalink
    10/08/2015 2:40 pm

    I remember quite a few of these from my childhood. I used to love “Goodnight Moon” especially.

    Like

  25. Travel Quest permalink
    10/08/2015 3:47 pm

    We couldn’t afford to buy books during my childhood days. Instead my mom or dad will tell a story about their life back then or sing us a song. I miss those days when children had moments with parents and not by technology.

    Like

  26. Nova permalink
    10/08/2015 6:48 pm

    Such a wonderful topic, this makes me think of the memories of a bedtime stories. All I know is that I don’t have a favorite because whenever my father tells a story it something the he made up… or if my mom tells a story base on a true one, its quite scary too.

    Like

  27. Sarah Alegado Gavile permalink
    10/08/2015 7:12 pm

    We share the same passion in reading. I’m also a voracious reader. I don’t have the chance to read these bedtime stories before but I started my love of reading with our collection of Bible stories that I just understand by just watching the photos.

    I remember, I couldn’t sleep during siesta or afternoon nap if I won’t read at least one story from any book because it helps me fell asleep. Then my love of books develop when I learned to read. I’m so ecstatic before when I receive a bulk size of pinoy comics from my grand aunt and I’d sneek to the market to rent comics or pocketbooks until my parents caught me. After that, I’ll just settle at the school library and just read any books that interest me especially old stories. Those are my childhood memories.

    Like

  28. Manu Kalia permalink
    10/08/2015 10:24 pm

    This brings memories such as Dr. Seuss bed time stories and Winnie the Pooh.

    Like

  29. Ashley permalink
    10/08/2015 11:20 pm

    I remember a lot of Peter Rabbit as a kid. I also loved (and still love!) Dr. Suess.

    Like

  30. Papaleng Pagulong permalink
    11/08/2015 4:39 am

    Sad to say, My mom never told me any bedtime stories.

    Like

  31. 11/08/2015 7:01 am

    My daughter has been reading The Giving Tree before bed every night. It was my favorite book when I was her age, and I love seeing her enjoy it now.

    Like

  32. Joanne Dewberry permalink
    11/08/2015 10:55 am

    We read a lot of books. We go to library once a week and someone always has their head in a book. I’m British and a Mum and shock horror one of those people who doesn’t read bedtime stories. My eldest usually reads to the youngest and reading is something that encompasses our day not a bedtime routine. Seeing as academically they do well in English I’m not concerned. Enid Blyton, Jeremy Strong and JK Rowling are particular faves at the moment.

    Like

  33. Chubskulit Rose permalink
    11/08/2015 12:24 pm

    I don’t remember my parents telling us bedtime stories when I was a kid.

    Like

  34. 11/08/2015 3:09 pm

    You brought back beautiful memories of long ago I liked Pippi, Winnie Pooh, and many more great times fill sitting under a tree just reading away. But what I like most is when my sister read at bedtime. Thank for sharing.

    Like

  35. Masshole Mommy permalink
    11/08/2015 5:43 pm

    I remember reading Dr.Seuss when I was young. Other than that, maybe a few Golden books, but that’s about it.

    Like

  36. mmgmom permalink
    11/08/2015 6:34 pm

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was my favorite when I was little. My sister and I could read this for hours.

    Like

  37. klg1982 permalink
    11/08/2015 7:14 pm

    Goodnight moon is my favorite bedtime book. I love them all though. I could sit in Barnes and noble all day and look through kids books

    Like

  38. Liz Mays permalink
    11/08/2015 8:19 pm

    Oh my gosh Ferdinand caught my eye. I think I still have that one on a bookshelf somewhere. I have great memories of reading with the kids before bed.

    Like

  39. Carolyn permalink
    12/08/2015 1:28 am

    Our home is a library seriously but I love books and so do my five kids. We have everyone of these and we read every night aloud together.

    Like

  40. Eileen Mendoza Loya permalink
    12/08/2015 2:18 am

    Revisiting your site. I loved looking at all these pictures that remind me of my childhood days. It was such a good time!

    Like

  41. Maria Lianos-Carbone permalink
    12/08/2015 8:42 am

    I remember my mom telling me bedtime stories in Greek – they were old Greek fables, and some Greek mythology.

    Like

  42. aimlessmoments permalink
    12/08/2015 9:17 am

    We have a lot of these books! This is a great roundup of a lot of good ones.

    Like

  43. 12/08/2015 11:02 am

    Goodnight Moon was my son’s favorite-even at 7 he will still pull this book out to read

    Like

  44. Autumn @ Stay gold Autumn permalink
    12/08/2015 12:40 pm

    One of my favorite memories is my Mom reading to me as a child. My favorite books were always fairy tales or fables 🙂

    Like

  45. upliftingfam permalink
    12/08/2015 1:38 pm

    I have read a majority of the books on your list. My favorite are the Cat in The Hat.

    Like

  46. Farrah permalink
    13/08/2015 5:31 am

    Goodnight Moon was one of my favorites!

    Like

  47. miss (@thedealmatch) permalink
    16/08/2015 11:28 pm

    I love the majority of the book you listed above. We love reading books, my kids have to read at least 2 books before go to sleep

    Like

  48. 18/08/2015 1:07 pm

    Duuuuuude this was a great post!! Sorry it took me so long to get to it! Love the bus ride…I remember getting into my Dad’s old station Waco. And heading to the library to get books because we never had money to buy some. I loved hanging out in the Dr. Seuss section and reading Where The Wild Things Are 🙂

    Like

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