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6 Favourite Bedtime Stories [Japanese and Arabic]

6 Favourite Bedtime Stories [Japanese and Arabic]

Create fond memories of your home language that your child will remember for a lifetime.

 At Little Dunya Books we realise how important bedtime stories are for nurturing a bilingual child. Creating a routine of reading story books in your home language at bedtime is the best way to ensure children maintain an interest in their language and culture well into adulthood. 

Tracking down the perfect bedtime story that:

  • helps relax your child's mind
  • provides invaluable time to learn about their culture
  • is enjoyed by the child and their caregiver

can be difficult even when your home language isn't a minority language.

And so, we've selected some of our favourite Arabic and Japanese story books for bedtime that suit babies to older children. 


To read more about the benefits of bedtime stories visit: 


Japanese 日本語

Night Sounds  よるのおと

Night Sounds, by Shigeru Tamura, has won many awards and you will see why as soon as you open this beautifully illustrated Japanese story book. The book begins with the sound of crickets chirping "Ri Ri Ri Ri Ri", creating a feeling of peace and quiet. There is also very little text which makes children feel the silence of nighttime as though they're right there with the boy as he shines his torch at the various inhabitants of his garden. 

This is a wonderful book for helping children settle their minds ready for sleep as they listen to frogs croaking and trains whistling from afar. While recommended for babies and toddles, this picture book is sure to delight older children also as the simple words and repeating Hiragana can aide them to read independently. 

Recommended Age: 0 - 3 years



Night Bear  よるくま

An enchanting Japanese picture book by Komako Sakai; " Night Bear" is sure to capture the hearts of young children with the antics of a young boy and a lost bear.

This is a whimsical story of a boy who, after going to bed, is woken by a bear cub looking for his mother. The two become friends on their journey to find the bear cubs mother during the night, visiting honey shops and playgrounds along the way. 

The soothing dark colours of this book will have children yawning in no time and falling asleep with the warm feelings of a bear finding his mother. 

Recommended Age: 3 - 5 years



The Way Home in the Night  よるのかえりみち

"The way home in the night" is a famous picture book by author Akiko Miyakoshi. It has been regarded as one of the best Japanese picture books for bedtime with beautiful sombre illustrations and a calming storyline.

The story is about a little rabbit who peers through the windows of houses while snuggled in his mother's arms, watching the animals who live there spend their night in their own way. These little peeks into others lives will be sure to enhance your child's imagination. 

This charming Japanese bedtime story is a beautiful art piece that children will want to pass down to their own children, keeping their language and culture going through generations. 

Recommended Age: 6+ years



 Arabic  العربية

No Longer Afraid  لا أخاف

"No Longer Afraid" is an empowering Arabic picture book by popular Arabic author Fatima Sharafeddine. It's a perfect book for children that are scared of loud noises at night, the dark and sleeping alone. 

Children will relate to Yasmina in this story as she conquers her fears of night time with the help of her loving mother. A short and sweet story before bedtime, this picture book will leave your little one feeling calm and confident to go to sleep. 

Recommended Age: 1 - 3 years


I Don't Want To Sleep  لا أحب النوم

A charming story about bedtime routines; this popular Arabic story book is sure to be a favourite to read before sleep. Children will empathise with the young boy who wants to stay up and play but who also loves his routines before bed.

Putting cosy pyjamas on, a bedtime story, getting tucked in and finally a kiss on the cheek. A comforting story to remind children that want to stay up and play that going to bed is just as nice. 

Recommended Age: 3 - 5 years


Sleep Zaina Sleep  نامي يا زينة

Is your child scared to go to sleep because of nightmares? Renowned Arabic picture book author Taghreed Naajjaar has created a story to assist with such fears by reminding children that dreams can also be wondrous and amazing, where we use our imagination to do and see all kinds of lovely things.  

The beautiful and creative illustrations of dreams featuring birds, ice cream, mermaids and flowers, will have your child looking forward to falling asleep and dreaming, even if they might get a bit scared once in a while. 

Recommended Age: 3 - 5 years

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  • Melissa Johnston