bedtime stories for kids & sleepy adults

It's late June and here in the Northern Hemisphere, we find ourselves at the Summer Solstice (June 21 at 5:13 AM here in Florida). It's the astronomical start of summer, but in traditional reckoning of time, this time of longest days and shortest nights is thought of as the height of summer, hence its traditional name: Midsummer, for the days have been growing longer up until this point, and now, they begin to grow shorter. For centuries, St. John's Day, June 24, has been known as Midsummer Day, and its eve, the night before on June 23, has long been considered a magical time (much like Christmas Eve is at the opposite side of the wheel of the year).

William Shakespeare certainly reckoned time this way and so for Episode No. 4 of our Stay Awake Bedtime Stories series, we invite you to Stay Awake with John Cutrone as he reads you A Midsummer Night's Dream, in a story version adapted from both Shakespeare's play and from A Midsummer Night's Dream for Children, which was written by Edith Nesbit in 1899. Our version is an updated mash-up of the two.

Note to adults (both sleepy and otherwise): If you know the story, you know that one character is transformed for a spell into a donkey, and our version makes use of an alternate word that begins with A to describe both the donkey and the character. The word is a legitimate alternate word to "donkey," but if you feel hesitant about the use of the word in describing a person who is stubborn and a bit too persistent, then you may wish to review the video before viewing it with your kids.

Our bedtime stories series began just before Halloween with a magical retelling of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in a performance of "The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane" by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk. This episode is still available, too, and it's a delight no matter what time of year. We also invite you to Stay Awake with John Cutrone as our JCBA Director tells the tale of Pierre, a boy who didn't care. It's a story by Maurice Sendak. You can also stay awake with British artist Davy McGuire as he reads "That Pesky Rat" by Lauren Child. This is what Stay Awake is all about: Great tales, from us to you, as we gather JCBA friends from around the world to tell stories and read children's books. Our goal is to help your little ones fall asleep. (Kids, don't tell the adults, but our plan is to keep you up with us while the adults catch 40 winks. But that's just between us.)

Watch all our episodes right here at the Stay Awake tab at We hope to release a new bedtime story every month or so. If you have a good story or if you are a good reader, contact us and let's chat about the possibility of getting your tale on the air. Enjoy staying awake with us!


Since everything we do, of course, is brought to you by you, we are seeking sponsors for the Stay Awake series. If your company is interested in books or in kids and families, no matter what shape and form those families take, we'd love to hear from you to build this grass roots global community program. Sponsorships are credited in each storytelling video. All it takes to sponsor a story is $100, which helps us pay for performance rights, where necessary, and helps provide a small stipend for our storytellers (and sometimes our storytellers are sponsors, too, by donating their time and talent). Would you or your company like to be an Executive Producer? Larger contributions make programs like Stay Awake sustainable and will be credited in every episode. Contact us through JCBA Director John Cutrone ( to get details on sponsorships. The process, like a good bedtime story, is ridiculously simple. And in the words of one of our Stay Awake authors: "Nothing you do for children is ever wasted."

While the world is fast asleep,
a story's better than counting sheep.