Bedtime History: Inspirational Stories for Kids and Families
By Erin Curley,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Short bedtime stories on slightly accurate history.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this podcast.
Breck talks about historical figures, but it is very broad and there are few names and dates. The podcast is formatted more as a story than as an educational source. Some of the histories are not completely accurate and many missteps take place in the earlier seasons.
Breck talks about bravery and "impossible" odds, making it relatable to the audience. But the podcast format is about the stories, not necessarily about the positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Breck tells the stories of historical and modern figures who face obstacles and perilous journeys. These figures include first woman Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner and Miguel Hidalgo, the Mexican priest that helped Mexico become free of Spanish rule. Highlights brave, innovative and groundbreaking figures of history around the world.
Stories sometimes include people of diverse backgrounds and cultures like a telling of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. More diverse episodes can feel few and far between. Missteps take place, particularly in earlier seasons, such as Breck repeating that European explorers "discovered the Americas" which ignores the Indigenous people already living there. In another episode, Breck observes that "when [Lewis and Clark] met Sacajawea and her husband, they knew they would be a perfect fit" -- which feels like an oversimplification of kidnapping and trafficking. But the cultural sensitivity does improve in later seasons.
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Violence & Scariness
Breck tells suspenseful stories, such as the 2018 incident where a young soccer team was trapped in a cave in Thailand, running out of oxygen and given sedatives before being rescued weeks later.
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Products & Purchases
There is an ad before each episode.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bedtime History: Inspirational Stories for Kids and Families covers broad topics, sometimes oversimplifying events. There are suspenseful stories, including that of the soccer team trapped in the Tham Luang caves in Thailand. Cultural blunders occasionally occur, such as an attempt to describe Día de los Muertos from an anthropological standpoint, and where the introduction of the story involves podcast creator Breck LeSueur reading the lyrics to a song from the Disney movie Coco. Effort and warmth can be heard in the narrator's voice, but the podcast's broad generalizations don't always hit the mark and may need further explanation from caregivers.
Where to Listen
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What’s It About?
BEDTIME HISTORY: INSPIRATIONAL STORIES FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES breaks down the tales of historical figures, modern icons, and current events into bedtime stories. Occasionally with the help of a child narrator, creator and host Breck LeSueur talks about what people faced and how they overcame difficulties. While different episodes can touch on different cultures, such as the 2018 cave rescue of a Thai soccer team or Día de los Muertos, the stories are told from an American point of view and can feel limited for that reason. However, as the seasons evolve, so does Breck's storytelling.
Is It Any Good?
The podcast is charming, well-intentioned, and Breck's voice is friendly and parental. As the seasons in Bedtime History progress, the podcast becomes more culturally sensitive. However, an American-centric view persists and feels more evident when Indigenous or international stories are being told.
On sound, music is used to evoke tone and create transitions but can often be jarring. But when a child helps Breck tell the narrative, as they do in various episodes, it lends a homemade, familial quality to the production. It's clear Breck created this podcast with his own children in mind, and that sense of warmth is pervasive.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the stories in Bedtime History: Inspirational Stories for Kids and Families are similar or differ from other bedtime stories they've heard or grew up with. Is there a running theme? What makes a story good for winding down after a long day?
The people in Bedtime History often face great obstacles. How would you approach some of the situations that take place in different podcast episodes?
Would you want to be friends with the subjects of these stories? Why or why not?
- Release date: September 13, 2016
- Genre: History
- Average Run Time: 9 minutes
- Website: https://bedtimehistorystories.com/
- Host: Breck LeSueur
- Publisher: Independent
- Pricing structure: Free
- Topics: History
- Last updated: April 6, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Listen
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