Babies and children love to browse through books well before they can read, and if children are enabled to explore their books independently, it helps to plant a love of books and reading from the early years.
“Let children choose their own books, from an appropriate selection. This helps build a lifelong love of reading.” Building Blocks US Dept Health and Human Services.
Children do judge books by the cover: They either can’t or don’t read the book’s spines, making it crucial that they can see the (often beautiful) artwork on the front covers of books.
So, when Geraldine Grandidier, mum and Tidy Books’ company founder set out, nine years ago, to find a bookcase that would allow her young daughter Adele to see the book’s covers, and choose them independently, she had to return home empty handed.
Putting her skills as a violin maker to another use, Geraldine decided to make her own bookcase in her workshop for Adele, which changed the way books are displayed to children at home. As she explains; “Ordinary children’s bookcases, decorated or not, made no sense to me – books fall out. Plus, how can you put such thin books of different sizes on an ordinary shelf? A box doesn’t work either as the kids can’t see the covers. I wanted something that worked well for kids and their books so I created the original Tidy Books Children’s Bookcase.”
Geraldine’s hunch that making books highly visible and accessible was endorsed by education expert, Dr Klaus- Dieter Rossade of the Open University who said of the Tidy Books Children’s Bookcase: “This quality piece of furniture is both a practical storage solution and a learning vehicle offering toddlers and children easy access to their favourite books in a space that is theirs to manipulate.” In other words, having somewhere special to put children’s books gives them a sense of ownership, and makes books a natural part of their environment.
Then as friends saw the new bookcase, and asked ‘Can you make one for me?’ the Tidy Books business was born.
Tidy Books grew after Adele’s brother Emile came along, as Geraldine had more ideas about making kids storage designs that are not just mini versions of adult furniture, but are created with children in mind, and based in everyday family life. Some of what inspires Geraldine in her creations can be found in this article written in Junior recently.
Nurseries and playgroups have also found the Tidy Books Children’s Bookcase and the Tidy Books Box are very useful for creating an attractive reading corner in a compact space.
As children grow up, if they are in the habit of choosing their own books, reading is a pleasure, not a chore, although there can be problems with judging books by their front covers as they progress on to more advanced books as Tidy Books blogger Ian found out when his son Max chose a book because it had zombies on the front!
Some more independent reading resources: Nerdy Book Club has some great reasons to get children taking control over what they read., evidence which is backed up by publishing expert Michael Norris who says don’t associate reading with ‘good’ behaviour
You can read more about how Tidy Books got started, and more about our range of original designs for kids.