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how to create a cool, kid-friendly book nook

Jun 9, 2013 // 9 comments // Categories: books, reading // Tags: , , , , , , , .

5 tricks for creating a rockstar book nookEvery home should have a cozy spot reserved for reading.

Call it what you want–a Book Nook, Reading Corner, Big Book Chair, whatever–but with a few key pieces, your home can have a kid-friendly, totally rockstar book nook in no time.

As part of a kick-off for the Pottery Barn Kids and PBS Kids’ Summer Reading Challenge, I was invited to create my own book nook.

So the kids and I put our heads together and brought together some great pieces from Pottery Barn Kids and some great pieces we had around the house and now? We have a book nook that has been busy from day one.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • How to Create a Kid-Friendly, Totally Rockstar Book Nook: 5 simple tricks.

1.  Keep it kid-centered.  If it’s a kid-centered book nook, kids–your kids–should have some say in the layout and design.  Let them choose colors, let them choose products (if possible), and let them choose books.

2.  Keep it simple.  For us, simple has always been better, and for book nooks, all you need are a few simple components:

  • a bookshelf (or shelves)
  • seating
  • light
  • comfort
  • books!

3. Keep it functional. Books  nooks have to work. They need to draw in little readers like magnets. Like flies to picnic food, like moths to back porch lights, kids to mud puddles. They have to have wide open arms and willing and able to house readers at any time of the day.  They need to be usable spots for reading.

how to create a kid friendly book nook

4. Keep it close.  I like the idea of book nooks being in central locations–or really close to central locations!–because I think it’s really important for parents to be able to jump in and join in the reading fun at any time.  While some think that book nooks must be reserved for tiny spaces or unused crawl spaces, I prefer book nooks to be more like constant, open invitations to cozy up and read as a family or at least with a buddy.

5. Keep it pretty. That’s right. Kids, just like adults, want to be in aesthetically pleasing places. We all appreciate beauty, and we all feel good when we’re around fresh, new, and clean things. Though your book nook doesn’t need to be brand-new, fresh out of the box, if you can add a few ‘new to you’ pieces, it will up its charm and look.  Frame a cool book cover.  Hang your child’s artwork nearby.  Keep a flower from the garden in a vase on top of the bookshelf. It doesn’t need to be super crazy fancy. It just needs to be pretty.

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To create our book nook, our family first made a big decision together: location.

how to make a kid friendly book nook

Though we knew we’d have more space for really making a large reading space in the basement, the reality is that our family is always in the living room. It’s the central spot of our home.  It’s where we spend a lot of our time.

Our basement tends to be cooler, darker, and not as cozy.  It was a clear answer: our book nook had to be in our living room.

how to make a kid friendly book nook

The boxes arrived, and the kids couldn’t wait to crack open our new books!

Then we made some decisions on pieces from Pottery Barn: bookcase, seating, rug, wall hangings, canopy, and books.  Maddy and I sat together for a while and chose:

how to make a kid friendly book nook

Our boxes finally arrived from Pottery Barn, and we got to work.

Well, we kind of got to work. First, we did a lot of popping bubbles and trying out our new beanbag chair. . .

how to make a kid friendly book nook

I was surprised at how easy it was to put together our Cameron 2-Shelf Bookcase.

Cora could jump right in and help with its constructions–no problem.

Then we started doing some furniture moving and really setting up our book nook.

how to set up a book nook

My husband moved the bookcase over, and we touched up the walls.

Then he unfolded our sweet new book nook rug with some help from Brady.

book nook challenge

We slowly added some pieces to our cozy reading corner.  First we moved in our bookshelf, then we added the beanbag chair.

Next we used a frame we had in a different spot on our house that had two slots for photos.  In it? Baby Owen and Maddy at two years old.  Time for an update.

I added two cool, totally fun Spin Art masterpieces that Maddy and Cora made at a local spring fair.  They were thrilled. And I loved how the colors tied in our new beanbag and our walls.

our book nook

Fun Spin Art turned wall art. . .

book nook challenge

Maddy can hardly wait to get settled in her book nook.

our book nook

Love, love, love the Stanton Organization System magnetic boards!

In order to keep our book nook functional, we placed our Stanton Organization System magnetic boards under our newly created art work.

On them, I added age-appropriate book lists for Maddy, Owen, and Cora for summer reading inspiration.

I also included a blank summer reading chart for each child so that any time they read, they can simply add the book to their list! No searching for paper, searching for lists, or searching for their list!

Want your own copy of the summer reading book list? Download it here:  Summer Reading Book Log for little guys (bigger spaces) or Summer Reading Book Log for bigger guys (more lines, smaller spaces).

Want a few more summer reading resources from Pottery Barn Kids? They’ve got some bookmark booklists, certificates, and progress tracker posters. So great.

book nook challenge | teachmama.com

These butterfly pens will stay here. . .

book nook challenge | teachmama.com

. . . so the kids can easily update their Summer Reading Book Logs

Our super-cute butterfly pens are kept cozy and close at hand in a simple, sweet mason jar pen holder.

All I did was super-glue a tie from our rug (talk about recycling!) around the top. Cool. It brought together some of the textures in our little reading corner.

book nook challenge | teachmama.com

Easy way of keeping the book nook kid-centered? Frame their favorite books’ covers!

I wanted to find ways of keeping our book nook kid-centered, so the kids and I went through our many book covers (my kids always remove them!) and we chose two book covers that we wanted to frame.

We found two frames that Maddy had created at school, and we used them.

The frames had a beachy feel to them, so they went perfectly with our light, easy book nook.

book nook challenge | teachmama.com

Love using the kids’ ‘little guys’ as the filler for our lamp–keeps it all really kid-centered!

We contemplated several different ways of filling our Collectors Complete Lamp –we thought about using seashells, bookmarks, rocks, and more, but when I found our box of ‘little guys’, I knew that was our winner.

For years and years and years we have had a box of little guys–small figurines, happy meal toys, and favorite pocket playthings.  As Maddy, Owen, and Cora have gotten older, these guys haven’t seen a whole lot of play time.

When they saw them in the lamp? They were so happy.

And the great thing about the lamp is that it’s really easy to change out the items, which they all think is really cool.  Me too.

our book nook finished

books, books, books!

Books. We added all of our favorite books to the bookshelf, because of course, that’s the whole purpose.

We moved a bunch of the books from the larger bookshelf next to the book nook to this shelf, and we love it. It’s much easier to see the books when they’re not all shoved together, and this way, we have tons of our favorites right here.

Maddy and Owen, though they are regularly reading chapter books, still love to sit down with a good children’s picture book–and they should. There’s no reason that as kids get older that they should give up that rich and important reading, those great stories, unforgettable characters, or amazing illustrations.  

Each time they read these books, they’ll get something different. It’s worth keeping them close.

our book nook finished

Our finished book nook turned out. . .

our book nook finished

. . . to be a super-awesome, frequently visited stop for the kids.

We are really, really happy with how our book nook turned out. It’s perfect for our family, and it has become a really, really busy cozy corner of our home.

Hopefully my five tricks for creating a rockstar book nook will help your family make a book nook perfect for summertime reading!  If you make one? Please do share! I’d love to see it!

book nook pinterest board

Need a bit more reading corner inspiration? I’ve created a book nooks & reading corners Pinterest board for inspiration, and I encourage you to check it out!

Looking for more literacy-learning tips and tricks? Check out my literacy board–packed with tons of great tips, tricks, and ideas for literacy learning!

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fyi: I created this book nook for our family with some help (okay, and an outright invitation!) from my friends at PBS Kids and Pottery Barn Kids. 

Along with five other bloggers, I’m participating in the #booknookchallenge –where we design a kid-friendly book nook, people vote on their fave, and after voting, the winner will receive a little facetime on the new Pottery Barn Kids blog along with $100 Pottery Barn Kids gift card to give to one lucky reader!  More info to follow!

Would love it if you hit me with a vote over at the Pottery Barn Kids blog:  http://blog.potterybarnkids.com/2013/06/17/book-nook-challenge/

You can vote every day through June 23. Many thanks!

I received the pieces mentioned here from Pottery Barn Kids in exchange for participating in the PBS Kids Summer Book Nook Challenge.  All opinions are my own.

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Comment (9) | Leave a comment

  1. I live for reading nooks for kids. Love your ideas and vicariously watching it all come together so easily. At least for me, watching you! It felt effortless and yet like I accomplished something! :)

    Reply
  2. Such a fun and bright space! I agree, a book nook is a must in every home especially when you’re wanting to raise a reader. My daughter has her own portable book nook that she can take from room to room and she loves it!

    Reply
  3. Awesome idea Amy!!! Makes a huge difference. I feel like if I had a dedicated area, I may have read more. Especially in a crazy, busy home. Nice job! Cute pic of Brent!! Love you!

    Reply
    • omg thank you thank you Amy!! YOU are the bomb. Thanks for reading and HUGE thanks for writing! xoxo

      Reply
  4. I’m in the midst of creating a book nook out of some built in bookshelves in our new house. I didn’t remember that I had read this post until I re-read it now. Will be sure to give credit where credit is due if I ever get around to posting about it !

    Reply
    • Please tell me how it goes!! Would love to see pictures and hear how thing are going for you and your family!!

      Reply
  5. Love your book nook! Such a great idea! The lamp, the butterfly pens and all the small details make it adorable and cute!

    Reply

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