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Book Box

  • Giving the gift of reading. Why a book is extra special at Christmas

    I love getting books at Christmas. My husband, Matthew, and I always buy each other books so I purposely don’t buy any in the lead up to the festivities – then when I undo the wrapping paper I get really excited to see which one I’ve got. I feel like a big kid really.   I love giving the gift of reading, too – knowing the recipients are going to get so much pleasure from opening up their book and immersing themselves in the story inside.

    Giving the gift of reading is a great way to get children into books. It makes books feel extra-special when they’re wrapped up as a present and given with love. And the Christmas holidays are the perfect time for children to snuggle in and enjoy their new books. They can visit exotic countries, join in exciting adventures and discover new things to learn – all in one place.

    giving the gift of reading, kids books, gift of reading, tidy books, book box, book storage box Unwrapping books this Christmas. Photo credit @tthese-beautiful_thingss

    In Iceland, they’re as enthusiastic about reading at Christmas as I am. They have a tradition there called Jolabokaflod, or ‘The Christmas Book Flood’, where around November time every household is sent a book catalogue and people order books as gifts for family and friends. Then, on Christmas Eve, when it’s traditional to exchange presents, people stay in to read their new book, accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate or glass of jólabland, a mix of fizzy orange and ale. It’s brilliant that books are such a big part of their life, and that at Christmas time parents and children can spend time together reading.

    If you like the idea of having a book-filled Christmas, our Book Storage Box is a great way to keep all your kids’ books in one neat and tidy place. It’s portable so you can take it into the living room during the day then pop it upstairs ready for bedtime reading. It’s like a little moveable library so your children always have their books near them and they can dip in and out to read whenever they like. When my kids were younger, we used ours all the time.

    My two children may be in their teens now, but I still love sharing our reading. Later I’ll be popping into a book shop to buy my daughter a Christmas present. She’s into crime thrillers, which isn’t a genre I read, so I’ll have fun browsing the shelves, checking the reviews and finding out more. Who knows, I may discover a fascinating new world we can explore together this Christmas.  

    * Are you doing a Secret Santa at work this Christmas? A great idea from Beanstalk, the national literacy charity that we support, is to give one of your books as a gift and donate the money to them.  It's one more way to be giving the gift of reading!  Find out more  

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Time to read...

    Telling the time is so natural to most of us, that we forget kids don't have the same concept of telling time.  I was chatting to a friend the other day about her Christmas and she said her three-year-old son was so excited he’d been constantly asking when Father Christmas was coming.  Of course, being so young, her son had no concept of time so she told him it would be ‘three times when you’ve gone to school’  She wanted to help him understand that he’d have to wait for what would feel like three school days.

    I thought that was a really clever way of teaching her child about telling time. Another mum I know does a similar thing – only she breaks time down into episodes of Peppa Pig. As for helping my own children to tell the time, I remember we sat down and made a clock out of a Camembert box (well, I am French!).

    telling time, teaching time clock, book box, tidy books, tell the time clock The Tidy Books Box with teaching time clock

    Experts agree that telling the time makes better sense to children when they can relate it to their own experience – like teatime at 5 o’ clock and their 7 o’ clock bath time. And of course it’s always good to making learning fun, so they suggest things like setting a timer when you’re baking cookies or using a stopwatch to time them cleaning their teeth.

    When I was designing my Book Box, I immediately thought of adding a teaching time clock on one end. I mean, why waste space when you can use it to include something useful? I loved the idea of kids having a little portable library so they could have their favourite books around them wherever they were in the house. And if it had a colourful telling the time clock, well they could have fun playing with that, too.

    The award-winning Tidy Books box has certainly gone down well with customers – they love that it’s so compact and space-saving and can easily be moved from the living room to the kids’ bedroom. I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with it myself – and I’m not bad at making a Camembert clock either!

    What do you do to explain time to your kids?

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books


    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • How to get your kids to tidy their room

    As a mum of two children, I know this struggle very well. Trying to get your kids to tidy their room can be hard work – and often it just feels easier to do it yourself, doesn’t it? But room tidying isn’t just about creating order among chaos. When kids tidy their own rooms they’re learning to take responsibility for their possessions and respect what they have. As well as this, experts believe that when children do things for themselves it helps to build self-esteem.
    Continue reading

  • Designed to please kids

    I love designing products for children. It’s so satisfying to make something that meets a need and you know is going to help them in some way. My first-ever design – the front-facing bookcase – was inspired by witnessing my four-year-old daughter’s frustration trying to find a book on a traditional bookcase. Watching Adele I realised how illogical the old-style bookcase was and I was determined to make one that actually made sense to kids.

    Adele Grandidier - proud owner of the first Original Tidy Books Bookcase

    Adele was also the inspiration for my next product when I saw the difficulties of her sleeping on the top bunk. Her bedtime drink was balanced precariously on the edge of the bed, and when she’d finished reading her book there was nowhere to put it so she had to chuck it onto the floor. There was nothing on the market to address the problem – so I designed the Bunk Bed Buddy.

    I’m not interested in designing something just for the sake of it, or because it’s trendy, or to make a different version of something that already exists. For me, it’s about designing something completely new that’s practical and purposeful. I want my products to make sense to kids and help them connect with their books, inspiring their love of reading and learning. Everything I make is designed to be fun and enjoyable for children, to draw them in and foster their sense of independence.

    Of course, as a parent I also understand the need for children’s storage that works for grown-ups too. You know how kids take all their books out of the storage box to get to their favourite one at the bottom? With my portable book box they don’t have to do that because the books are on display and can easily be found. And that means parents don’t have to constantly tidy up afterwards!

    I also make sure all my designs are stripped-back to keep them looking stylish so they blend easily into a home. It’s about creating a timeless classic that can be passed down through the generations. I’m not one for all bells and whistles. The portable box comes with a clock and you can add the alphabet to your bookcase – these helps kids with their learning but don’t distract from the books like cartoons and stickers would. I’m not interested in gimmicks. To me, the books always have to be the star of the show.

    Tidy Books has been going for 12 years now and I still haven’t run out of ideas. I tell people I’m never working but I’m always working. Wherever I am – at home, in the park or in a cafe – I’m always watching and observing, thinking about what needs to be made next. But it’s never about the product itself, it’s always about the children. Whatever I design, it has to make sense to kids.

    Best wishes,

    Creator and Designer of Tidy Books
    * If you’d like to invest in our award-winning company, we’re crowdfunding now.

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