Children’s books should be enjoyed in private. They should be read under the covers by torchlight after the grown-ups think you’ve gone to sleep; or hidden in treehouses with a supply of chocolate biscuits – anywhere where monsters, pirates and school chums can climb through the window.
Every child should have somewhere to fall into a book. A book nook, if you will. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to create one.
As children’s book author and critic Imogen Russell Williams says: ‘The ideal kids’ reading nook requires three things: comfort, secrecy, and convenient storage for an array of books and snacks.
Reading space: A simple small chaise longue can create a comfortable spot for young ones to enjoy books
‘Enclosed, cosy and full of soft, warm light, the best reading dens provide the perfect launchpad for a child’s imagination.’
Here are some suggestions.
Swathed in cotton
You can go Princess And The Pea by curtaining off a little cranny with a swirling, regal canopy from The Handmade Scandi Company. These come in pink, white, lavender or ‘cloud’ and cost £56.
For added twinkle, string fairy lights around and switch off the main light. Hey presto: stars in a night sky.
Looking for a canopy in bolder colours? The Rainforest Reading Corner Canopy from TTS Group will brighten up the reading corner (£71.99).
Inhabit an alcove
Find an existing little cranny and put it to good use. Throw in a few cushions, put up some bookshelves and string a curtain across so the mini-reader can shut him or herself away.
The Kura bed curtain from Ikea comes with windows so your offspring can pop their head out from time to time (£25).
In their own world: Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself
Clambering into a tepee in the corner of the bedroom feels like an adventure in itself. And the little reader can fall asleep among the pages.
Argos sells a lovely bear-themed tepee made by Chad for £40. Or if you want to build a tepee together, just six bamboo poles and bedsheets held in place with clothes pegs will do the trick.
Natural light is great, especially for picture books. If you have a big window and can construct some seating around it, it makes a fab place to read of derring-do while staring out to imagine the action. If the window isn’t low down, a ladder up to the seat will add to the fun.
What goes inside
Make furniture comfy and a bit flexible. Your offspring may want to read sitting up or lying down, so some kind of small chaise longue should work well.
The Handmade Sofa Company’s child-size chaise range is from £425.
Or if you prefer something that looks like a miniature armchair and pouffe, John Lewis’s £72 Stardust bean bag chair and footstool will look stylish.
Add a desk, and encourage the child to respond to the book — writing their own sequel starring themselves. Ikea’s Micke costs £50.
To kit it all out in matching style, The Great Little Trading Company has a series of themed book storage boxes, display racks, rugs and bean bags.
Or, if space is limited, you can buy ready-made seat/storage combos, such as the Children’s Bookcase from Little Helper for £97.