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How to Create a Seasonal Home Library for Children

by Anna Harpe
November 4, 2020

Anna shares how to create a seasonal home library for children along with helpful ideas for fostering family reading rhythms. Anna Harpe is the Social Media Coordinator here at The Artful Parent and is the talent behind KidLitCrafts.

Bookshelf of seasonal home library for children

There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to turn inward.  Our midwest air blows with extra bite and the days shorten, leaning into darkness earlier and earlier.  It makes me wish I had a fireplace to stoke and knitting to complete.  I don’t have either, but I try to create spots of cozy warmth in our home whenever I can!  

Of course, in our house, books play a huge part in our seasonal rhythms.  And as my kids grow, familiar favorites are becoming as cozy as hand-me-down blankets, well-worn touchstones reminding us of years past. 

I find that pulling out fresh books every season helps to anchor and refresh, not just the kids, but also myself.  It gives me a moment to pause and mark the passage of time- something that’s not always easy in the sometimes chaotic rush of family life!

Are you interested in creating a seasonal library for your own home?  Here are some tips that will help you get started:

Children reading on couch from seasonal home library

Seasonal Home Library for Children

  1. Think ahead

    The best seasonal books fly off the library shelves. Plan ahead a few weeks (and take advantage of your library’s “hold” program!) so you can make sure you’ll have a copy of your favorites when you want them. 

    Easier said than done, right?  I mean, how is it even November already?!? 

    I finally smartened up and let my phone do the remembering for me! So pause right NOW and set annual seasonal reminders to check out those library books early!

  2. Less is more  

    This one is hard for me.  All too often, our picture book shelves are stuffed to the brim. 

    But as soon as I clean them out and place a few beautiful books on display, voila!  Books are pulled off the shelves and read instead of fading into the background “noise” of our everyday life. 

    Every family and situation is different, of course, but I find that displaying 5-10 enticing books works best for us.

    Stack of seasonal books with pumpkin

  3. Build your personal collection  

    Do you check out the same fall book every single year?  Maybe it’s time to invest in your own copy!  Support your favorite independent bookstore locally or through https://www.bookshop.org

    Thrift stores and library book sales are also great places to find seasonal favorites.  Just be ready to buy them out of season- I’ve found some really lovely winter books at great prices in July! 

  4. Make them disappear  

    I know, I know…. Your five year old just LOVES that Halloween pop-up book.  I promise, though, she will love it even MORE next year if it quietly slips away after Halloween.  My family adores our Christmas tree, but it would definitely lose some magic if it stayed around for 12 months. 

    Embrace the fleeting seasons and make those books DISAPPEAR. Return them to the library, pack them away in bins, and delight in the cyclical rhythms of our lives.  

  5. Connect creatively 

    Okay, I’m admittedly a little biased about connecting creativity with picture books, but what an opportunity!  It can sometimes be difficult to know how to incorporate art into your everyday life. 

    Let the picture books you’re reading act as a source of inspiration! This serves to center both creativity and literacy in your home.  As you pull out those seasonal picture books, take a moment to think about how you can bring some seasonal creativity into your family life as well. 

Family reading from seasonal home library

My Favorite Fall Picture Books & Creative Projects

Need some extra inspiration for this month?  Here are some of my family’s favorite November picture books (along with ideas for creative extensions!).

  • Almost a Full Moon by Hawksley Workman, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall:  Based on a song of the same name, this book is a warm and joyful celebration of togetherness. 
  • Get Creative: Work together to make a delicious vegetable soup like in the story.  But wait- don’t compost those vegetable scraps quite yet!  Use the ends of vegetables (celery and carrots work well) as stamps for some fun printmaking art.
Almost a Full Moon book with celery prints

My Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Books & Creative Projects

Giving Thanks book with tree branch, jar, yarn and leaves
  • Giving Thanks by Jonathan London, illustrated by Gregory Manchess: A lovely book of gratitude in nature.
  • Get Creative:  Add a tradition of gratitude in your home! Find a few sticks that will fit in a vase or jar to create a “gratitude tree.”  Work together to decorate the sticks with paint.  Add wire, yarn, and beads if you’d like.  Then take a moment each day to think of something you’re thankful for, write it on a paper leaf, and tie it to the branches of your tree.  (I love this idea too!)

Sharing the Bread book with muffin tin and rolling pin
  • Get Creative:  How about some “cooking” sensory play?  If you haven’t made your own playdough before, now’s a great time to try!  (Try this no-cook recipe and get the kids involved!)  Set out the playdough with real cooking tools like a rolling pin, mixing bowls, and muffin tins to inspire your little chef.  Beads make great toppings!

Of course, I love posting about our favorite seasonal books and activities over at KidLitCrafts, so make sure you’re following me on Instagram for even more ideas!

My favorite Fall Arts and Crafts for Kids

The Artful Parent is a treasure trove of ideas!  Here are some of my favorite fall projects from the archives: 

I believe we all can benefit from adding a little more rhythm, reading, and creativity to our lives.  I hope you find these tips helpful as you work to build your own seasonal home library for children!

Want even more creative ideas?

Check out our Thanksgiving Creativity pack!

Full of wonderfully fun ideas to help your family practice gratitude this season, this 38-page printable eBook includes: Drawing Prompts, Conversation Starters, Art Projects, and more!

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