This past September, I turned the big 3-6. For weeks, The Hubs asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I, honestly, just could not think of anything. For real.
My special day came and went and still my mind was blank.
About a month later, it hit me...the answer to the birthday gift dilemma. It was nothing really. A teensy-tiny request. A simple project. (It was totally not simple!)
"I want a home library...a place for all our children's books," I casually tossed out to The Hubs one day.
"K." came his reply.
The next day, he rounded up some helpers and a stash of supplies, and got to work converting a small little attic room that had previously been used for crafting, sewing, and storage.
A couple weeks later, my gift was complete. A home children's library of my very own. The Hubs christened the new space by presenting me with a plaque that he had made himself from a page from an old book. It reads, "May your shelves always overflow with books."
Happy birthday to me! (I know what you're thinking, Ladies...He's so dreamy! Sorry girls, he's taken.)
Then came the unpacking. We live in a really tiny house and have never really had much space to display bookshelves. Prior to this lovely space, most of our books had been boxed up in plastic storage tubs in our basement. Every couple of days, I'd have to trek down to the "dungeon" with a flashlight and dig out one or two titles.
But, those days are long gone.
My daughter and I spent a weekend organizing, alphabetizing, and even purging books. (We gathered three bags of duplicate copies or twaddle books to donate to charity.)
It was amazing to see all of our books laid out for the first time. It was like a happy reunion with long-lost friends.
Having a children's library of my very own isn't just a way to feed my book buying addiction (although it is that). It is a place where my children can spread their arms wide and enjoy ALL of the books on the shelf. Each book is a built in YES and a stepping stone to help them grow a love for reading and a discerning eye.
By creating a pallet filled with beauty and truth and virtue, I hope to help my children become repulsed by the tawdry and cheap offerings of the world.
Come take a peek into my library. See how I've organized our books and listen as I share the system I've designed to encourage my kids to return borrowed books to their rightful place.
While it probably wasn't necessary to build an entire room dedicated to children's books (a few shelves in the living room would have sufficed), I feel like this one act affirms the family culture we have spent years building.
A reading culture...well, really ANY family culture...is a demonstration of what is important to you. It is a presentation of your priorities. It's not what you say that really matters in life. It's what you do.
"Culture" is created in everyday choices.
When given the choice of the "perfect" birthday gift, I chose books!
Helpful links for creating a reading culture in your homeThe Best Emergent Readers for Phonics Based Reading
Why My Kids DON'T Read Many Award Winners
Books Every Preschooler Should Enjoy
Great Read Alouds for Lower to Mid Elementary
20 MUST READ Chapter Books for Young Boys
20 MUST READ Chapter Books for Young Girls
30 Character Building Books for Young Boys
Tips for Developing a Reading Culture
What Reading Time Looks Like in My Homeschool
Top Nature Study Series and Field Guides for All Ages
For more ideas on organizing your home library, be sure to visit iHomeschool Network.