Book Nooks {24 ideas}

Book Nooks {24 ideas}

I love a good nook, especially when it’s filled with books. These images will make you want to find a space in your house and create a nook of your own…stat. From converted closets, to simple ledges and book bins, these spaces are where parent & child create life’s best memories.

1. Converted closet by Tiny Sprouts with seating to boot  2. Book ledges and stripes make a brilliant combo, by Elizabeth Sullivan Design  3. A flea market rack is a beautiful thing from found, now home  4. Modern book bin by Dejligheder, find one similar at Land of Nod of BOOK/SHOP.

5. Wire book rack, find one similar at Cox & Cox  6. Book ledges on a wallpapered wall are to die for, here is a good DIY  7. Oh Happy Day’s SF apartment, she bought these book bins from BOOK/SHOP  8. Converted closet hangout from Martha Stewart

9. Coziest bed & reading nook yet (and I love the John Robshaw pillows) from Design Sponge  10. All you need is an Ikea hutch and a bean bag from Caitlin Wilson Home  11. Well-used corner space converted into library wall from Kids-o-Mania  12. Library book rack with proper seating for tea – find similar racks at The Land of Nod or PBKids

13.  Shelving with graduated sizing ends with a hanging art (find clips at IKEA) from La Maison d’Anna G   14.  Creative use of IKEA spice racks, or use PBKids shelves  15. Cable spool made into book storage – tutorial at The Little Mist, and more spool ideas at ScrapHacker  16. Love the use of the wagon for books from Honey We’re Home

17. A simple shelf and rug make this nook special from Design Mom  18. Wire book storage + yellow art create a vintage look from Chic Home Baby – create similar look with wire storage options from Land of Nod, or Urban Outfitters  19. Coolest closet turned book nook + hideout from Dos Family, more closet nooks at Apartment Therapy  20. For me, it’s the color that makes this nook so happy, from Desire to Inspire

21. And the award for best closet nook goes to…Little Hell Raiser  22. Turn a bookcase sideways and add wheels for a more child friendly reading nook, from Real Simple  23. I love the use of black shelves for a change + the retro cafe seating, from Kids-o-Mania  24. And last but not least…why not clear a shelf in the bookcase for a little bookworm?

We are starting to pack up our house around here. We are moving (ahhhh!!!). As daunting as that will be, I am excited to create some new spaces. I hope to share them with you in the new year.

xo Bar

PS: My posts will be a bit thin during the move, but I won’t leave you high and dry. I do have some cool holiday posts planned, so stay close!


Drawing Books for Kids

Drawing Books for Kids

I came across this Fingerprint book by Marion Deuchars and it sparked something in me. I loved making fingerprint animals when I was a growing up! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this with my kids. I am definitely adding this book to my Amazon cart for Christmas, I’m so excited.

I decided to do a little research to find the best drawing books that ignite creativity in the little ones. As you can imagine, there are many books on drawing out there. I wanted to keep the list short and pick just the ones that I thought would instantly excite the kids, with very few directions and good graphics.

I could not make a list of drawing books without including award winner Ed Emberly. I would spend hours as a kid learning how to draw from his books. I still have one of them on my shelf! Granted, it’s not the open-ended art experience that I promote in our house. But the kids do LOVE it, and it keeps them busy. Also, there comes a time in their young lives when they realize that they can’t draw something perfectly. This usually happens around the age of 7 or 8. I found that my girls would start to draw lots of hearts, peace signs and rainbows. I can’t tell you how much this drives me crazy. So taking out Ed Emberly can actually free them up and remind them that drawing is fun and that they should try new things. This book is also great for the reluctant artist. (Ages 4 and up.)

Fotoplay by Mj Bronstein is an art activity book that blends realism and fantasy. It’s rare to find a book like this that uses photos as prompts to spark the imagination. It’s smart and funny and gets kids to think outside of the lines. Great for road trips or vacation days. (Ages 5 and up.)

642 Things To Draw is the perfect inspirational sketchbook. With its collection of offbeat and clever drawing prompts, this book is perfect for that child or teen who loves to draw. Inside this simple book are blank pages with just a prompt at the top: A rolling pin, a robot, a pickle, a water tower, a hammock, a wasp, a safety pin, a kiss. I am getting this for all three of my kids (and will secretly fill some pages myself!). (Ages 4 and up)

I will keep searching for more great art books and share them with you again!

Ed Emberly Photos via Trula Kids.


A September 11 Story

A September 11 Story

A friend gave me Fireboat over the summer. I was prepared to fall in love with it right away since it was written and illustrated by Maira Kalman!!! I idolize her. Her art is so colorful and full of life. Not realizing it was a September 11 story, I dove right in and read it to my three while we were eating dinner. When I turned to the page showing bright blue sky and two planes flying toward the towers, my voice faltered. Like many people who live close to the city, I remember that cloudless, perfect blue sky like it was yesterday.

Fireboat is a heartfelt 9/11 story told through another story, the one about the retired boat John J. Harvey and her call back into action on that fateful day. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. But toward the end of the century as the piers started to close, she was forced into retirement, soon to become scrap. After the attacks that day left the hydrants downtown ineffective, the NYFD called on the mighty Harvey for help! The story goes on to portray all of the incredible people in the community that got together to help that proud and plucky little boat.

If you have never sat down to talk with your kids about the events of that day, reading this heartfelt story is a wonderful way to start that conversation. I love Fireboat because it is a book about many things: It sets forth an adventure, helps commemorate an anniversary, offers an interesting bit of history, celebrates the underdog, and honors the fire-fighting profession.

Before we read this book again tonight, on the anniversary of September 11, we will first light the candles on my daughter’s birthday cake. She turns 10 today!


Favorite Back-to-school Books

Favorite Back-to-school Books

Tomorrow, my son will be starting first grade in a new school. He says he’s nervous. I told him, so am I. He was surprised I said this and asked me why? I said that I always feel butterflies on the first day back to school. But that it was more of a nervous excitement. Sometimes, I told him, excitement feels close to being nervous. He didn’t say much else after that, thinking about what I said. I’m hoping I changed his perception of the first day jitters…if even just a smidge.

At home, we pulled out our favorite (and well worn) back-to-school book, a Charlie and Lola classic, I am Too Absolutely Small for School. I like to read it with a British accent which gets the little guy giggling. There’s something about this book’s humor and wit that quells the nerves. Author Lauren Child is brilliant! Charlie has to convince Lola to give school a chance. Lola makes her points, like by saying “I don’t need to learn up to one hundred. I already know up to ten, and that is plenty”. Ever-patient Charlie works his magic, and persuades Lola that school is worthwhile. This book is lighthearted and I love that it doesn’t pander to a child’s anxiety, but instead changes their way of thinking. It’s re-affirming without being too sentimental. And with it’s ingenious ending, it literally made my son want to wake up the next the morning and go straight to school!

Here is a list of our other favorites for this year:

How I Spent my Summer Vacation / Mark Teague: A boy takes his teacher and fellow students on a Wild West adventure when he gives his school report on how he spent his summer vacation. We love that it rhymes!

Chrysanthemum / Kevin Henkes: With her hard-to-pronounce name, Chrysanthemum gets teased at school. Until she meets the new music teacher, who is named Delphinium. We love the way this expressive book, with its charming illustrations, shines a light on the affects of a loving teachers. Teachers rock!

Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World / Susan Hughes:  In this book, readers will travel to dozens of countries to visit some incredible schools. Through personal interviews, we get to meet the students who attend them. Their stories aren’t just inspiring — they’ll also get kids to think about school and the world in a whole new way. All three of my kids are fascinated by this book. It’s a great way for us to talk about our differences, and of how grateful we are for what we have!

Kindergarten Kids / Stephanie Calmenson: This book of rhymes and riddles is so fun and celebratory, my son wanted me to read it to him twice! It really makes them feel that Kindergarten (and first grade, too!) is a special place. Reading this book will but a smile on your face and theirs, and it’s a great way to introduce them to poetry!

Wish me luck as I wave to my baby getting on the bus for the first time. We’ll both be brave.


Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak

Today we lost beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak. He was a man who accepted and embraced vulnerability. He understood the fear of the unknown and saw the complexities of mankind, both good and bad. By penning one of the most influential children’s books of the 20th Century, Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak encouraged children and adults to use their imaginations.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Terry Gross:

TG: Can you share one of your favorite comments from reader’s that you’ve gotten over the years?

MS: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters – sometimes very hastily – but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

RIP, Mr. Sendak.