for your home
By Stephanie Vozza
AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER specializing in
spaces for kids, Jeanette Simpson made sure her
own children’s bedrooms were inviting and cozy.
But the most important piece of furniture she added
wasn’t the bed, it was the bookcase.
“Reading is important to my family, and we
have a shared library,” says the Nauvoo, Illinois,
mother of six. “But what made books really special
to my children when they were young was starting
their own personal libraries.”
An avid reader herself, Simpson helped foster
the love of reading in her children by making books
accessible. In addition to giving each child his or her
own bookcase, she placed age-appropriate books in
baskets throughout the house as well as stacked on
and near their nightstands.
“They were everywhere,” recalls Simpson, whose
youngest child graduated from high school last year.
“Children begin to develop a lifelong love of reading
while curled up on the lap of a loved one. By provid-
ing relaxing reading areas, you will encourage them
to spend time reading on their own.”
Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic
Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will
Treasure Forever (Fine Lines Publishing, 2008),
agrees and adds that a family can never have too
“Like toys, books can be overwhelming and
undervalued if presented all at once,” says McQueen,
a mother of four children ages 4 to 15. “While there’s
nothing wrong with lining bookshelves with your
entire collection, parents should put the most appro-
priate selections in easy reach so children can
become familiar with and savor the books that
speak to their age and interests.”
An Atlanta-area Costco member, McQueen
started her family library with the books she loved
as a child—including Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory by Roald Dahl—and encourages parents to
do the same.