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How We Store and Display Children's Books

Toddler bookshelf at how we Montessori

Do you have a lot of children's books in your home? I assume you do. The problem for many families is we have a lot of books but want to rotate or only keep out a small amount for our toddlers. Older children can manage more books but we want toddlers and young children to be able to select their own books from the book shelf and then later put them away.

This means we need book shelves that are low, accessible to the young child, preferably with forward facing book display and limited in size. Here is how we approach toddler board books and young children's picture books in our home. Above we use the KidKraft Natural Book Shelf in our toddler's bedroom. 

Bed Book Basket at How we Montessori

He also has a small book basket next to his bed. He reads a lot in bed so if we don't have this basket here there would be a small pile of books here constantly. The basket keeps the books together and stops them from getting stepped on when he gets out of bed.

How we Montessori books on shelf

In our living area downstairs we use the Tidy Books Book Box (c/o Tidy Books). This is a good size for toddlers and can be moved around easily.

Toddler Book Shelves Forward Facing How we Montessori Picks

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As pictured we use the KidKraft Natural Book Shelf and the Tidy Books Book Box, but I also love the ECR4Kids Toddler Book Display and the smaller version of the Sprout Book Display Shelf. These are all good options for young children.

How we Montessori books on shelf

I love to have one or two 'book baskets' around the house, and sometimes outside (on our deck). It's another way of creating interest or further exploring a concept in a book.

How we Montessori books on shelf

A Library Book Basket is also essential in our home. I understand if you put library books on your shelves but I like to keep them separate. This makes it easy for us to quickly find and return our library books. Sometimes we will decide at the last minute to go to library and I hate to be looking around for lost (or misplaced!) library books.

Also useful for this purpose is a Library Bag, once we've finished and ready to return the library books they can go back into the library bag. 

Now how about storage when the books aren't out? I have lots of books in storage in tubs in our garage however experts recommend that books are stored inside:

  • Ideal temperature would be 60-70° Fahrenheit (16-22 Celsius).
  • Where temperature is moderate and don't fluctuate too much.
  • Out of direct sunlight.
  • With dust jackets on if possible.
  • Stored vertical - upright but not tilted.
  • Large or heavy books should be stored horizontal. 
  • With ventilation or some space for the air to circulate around them. 
  • Avoid high humidity.
  • Stored on a firm flat surface.

All of my children have a book shelf in their room but they also store books on the shelves in their built-in wardrobes. In my toddler's room it looks like this. Board books on one shelf and picture books on the second shelf. This is for storage and my toddler doesn't access it.

How we Montessori books on shelf

Height adjustable shelves are useful to make the most out of the space.

How we Montessori books on shelf

We try to keep like similar books together for example:

  • By series
  • By author
  • Books with themes like
    • Christmas/Easter 
    • Seasons
    • Community workers
    • Transport (a big theme on our home)
    • Art books 
    • Poetry books

In my nine-year old's room we also separate books by fiction, non-fiction and reference books. 

As we get a lot of books as gifts and many books have special meaning, I love to use book plates! Some have space for the gift giver to leave a message.

How we Montessori Picks Children's Book Plates

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I hope you've found this useful. Let me know if there are any other storage areas you'd like to hear about!

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