“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” – Jhumpa Lahiri in The Namesake
Understatement, there are a lot of books in our home, specifically, children’s books. We read every day as part of our homeschool, and of course for leisure. One of my favorite family traditions is to add to our seasonal children’s book pile throughout the year. This allows us to revisit old favorites as the season changes while adding a few new ones as we do so. If you have seasonal decor or are mildly obsessed with holidays and traditions like I am this might be something you’re interested in, too.
Chances are you already have these kinds of books mixed in on your bookshelf. I’ve found this strategy gives those books the attention they deserve. Plus, our homeschool semesters are seasonal, so this system works really well with our seasonal learning structure. It removes a lot of the effort of hunting down books throughout the year. It’s a tradition with the bonus of organization!
The start of our children’s books tradition
This tradition began with Christmas in our home, before we started homeschooling when our kids were babies. We have board books, picture books, storybooks, Santa books, and Nativity books in our collection. As Christmas came around I knew we had a book about such-and-such and another about something else that I wanted to make sure to read. Eventually, instead of hunting through books each time it crossed my mind, it made sense to collect all the festive books together.
Now, each year they come out with the Christmas decor and sit by the Christmas tree for the season. Over the years I’ve gone from reading and cradling a baby in my lap to having a curious toddler bring me a book. Now, I watch as my big girl reads to her little sister all by the glow of our Christmas tree. I can imagine one day my girls (might?) move out. They’ll remember these books and the room we read them in, maybe they’ll take them or I’ll gift them their own. The real gift is nostalgia and the memories of reading together.
Where to begin collecting books
First of all, take a look through the books you already have. Put aside those obvious seasonal ones ie. They have Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall in the title. Then sort through and put the Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween books, etc. In their seasonal pile. Your kids are going to want you to read to them as you sort through, that’s how it works!
If you don’t want to eventually pack them away, that is understandable. Maybe organize them on the shelf so you can easily access them when someone asks “how do seeds grow?” and you can say, “go grab the seed book from the Spring books on the shelf. We’ll read about it!”
Build your seasonal book collection
Next, once you’ve sorted through the seasonal books you already have, pat yourself on the back. This could be the start of something really special for your family! Hopefully, it already feels special to you. Decide if you want to pack these books away to ceremoniously bring them out each season, or simply keep them organized on a shelf. Whatever works for you is of course what you should do. And you can switch things up at any moment as well.
As I mentioned, our seasonal books get packed away with our holiday decor. However, certain books that are technically seasonal but also educational do stay on a shelf. For example, those seed books stay on our homeschool shelf because they’re handy to reference throughout the year. Also worth noting is that some seasonal and holiday books overlap a little. Such as Fall, Halloween, Harvest, and November books. Personally, I keep a mental note of that and switch out depending on how quickly we move through each stash. It’s not a problem.
Adding to your collection
Throughout the year pick up books off-season from local bookshops and websites for a discount. I keep that in mind when I place an online order and have extra money to invest. Create a wishlist on your chosen website and check if there’s been a price drop before checking out. By the time the holiday rolls around, you’ll have some new, exciting offerings! Keeping track of them in a “safe place” is my biggest challenge.
I’ve found it fun adding to these curated book collections as my kids get older. and their interests evolve. They like to read short books but seeing them pick up a book to browse together for a minute, or a longer book to really get into is amazing to witness. I especially love it when they read to me now but reading to them will always be special.
In the comments below let me know if you have a seasonal book collection, and what books we should add to ours!