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  • Why reading is the fastest way to boost your mental health

    Don’t you just love how reading can lift your spirits? I’ve usually got a book on the go but during the occasional reading drought, when I’ve been too busy to stock up on new books, I really notice how it affects how I feel. Reading helps to take me out of my own ‘me, me, me’ world into a wonderful new, magical world and, to be honest, without it I soon feel myself slipping into a low mood.

    So I’m really pleased to hear that the theme of this year’s World Book Night on 23rd April is how reading benefits mental health. The annual event, run by national charity The Reading Agency  helps to get books to people who don’t read for pleasure or who don’t own their own books. Publishers donate books which are then gifted to prisons, hospitals, care homes and mental health charities – and among the books being donated this year will be ones that explore mental health and wellbeing.

    reading benefits mental health, charity, give a book, tidy books, kids reading Simply reading can help kids boost mental health. Photo credit Give A Book

    There has been lots of research about the benefits of reading for mental health, including increasing self-esteem, improving communication between parents and children and reducing stress, anxiety and depression. In one study, reading for just six minutes was found to decrease stress levels by 68% – amazingly it’s a quicker and more effective stress buster than going for a walk or listening to music!

    I totally understand the power of books and how reading benefits mental health. When I was a child, I remember going through periods of anxiety when books were a real solace to me. Whatever was happening around me, I could completely lose myself in a story and it calmed and comforted me. With a book by my side, it felt like everything was going to be OK.

    With one in ten children and young people affected by mental health problems – that’s three out of every 30 in a classroom – isn’t it incredible to think that something as simple as reading a book could help them?

    From my own experience – as a child and now as an adult – I know how truly uplifting reading can be.

    * Tidy Book holds a monthly collection for children’s books that we donate to Give a Book for distribution to schools and prison. For details, please contact us on info@tidy-books.com

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Stop the summer reading slump

    Schools out – and kids can’t get their uniforms off quick enough. With the summer holidays here they’ve got six whole weeks to relax and have fun, so doing anything remotely school-related will be the last thing on their mind now. Trouble is, when kids go back in September they’ve often forgotten some of the things they learned in class. It’s what teachers call the summer reading slump.

    One brilliant initiative to keep kids reading through the holiday is the Summer Reading Challenge run by the charity The Reading Agency. Once they’ve signed up at their local library, kids can take out six books to read over the summer and there are competitions, games and rewards to collect to keep them motivated, and stop the summer reading slump.

    You can help your kids with the challenge by letting them choose their own books. According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading report  9 out of 10 kids are more likely to finish a book that they’ve picked themselves. And as they’re allowed six books for their summer reading challenge, this is a good time for your kids to be free with their book choices – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books or whatever else takes their fancy.

    The Tidy Books Box puts books within easy reach of kids to help stop the summer reading slump The Tidy Books Box

    It’s all about making reading enjoyable for the kids while they’re away from school and not turning it into a task. But of course the books need to be accessible so kids don’t forget they’re there. You could put them in our Portable Book Box , which makes a handy mini-library that can be moved around the house. It can go with them into the garden or over to their grandparents’ house – even in the car to take on holiday.

    The box’s front-facing design means books can easily be identified by their covers, so kids won’t get impatient trying to find the one they want! It holds up to 40 books – plenty of room for all your kids’ books – and also comes with a play clock so they can have fun learning to tell the time as well.

    Kids deserve the summer off but reading doesn’t need to feel like homework. All they need is a little inspiration and they’ll soon see that reading a book at any time is fun!

    Happy summer reading everyone!

     

  • From the violin workshop to the Homeland set

    Have you been watching Homeland? Whether you just drop in from time to time, or you’re a devoted fan, you may well have spotted a Tidy Books bookcase in Carrie’s New York apartment.

    Set designers for TV series like Homeland leave no detail to chance. So I was just a little bit gobsmacked to see one of my bookcases in Carrie Mathison’s daughter’s bedroom. How did the kid’s bookcase that I made in my violin workshop make its way to the set of an iconic show? I tracked down the team on the Homeland set to find out.

    In a surreal, but uplifting phone conversation with the Homeland production assistant, she told me how rigorously they pin down every detail on the film set.  She gave me a fascinating insight into the process of choosing each item for the show, including the bookcase, telling me; “You would not believe how many people it goes through before it gets agreed.”

    Franny’s bedroom, where much of the action takes place, has been painstakingly put together. The set production team begin with a brainstorm, and then the shopper researches and gathers potential items; think furniture, curtains, toys. The shopper takes hundreds of photographs to test how they will work on screen. Next, each product is scrutinised by the concept designer and the set designer until they have created exactly the right look to frame the story, right down to a vase on the windowsill or a picture on the wall. 

    I couldn’t help but be impressed; Carrie’s apartment in New York is seriously smart and Franny’s room, where Quinn and Saul talk to Franny and Carrie is a child’s dream; cute, stylish and cosy. And the bookcase fits perfectly!

    The conversation I had with the Homeland production assistant was a magical moment; the bookcase that I’d created for my daughter in my violin workshop in East London, because I couldn’t find a good kid’s bookcase, has travelled to the set of an iconic TV series which has fans all over the world. The production assistant was delighted that we’d got in touch - I think the magic resonated her too.

    It takes me back to how Tidy Books started, when I was watching my daughter Adele, then aged 3, getting frustrated with trying to find the book she wanted on a traditional book shelf. In that moment, I knew what sort of bookcase she needed. And when I couldn’t find what I needed in the shops, I set about making my own design in my violin workshop once Adele had been tucked in for the night.

    As the drama unfolds, key scenes take place in Franny’s room, with Quinn and Saul sitting on the bed to talk to Franny, and Carrie; there are plenty of opportunities to spot the Tidy Books bookcase! My favourite scene so far is where Quinn and Carrie are gathering items for Franny in her foster home, and Carrie picks out a book from the bookcase. I’ve got a little glimmer of hope that Franny’s love of books will be a comfort while she’s away from home.

    When I set up Tidy Books with a £500 investment; I couldn’t have envisaged that one real-life mother-daughter would be connected with a fictional mother-daughter in Homeland by my bookcase!

    So, next Sunday evening, if you tune into Homeland, it’s highly likely you’ll spot Franny’s Tidy Books bookcase. It’s been part of the action in most episodes so far, and as Carrie fights to bring her daughter home, it’s sure to feature again.

    You can see how the plot will unfold in this trailer. Will you be watching on Sunday?

    To celebrate its icon status, we're giving you 15% OFF the Tidy Books Bookcase in natural with letters. 

    Use code HOMELAND15 at the checkout 

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