Getting Kids Reading, The Tidy Books Story


I can still remember my first experience of being read to as a child. It was at school, when I was five or six, and the book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Instantly, I was hooked. To me, the idea that you could be transported somewhere different, where weird and wonderful things happened, was just extraordinary.

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At the time my family was living in the New Hebrides – now known as Vanuata – and when they moved to France when I was eight I tried, unsuccessfully, to find the book. It wasn’t until I came to England at 23 that I was finally reunited with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It felt like meeting an old friend again.

As a child, discovering books was like finding a portal to another dimension. I was amazed – and still am – that with a book you can travel the world, meet a whole host of people and characters and can travel backward or forwards in time. It’s just the most wonderful thing. I’m such a book lover that I even named my son, Emile, after my favourite writer Emile Zola, while my daughter Adele was given the same name as the daughter of author Victor Hugo.

I get so much joy from books that I love hearing about initiatives that promote reading, like this year’s World Book Night on 23rd April. The annual event, run by The Reading Agency charity, sees volunteers hand out books to people in their community who either don’t have their own books or who don’t read regularly.

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The Tidy Books Children’s Bookcase & The Tidy Books Box

Last month, my company Tidy Books started an initiative of its own. On the first Friday of each month, we have a collection box in our London office where people can donate children’s books. These are then sent off to Give a Book, which gives books to a variety of schools and charities. Tidy Books also have an ongoing commitment to donate a percentage of our online profits to the national literacy charity Beanstalk.

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Volunteers from Beanstalk in a primary school

Books are just the most amazing, imaginative, exciting, thought-provoking things. When you read you get to learn so much, be transported all over the world and experience incredible adventures. Books truly are magical. And if your child is encouraged to read from an early age, like me they’ll probably be hooked for life!  

Best wishes,

Founder and Designer of Tidy Books

* If you’d like to donate your children’s books to us, our collection box is open from 9am to 5.30pm on the first Friday of each month. Just pop along to 10 Hatherley Mews, London E17 4QP.

Gèraldine Grandidier

About Gèraldine Grandidier

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.

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4 thoughts on “HOW I GOT HOOKED ON BOOKS

  1. Avatar Alison says:

    Wonderful story Geraldine – agreed – books are a fabulous way to escape and transport yourself into another world.

    1. Avatar tidybooks says:

      Hi Alison, thanks, glad you liked my story 🙂

  2. Avatar Carole Watson says:

    I dont remember not being able to read. I could read before I started Primary School and my Mum would read to me all the time or I would listen to Children’s hour on the radio. My favourite time was Christmas as I always got books and I would spend hours laying under the Christmas tree lights reading and staring up through the lit branches. Magical.

    1. Avatar tidybooks says:

      Hi Carole, that’s a lovely story. I think all of us feel the magic of our first books and being transported

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