📚☕️A peek at our kid-friendly coffee table books
MBH no. 22
When I was decorating our last house, someone I worked with sent me a list of the “best” coffee table books. The concept struck me as a bit odd. To me, the “best” coffee table books are the ones that reflect the owner’s unique interests or passions or even their sense of humor. Why would I buy books on topics I wasn’t interested in, even if the color of the cover coordinated with the rest of the room?
After all, is the iconic Tom Ford coffee table book really any “better” than Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World? 😂 It’s all relative.
However, after I bought the table books that reflected my interests, I realized that my kids wouldn’t give these choices a second glance.
I don’t think that every aspect of interior design needs to revolve around the children in your family, but I DO think that displaying easily accessible, kid-friendly books gave my son and daughter another opportunity to choose to read.
So a few years back, I amassed a small collection of gorgeous kids' books that have been on our tables ever since, and wanted to share some of them today. While your kids might not share the same interests, I hope this post inspires you to reflect on the types of coffee table books that would appeal to your young readers.
(Also, since we’re in the season of “gift guide” mania, any of these books would make thoughtful presents.)
The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems, by Rachel Ignotofsky (2018)
While not technically considered a coffee table book, author/illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky brings earth science to life with her gorgeous illustrations and engaging, informative writing. The book explores diverse global ecosystems, nature cycles, human impact on the natural world, and how to protect our planet.
Each page is so beautifully designed that I had a hard time deciding which photos to take for this post! There’s this one:
And this one:
And so many more!
Although much of the text is suited for older elementary school children, younger kids will love examining her detailed maps and infographics. Any of Ignotofsky’s books would make perfect coffee table books—if this one isn’t for you, check out her other titles— I guarantee they are all just as exquisitely, meticulously crafted.
Other favorites by Rachel Ignotofsky
What’s Inside a Bird’s Nest?: And Other Questions about Nature & Life Cycles (this one isn’t available until March, but I saw a few pages and can’t wait to add it to our collection)
Mountains of the World, by Dieter Braun (2018)
Living in Colorado, we are definitely “mountain people,” so Mountains of the World was an obvious choice. This book explores rock formations and mountain ranges across the globe— from Mount Fuji and the Alps to Huang Shan and El Capitan.
Kids will love the illustrations of all the animals and wildlife that thrive at high altitudes. They’ll learn about downhill skiing, bouldering, and the type of gear needed to summit the highest peak. The thick, matte pages are beautiful and durable–we’ve had our book for years and it still looks (almost) new.
Maps , by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski (2013)
Maps is way more than just another children’s atlas. Playful illustrations cover the pages and highlight the cultures, animals, foods, architecture, and natural features that make every region unique.
This book is huge–I took a picture of it next to a regular paperback book so you can get an idea of its size. As you can probably tell, our copy of Maps is very well-loved.
Wild Animals of the North, by Dieter Braun (2016)
Wild Animals of the North is a beautifully illustrated guide (again by Dieter Braun) to the native animals of the Northern Hemisphere. Minimal text and bold, vibrant illustrations make this a coffee table book that even very young children will love.
Other books in Dieter Braun’s “Wild Animals” series:
Wild Animals of the South (this one is hard to find new; I linked a used version)
I know this installment was different from the norm, so I hope you found it helpful.
What coffee table books do your kids love? Leave me a comment or shoot me an email—it makes my day when I hear from you, truly.
🪄Wishing you hours and hours of reading magic,🪄
🚨P.S. ‼️ As a reminder, I created a storefront through Bookshop.org. This impactful organization donates all profits to local bookstores (more on that here).
If you purchase through one of my links or by visiting my storefront, I earn a teeny tiny commission, which supports my work on this newsletter.
(I’m obligated to keep reminding you, so sorry if you’ve read this 20 times😂)