In the current issue of The Wellesley Weston Magazine I wrote an article about fabulous summer homes. I had the privilege of visiting three talented architects at their offices where I drooled over the plans and photos of a few of their favorite summer homes. It was a lot of fun. We talked about what clients want in a summer home and every single architect said that one of the top things clients request is a separate sleeping space for guests. I get it, everyone enjoys having house guests at cocktail hour but not so much before breakfast (which can actually be more like hours and hours before breakfast if your house guests have young children who are sleeping in a foreign room with no shades).
Which is why every house guest needs a fabulous gift to present upon arrival. Now, I know it's tempting to go the home decor route and buy beach-themed serving platters or throw pillows. But I'm going to propose something better - books! Real, physical books that can stay in the house summer after summer and entertain visitors for years to come. After all, into every summer a little rain must fall and what better way to pass the time than reading a good book.
For the lady of the house, I recommend Jojo Moyes' new novel, One Plus One, which is being released on July 1st. If it's even a smidge as good as Me Before You or The Girl You Left Behind then I'm pretty sure it will be a smash hit this summer and I CANNOT wait to read it.
For the under two crowd, I'm absolutely loving the BabyLit board books. With titles based on Jane Austen novels, Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre, and many more, they are a breath of fresh air in the baby book category. The pictures are lovely, with plenty for little people to look at and the text is awesome. It's just so refreshing to read about the Bennet sisters instead of animals and their noises. (No offense Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I'll love you forever, sometimes a mama just needs a little change). In Pride & Prejudice there's even a love diagram about Mr. Collins, Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and Jane. You can point out the eyes, ears, and noses on the pictures to your baby all while enjoying the most classic of love escapades. And take a look at this guy:
For the preschool crowd, I would do anything Mo Williams. Anything. If I had to chose just one of his books, it would have to be Knuffle Bunny, which is one of my all time favorite books and I will keep my girl's copy forever and ever and ever. If you need to read more about my deep love for this book, I blogged about it here. If you think I go totally overboard with my emotional attachment to books, please don't click the link, you will not enjoy it.
Now on to the older preschool/lower elementary school group and Star Sisters! The perfect gift for any family with kids ages 4 and up. After a long day at the beach, every mom will love to curl up in bed and read these books with her kids. If you're looking for a book that's specifically about summer then go for Book 2, Star Sisters and The Big Show. The books are meant to be read sequentially but they can also stand alone. Or better yet, pretty soon you can buy all three books and a star necklace all wrapped up and ready to go! I'm thinking the packaging will look something like this, give or take a few green stars.
(And speaking of star necklaces, thank you to everyone who wrote an amazon review. The winners of the two Star necklaces have been emailed and I can't wait to see these special kids wearing their stars!)
Finally, while I know very little about teenagers or what's hot in the men's book market, I do think these bad boys would round out any book present quite nicely. They're kind of gross but also kind of awesome, right? Available on etsy here.