Forward Facing Bookshelves


I can’t tell you how many people ask me about the bookshelf below, from a blog post back in 2012 (I also cannot believe I’ve been online that long). I am a huge fan of forward facing bookshelves as they allow young children to self select and, let’s face it, it’s like a work of art on your wall…all those gorgeous covers smiling out from the wall.

Children’s books stored on regular bookshelves just end up all being pulled off as pre-readers can’t read the titles on the spines, and young children choose, or identify a favourite book, by the cover. In PudStar and ChickPea’s bedrooms almost all of the picture books face forward. And it’s the same in any primary school library worth their weight in pages, all the picture books will be forward facing.


The shelf above is just fine, but it’s not exactly stylish – I actually purchased it from a school library supplier and at the time I was aiming for functionality not style!

There are now lots more forward facing book shelving options on the market, and while they don’t all work particularly well, I really like the ones I’ve recently ordered from Pottery Barn Kids – they are basically the shelf above, but with style 🙂 – click through from the picture for more images. The quality is excellent, well and truly up to the rigour of being a piece of school furniture touched by hundreds of children, but also lovely enough for a home bedroom or study. We are also using two of these shelves and one shorter version in the school library to increase our forward face book display space.

Image Credit: Pottery Barn
Image Credit: Pottery Barn

I was silly happy when I found this shelving system at Pottery Barn (librarians get very excited about shelving options okay) as I’ve never seen what is essentially a library standard shelving system turned into a pretty cool piece of home decor. I’m actually extremely tempted to get two more of the tall four shelf units to store all my recipe books in my kitchen as the IKEA shelves I have are great, but these Pottery Barn versions would store more and the books wouldn’t fall off every time I slam the fridge door!

Image Credit: Pottery Barn
Image Credit: Pottery Barn

It’s been an extraordinarily tough and tragic year for us. As we find our ‘new normal’ without Dan/daddy, I’ve been going through the house and simplifying, changing things up just a little, rotating book collections (lots of grief titles atm) and adding in some things that we three Daley girls love, like nice shelves! It probably seems silly, but it’s been nice to make our home just a little bit ‘new’ while still retaining all the memories of Dan. There is a lot more pink in our house now…he would be horrified. 

Support one of favourite local (and online) bookstores in Brisbane, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’/’Avid Reader’ by purchasing through the link below. If you are local to Brisbane you can order online and pick up in-store. 
Oxfam ShopStrawberryNet

The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.


  1. Hi Megan this is a great post! Now you will get people like me asking “Wow where did you get the mini forward facing she in the girls bedroom?” Very lovely idea re the books & little changes,
    love your ideas here

  2. We love forward facing shelves too. We have three at the moment for my two girls rooms and the playroom. We had them built to fit the spaces and they get a lot of use. Already have a forth one in mind. Love the post.

  3. Forward facing recipe books, sounds like a damn good idea. I think all library shelves should be designed for books to be forward facing, and if I was starting out now instead if retiring this year I’d work towards it for our Fiction and non-fiction as well as the picture books and junior fiction that are already forward facing. I’m moving house and you’re giving me ideas Megan. Any book case could have a “bar” added across the shelves to convert them. MMM…

  4. Thanks for posting, those Pottery Barn shelves are lovely. We have an Aldi book rack which I recently had to sew new slings for but it’s still going. Our main problem now is sheer number of books, particularly chapter books. I need a library in my house!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here