The Best Bookplates

By Melissa Summers

We’ve talked before about how important it is to have books around very young children to promote literacy. I was reading an article a few days ago about how bookplates give children a sense of pride about their books. Bookplates play on children’s innate enjoyment of the word “Mine” and encourage a healthy dose of pride and respect for books of their own. My children are unable to resist anything which has their own name printed on it, if only I could have cough medicine inscribed with “Max”.

craneplate.jpgI found felix doolittle after reading a post at Apartment Therapy’s The Nursery referring to their kid’s calling cards. The calling cards were referred to as, “A bit disturbing” by my friend but the bookplates reminded me of the bookplates I’d gotten for Christmas one year as a child. The illustrations are serene and classic, my favorite is a young girl exploring maps with a magnifying glass, To See the World.  This one is pretty sweet too.  (See what I did there?)

giraffeplate.jpgThese book plates at Label Your Stuff are a little more juvenile but the juvenile drawings and their custom printed name may appeal to your child. There’s also a collection called the “Fun And Fantasy”. In the small town where my husband grew up there was a small lingerie and sex toy shop called “Fun And Fantasy” and that’s all I can think of: lacy lingerie bookplates. Both collections are also quite a bit cheaper at $5.95 for 8, maybe your wallet will be pleased.

ratebooketsy.jpgEtsy has a few offerings as well.  This one stood out to me. “There are worlds to explore and books are one way to get there.”    These Snowbear bookplates are from Theresa Smythe’s book Snowbear’s Christmas Countdown are handstamped from a handcarved rubber stamp. Finally, these Gocco printed bookplates give an older child a chance to rate the book and share a little bit about what makes the book special to her. My daughter would love to do this to all her books.

paperprincess.gifThe Paper Princess has a few designs to choose from in custom bookplates. These are the kind of bookplates you’d be thrilled to open a vintage Little Golden Book from a yard sale and find inside. Cute vintage designs in a Deer, Puppy or Elephant design all professionally printed with your child’s name on each one. Not into any of those choices? Check out all the different designs, you can get up to two designs in each order. I think these would make a great ‘New Baby’ gift for the bibliophile parent.

robot.jpgThe site My Home Library offers printable bookplates in color, black and white and also three different sizes. Let your child choose which they want for any new book as they get them. Many of the choices are illustrated by well-known children’s illustrators. I’m particularly fond of this one because, well, it’s a robot.


Melissa Summers
About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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I like the classic bookplates at, and there are lots of great ones at, too. I especially like the “little boy in blue” at A Friendly Spirit since my friends and family really run to little blond boys. It’s a Quaker-run company, but I ‘m pretty sure they never eat babies.

slouching mom

My nine-year-old son has a stamp in red ink that is customized with his name and a rocket (as I recall, there were lots of other choices of icons besides the rocket). I don’t remember where we got it (it could have been from Office Depot), but I believe all the office supply stores will special-order one.
Ben LOVES using it.

Isabel Kallman

I LOVE bookplates.
In fact, we received so many books when my son was born that I ordered him ones with an extra line. There I filled in who gave the book to him. Four years later, he asks me about the people who gifted him said books. I also use the extra line to write the date when we bought new books.
I now often give bookplates sets with some of my son’s favorite books as baby gifts to others. There are so many more choices now than there were even 4 years ago.


Oh, these are all awesome, but being a cheapskate I’m all about the free printables. Plus there are a couple by Quentin Blake, who’s awesome. I’m going to have my son pick some to print out tomorrow and maybe we’ll go on a mass book-labeling over the next… hmmm, maybe 3 years or so to get thru all his books?

cam felchlin
cam felchlin

I think bookplates are a great idea. At what age should I use them? I have a two years old and she loves to read but she is very rough with her books.
For those parents with school aged kids, here’s a site with useful tools- They have sign-up templates for activities, fundraising and field trips. To join, you just need to request an invitation. Its FREE.

Terry Kennedy

Hi, A friend and Bookplate client advised me of your interest in Personalized Ex Libris Bookplates. I invite you to look at some of my work on my Yahoo Photo Album Pages – especially two pages: Children 1 and Children 2. Lots of other choices on my website:
My Grayscale Bookplatesare priced at $9.99 per hundred on ebay. Seller name is terrykennedy. Thanks for looking, Terry


I love bookplates and it’s too bad that they’re not as frequently used today as in generations before. We have a collection of antique bookplates that are created specifically for individuals by artists and the details and symbolism used are absolutely stunning. Thanks for writing about this. And I love the one about the “Don’t be a blowhole”, too.

Baby Gifts

I also love bookplates! Even now, as an adult, I love taking the time to perfectly line up a bookplate and press it onto the cover of some of my favorite novels. Just seeing my name right there in the book makes it feel like a piece of me, like the story is mine (even though I know I share it with so many others). I like the idea of children getting this sense of ownership over stories and over the idea of reading. Some of the designs and pictures on these sites are really neat, and I’m glad to… Read more »