As we’ve watched Erin Napier transform houses with her husband Ben on HGTV’s Home Town and Home Town Makeover, one thing has become clear: She’s not just making a functional floorplan topped with gorgeous decorating, she’s creating a special place for families to make memories together. So, it’s no surprise that her first children’s book is a heartwarming celebration of home.
The picture book, titled The Lantern House, due out in May 2022 and available for pre-order now, is told from the perspective of the home itself. As publisher Little Brown describes it, “Imagine a house’s early days as a home: A young family builds a picket fence and plants flowers in its yard, children climb the magnolia tree and play the piano in the living room, and there is music inside the house for many happy years. But what will happen when its windows grow dark, its paint starts to crumble, and its boards creak in the winter wind? The house dreams of a family who will love it again…and one day, a new story will emerge from within its walls.”
We. Are. So. Excited. What a beautiful idea! It’s a hauntingly romantic concept, and we can’t wait to see how Erin’s words tell the story.
The mom of two to Helen, 3, and Mae, almost 4 months, collaborated with her friend and fellow creative Adam Trest to write and illustrate the book. While there are no sneak peeks inside yet, the cover illustration is pretty magical and will definitely stand out on any kid’s bookshelf.
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The story was partly inspired by Ben and Erin’s own home, a 1925 craftsman in Laurel, Mississippi, the small town they love.
The Lantern House
“We know a little bit about the families who built the house, who lived here before us,” Erin told PEOPLE, noting that she and Ben always research the history of the house they renovate so they can know a little about the people who lived there before them. “We know that one girl who grew up in our house got married at the fireplace hearth.”
Erin and Adam chose the name of the “lantern house” for the book to remind you of a house viewed from the outside at night with all the windows aglow, and the coziness and warmth that evokes, she explained. We know exactly what she means; who hasn’t walked down a street at night and been moved by the glow and activity seen through the windows?
“Adam and both live in old houses and we both have two little girls. We just thought it would be wonderful if we wrote a book for our girls and that’s where it began,” she told PEOPLE. “The house is the narrator and it’s a watcher, a keeper, and a guardian of the families that live there.”
Magic, just magic! We can’t wait to read The Lantern House when it comes out in May 2022!
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