Make Your Own Kids Book

February 19, 2011

My daughter loves books.  We often sit down together with a pile of story books and read them all.  We both have many of her favorites memorized.  These favorites have simple, predictable text, and pictures that help to tell the story.  One of her favorite "books" to look at, however, is the photo album.  Like most kids, she loves seeing and hearing about things that are familiar.   I decided to take this love of the familiar and combine it with a simple, predictable text to make a personalized story book that is just for her.

Meet Daphne, the well-loved baby doll.

I created a picture book about Daphne.  The story is in a simple day-in-the-life format.  Each page has a picture of Daphne, and one short sentence.  Daphne wakes up, eats, dresses, and goes about her day.  My daughter and I planned and took the pictures together, and I edited the pictures using a free, online photo editor called Picnik.  My editing was basic: I upped the contrast and brightness, and added some text.  Finally, I printed the pictures at Walmart (for free - I had some free prints) and popped the pictures into a dollar store photo album.  The total cost for my project was $1 plus tax.

Here are some tips for those who are interested in making their own personalized picture book:
  • Plan to take all of your pictures vertical.  You don't want to keep turning the book around when reading.
  • Use a simple background.  Especially when text is placed on top, you don't want a lot interfering with the focus.  I used a white fleece blanket and propped it up against my daughter's bed. 
  • When placing text, leave lots of room on the sides.  Photocenters often crop your picture slightly.  You don't want the first letters or punctuation to be cut off.
  •  Write the story in your child's language.  Even if your child is pre-literate, he or she can still "read" the story by describing the pictures.  Use words that your child uses, or even phrases that he or she says often.  For example, we call books "stories," so at the end of the day when baby Daphne reads a book, the text says, "She reads a story."
Have fun!  We'd love to feature any similar books in a future Monday post where our readers show-off.

PS - Daphne's clothes and bedding were made by Carlee - aren't they sweet?

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