"" Writer's Wanderings: Storybook Memories

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Storybook Memories

[This essay was written back in 2007. Since then I discovered Shutterfly.com and that made putting together a storybook a little easier. It costs a bit more but will last longer. If you watch for sales, you can often get the storybook for half price.]

A 1941 cover of the Saturday Evening Post features Norman Rockwell’s Girl Reading. I wondered if he may have done a painting with a child sitting on a grandmother’s lap while she read to him. I wouldn’t be surprised since that is truly one of the tenderest moments between grandmother and grandchild.

            As a writer, I like to encourage the next generation of readers. After all, without readers where would a writer be? I started something with my own grandchildren I would like to pass along to you—a storybook featuring your own grandchild. Kids love to read about themselves and with all our computer technology and digital cameras, creating an original storybook is easy.

            I chose the occasion of each grandchild’s first overnight visit to our home without their parents but you could easily do any other occasion you felt was significant. It happened that my grandkids were between two and three years old when they stayed overnight the first time.

            Camera ever ready, I snapped pictures of the games we played, of where they slept, of places we visited (usually the zoo), of meals they ate, etc. When our house was quiet again, I downloaded the pictures and chose ten to tell the story.

            Using my Microsoft Word (I’m sure most word processing programs will work), I began to piece together a little story of  “[Name]’s Great Overnight Adventure.” My book cover was a picture of our home with the title above it and subtitle “Staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s House” below it.

            Each page illustrated something we did and explained it in storybook form with my grandchild as the main character. “[Name] helped Grandma bake cupcakes. They were delicious!” I used simple short sentences since my grandchildren were very young but if you do this with older kids, you want to be sure to write the story at their level of reading.

            I laminated the pages with sheets of self-laminating plastic I found at the office supply store. It is like clear Contact paper—sticky on one side. If you want to invest a little more money, you could have the pages laminated at the office supply store. They can also clip your book together with a comb-binder.

            When I was finished with the first book, the others were easy to make. I saved the document and just went in and changed pictures and wording to reflect the other grandchildren’s experiences.

            Each one had a story to “read” to their mom and dad. It was their story so they didn’t have to know the words. It is a great keepsake memory of their first big overnight adventure and. . .it encourages reading!

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