Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“Just one more chapter!”

When my older daughter was still just a baby, she loved listening to stories and looking at books.  We would sit on the floor of her room with a pile of books and work our way through them.  When we finished the last one, she would waddle over to her bookshelf and grab another stack.  She just loves books.  I read Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’tKnow She Was Extinct so many times, I had it memorized.  I could even read that book in the dark at bedtime without looking at the pages.  It helps that it is a good book with a good message.

Now she is older, about to start second grade, and reading on her own.  She has access to computers, iPods, televisions, Innotabs, a Wii system, and all the other modern toys with their flashing lights and annoying sounds, but she still loves books.  At bedtime, she still loves to curl up in my bed next to me and read book after book.  The other night, after finishing MeetMarie-Grace and getting two chapters into the next book, I tried to stop reading.  It was after 10 o’clock!  She cried, “but I am so sucked into this book!  It is like the book is a whirl pool, and my mind is going around and around and around, getting deeper and deeper into the story, until -WHOOSH - I am totally sucked in.  Please don’t stop!”  I read one more chapter.

Her little sister, though, rarely wants to sit still for a story.  Occasionally we can find a book which will get her attention and keep her sitting still from cover to cover, but not often.  There is one book that always works, though.  Naked Mole Rat GetsDressed by Mo Willems.  We have several books by Mo Willems (the girls get a kick out of the Elephant and Piggie series especially Today I Will Fly), but that little naked mole rat is true favorite with my soon to be five year old.  She loves that he is naked.  I love that he is himself.  She loves the silly costumes he puts on.  I love that in the end everyone agrees to be themselves – whether that means being naked or wearing clothes.  She loves that everyone is happy in the end, and I love that she loves a book.

While modern blinking things are cool, and the girls do love their gadgets, I think books will still be a part of their lives.  If even my non-reader daughter can find a book to get sucked into, I think all kids can.  We just need to keep looking for new books to match their personalities.  Not everyone will like every book (although my older daughter comes pretty close), so don’t give up if your kid squirms away when you try to read.  Just keep trying, and when you find one that works, read it over and over until you can read it in the dark.

Here are a few more books we love:

And my favorite:   The Scarlet Pimpernel  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Mom, I want to make a book."

Back in the day, I worked in the gift shop attached to a photography studio.  We sold all sorts of picture related things - albums, journals, scrapbooks, frames.  We also sold kits for making scrapbooks and journals and hosted a variety of crafty classes.  That was a long time ago, and sometimes this old brain of mine forgets that I used to make things other than hats.  Thankfully, I got crafty kids.  Crafty, AMBITIOUS kids.  Crafty, ambitious kids who assume their mom can make anything.  They remind me from time to time that I used to be a crafty, ambitious kid, too, and then my little grey cells get moving and drag up memories of old favorite projects.  That is what happened this morning.

While sipping my coffee and watching a nature show about cobras with my older daughter, she suddenly turned to me and said, "Mom, I want to make a book."  I have no idea what about cobras in India inspired her to make a book, but that's how life works around here.  I watched the cobras eat another snake for a couple minutes, then my brain booted up (maybe it was more the last drops of coffee and less the snake eating snakes) and I remembered how I used to make my own books back in high school.  When the show ended and the snakes were all happily settled in their new sanctuary, we headed around the house to round up supplies.

If you want to make your own book, this is what you need:
  • Scissors or a paper slicer
  • Stiff cardboard (the kind included in packs of craft paper works well)
  • Pretty paper to cover the outside
  • Paper for the inside covers
  • Paper for the actual pages
  • Spray adhesive
  • Hole punch
  • Marker and pencil
  • Ribbon to bind it with
  • Anything else you can think of to make the cover your own
The first step is deciding how big you want your book.  Cut two pieces of cardboard that size (my daughter decided 4" x 6" would be just right).  Then decide how you want your book to open.  Cut 1" off along which ever edge will be the binding on both the front and back pieces.

Use your hole punch to make holes along one strip.  

To make sure your front and back covers will match up, use a marker to copy the holes onto the other strip and then punch them out.  

Cut your inside pages the same size as the front and back covers, trace the holes onto the edges, and punch them out as well.

Cut two pieces of cover paper slightly larger than your front and back covers (I like to give myself 3/4 of an inch on all sides).  Spray with adhesive then lay a cover piece and holey strip down.  Be sure to leave a slight gap between the pieces to allow the book to open and close. 

 First fold the corners over, then the sides.  Repeat for the other cover.  

Cut two pieces of lining paper slightly smaller than the covers (I like to trim off 1/4 inch from all sides).  Spray and place down covering the edges of the outer paper where it has wrapped around.  

Use a pencil to  poke through the holes (if you run your finger along the edge, the holes become more visible as little divots).  

Add whatever you want to the front then sandwich all the pieces together with the pages and use a ribbon to bind it all up.  To make threading the ribbon through the holes easier, wrap tape around one end.

Some fun variations are using fabric instead of paper (use fusible interfacing and an iron instead of spray adhesive) or cutting up magazine pictures to use as interior pages.

My daughter decided to use her new book to write a story about a shark named Eliza.  I can't wait to read it!