Chapter 32: Author! Author!

<h2>Chapter 32: Author! Author!</h2>

<p>(Click for the <a href=””>Complete Online Parent Reading Guide</a>)</p>

<h2>Write it &ndash; then read it!</h2>

<p>Kids can learn a lot about the importance of reading and clear story telling by writing their own short stories. And&nbsp;what better way to encourage your child to write stories than by helping him get his handiwork published? There are lots of really cool ways to turn your child&rsquo;s stories into actual books. Beginning readers can dictate a story to you, and you can write it out; older kids can write and illustrate stories all on their own.</p>

<p>Below are a few book-making suggestions. Some are very low cost and can be completed at home with just a few simple art supplies. Others are more expensive but can give your child&rsquo;s words and pictures a real, professional finish. &nbsp;</p>

<h2>Make a book at home</h2>

<p>Simple, make-at-home books work well for younger children and early readers. The book should be no more than seven or eight pages long. Any longer might feel intimidating to a child who is struggling with reading. He might feel overwhelmed when faced with too many blank pages. It&rsquo;s also a good idea, for younger children especially, to have a writing project that can be completed in one afternoon. Seeing the whole project completed can be very motivating. Seeing one book finished will make your child want to start another!</p>

<p>Simple, do-it-yourself books for kids include:</p>

<li><strong>The accordion </strong>&ndash; A very simple book can be made from a single, long strip of paper. Simply fold the paper back and forth at regular intervals &ndash; like an accordion &ndash; to form the pages.&nbsp;Your child can fill up one side only, or&nbsp;if his story idea is truly epic, he can continue the tale back down the other side. If you don&rsquo;t have a long sheet of paper, one can be made by cutting a regular 8 &frac12;-by-11-inch piece of computer paper in half&nbsp;lengthwise&nbsp;and taping the pieces end to end. Twenty-four-pound computer paper works best. It&rsquo;s a little more durable and won&rsquo;t shred if your child makes erasures.</li>
<li><strong>Fold and stitch &ndash; </strong>If your child wants more space for words and pictures, you can use the same computer paper and simply fold several sheets in half. Nest the sheets together and then stitch &ndash; or staple &ndash; them along the fold line, attaching all of the papers at the book&rsquo;s&nbsp;spine. Using this technique, one sheet of paper will make four pages of a book, including the cover and back. Two sheets will make eight pages.</li>
<li><strong>Make a mini book </strong>&ndash; Tiny things appeal to most kids. You can make an adorable little book from a single piece of paper. Start with a sheet of computer paper. Fold the paper in half, bringing the bottom edge up to the top edge and making a crease. Fold it in half again, this time taking the right edge across to the left edge. Crease it again.&nbsp;Fold the paper in half one last time, again from bottom to top. Run the handle of a butter knife firmly over all the folded edges, making sure that the creases are crisp. Open the paper back up so that you only have the first fold still in place. Working from the folded side, cut along the center crease line from the bottom fold edge toward the top. Stop at the halfway point. Now, open the paper up all the way, laying the page out flat on a table. Fold it in half again, but the long way&nbsp;this time, with the cut edge now on the fold. Now comes the fun part. Stand the booklet on its edge, cut-side up. Then take the two outer edges and gently push them toward the center until the two sides meet. The book, standing up on its edge, will form a cross. Now, simply collapse the cross, bringing the two outer sides together. Voila! You have a perfect, little eight-page book.&nbsp; If you&rsquo;re a visual learner yourself, there&rsquo;s a great YouTube <a href=””>tutorial</a> from Simple and Easy Projects that might make these instructions more clear.</li>

<h2>Other options</h2>

<p>For older kids who are past the arts-and-crafts age, here are a few other&nbsp;cool book-making options:</p>

<li>For kids who really loved &quot;Diary of a Wimpy Kid,&quot; there&rsquo;s &quot;<a href=””>The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book</a>,&quot; which lets kids become &ldquo;the author, illustrator, and main character&rdquo; by filling in the pages with their own stories and pictures.</li>
<li><a href=”″>Create Your Own Books</a>, by Creativity for Kids, comes with two blank, hardcover books &ndash; one large and one small &ndash; with places for both text and illustrations. It also includes &ldquo;story starter&rdquo; ideas, in case your child doesn&rsquo;t quite know where to start writing.</li>
<li><a href=””>My Awesome Book</a>, from LuLu Jr, takes the book-making experience one step further. Your child can write and illustrate his own story on the pages that come with the kit. When he&rsquo;s done, you pop the pages into the prepaid mailer and send them on their way. &nbsp;A few weeks later, your child&rsquo;s book, printed in hardcover format complete with the author&rsquo;s photo and bio on the back cover, will arrive in the mailbox. Pretty cool, huh?</li>
<li>There are also online sites that let kids write, illustrate and print their own books. <a href=””>Scribblitt</a> lets kids write and illustrate books on the site for free. Payment is only required if a hard copy of the book is ordered. <a href=””>StoryJumper</a> also lets kids use its service for free and has an online library of basic art they can use to illustrate their stories. Print copies of a book created online can be purchased for a fee.&nbsp;If you use one of these sites, however, make sure that none of your child&rsquo;s private information is shared online.</li>

<p>Remember, you may want to make small corrections as your child works on his book, but try not to be overly critical. You don&rsquo;t want to discourage his efforts. Then, when he&rsquo;s completely done, be sure to let him read his book to you!</p>


<p><em>Simple and Easy Projects</em>, &ldquo;How to Make a Quick and Easy 8-Page Mini Book,&rdquo; <a href=””></a></p>

<p>, <em>The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, </em><a href=””></a></p>

<p>Creativity for Kids, <em>Create Your Own Books, </em><a href=”″></a></p>

<p>Lulu Jr, <em>My Awesome Book,</em> <a href=””></a></p>

<p>Scribblitt, <a href=””></a></p>

<p>StoryJumper, <a href=””></a></p>