How to Make Homemade Childrens’ Books

I have a long-standing love affair with books – essentially ever since I discovered as a child that I could check out up to 12 Berenstain Bear books at my local library. Big fan.

And that love of books has definitely continued on with my 4-year-old, Max. My husband and I have made an effort to read to Max as much as we can. In fact, there are some books we read so often that Max knows all of the words – and that started a tradition between my husband and son of Max making up his own stories and telling them to us in lieu of one of his books at night. And then, we had an idea: why not make our own books? So we did!

Max and I have started writing our own tales, using stickers, craft paper and markers. Max absolutely LOVES it. He makes up the craziest stories, but I guide him through and we use stickers to illustrate his story (and to keep him on track!) Last night, we read a book we co-wrote called The Rescue Team twice and he seemed so proud. If you have a toddler who likes to read, I would absolutely recommend doing this! It’s a fun activity – really easy to do, inexpensive and fun!

I’ve made books two different ways. Here are detailed instructions:

Binder ring books:

  1. I took two pieces of 12 by 12 scrapbook paper and cut it into four for a total of eight pages.
  2. I took a hole puncher and punched a hole in the top left corner and put a binder ring (purchased at Staples for $3 per 10-pack bag) to hold the book together.
  3. I got a marker and a large book of boyish stickers – everything from dinosaurs to trucks, cars, policemen and firemen
  4. I let my son choose what he wanted his story to be about by choosing some stickers from the packet. He chose the page with policemen, firemen, ambulances, etc.
  5. We wrote the story. I started it generically, and left sentences for him to fill in words. As we went, I would ask him, “What do you want to happen next?” And when characters talk, I would ask, “What do you want them to say?” And he did the rest! Children are very creative – the stickers help keep them on track and – bonus – when you read it later, you can read the words, then when you get to a sticker, they can “read” it. And boy, does my son love to “read!”
Laminated spiral-bound books:

If you want to spend a little more money and make a book virtually indestructible, this option is for you!
  1. Take paper (same process as above) and decide which type of book you want. In these photos, I decided to make an alphabet book to help my son when he was learning his ABCs.
  2. For the alphabet book, I gathered everything I could find – photos, stickers, etc. – and made a page for each letter of the alphabet of things that started with that letter.
  3. Then I took the pages to Staples and paid to have them laminated and bound together with a spiral binding. The lamination and binding cost $26, but I will say, my son loved that book and it’s lasted nearly three years with no damage to it!
I’m sure there are tons of other ways to make your own books – If you have any good suggestions, send them my way! I have a feeling I’ll be making books for years to come!

Aleshia Howe is a communications specialist at Texas Health Harris Methodist Foundation and Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation and mother to two boys, ages 4 and 1.

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