My son, C, loves to read and loves photos. To combine those two loves and to help develop his language skills, I make photo board books for him on high interest topics that he can relate to because they are based on experiences in his life. Some titles from the past include: Pumpkin Picking Time, Summer Fun with Friends and Cousins, and I’m Going to Have a Baby Sister. Making these books is a little labour intensive but they last and are some of his favourite books.
The title for the current book is Firetruck Explorations with My Daddy. Here are the supplies needed and the steps I went through to create it.
-Board book you don’t mind covering up
-Photos of a recent event
-Packing tape or laminating paper
-Printer and paper
1) I begin by laying out photos from an event in an order that I think will flow well as a story. You can think about your story as just a series of events on a similar theme or try to have some tension by incorporating a problem that needs to be solved. In this current story I tried to incorporate a little of both. All the pictures for this book were from when a local fire station had an interactive display of several engines. I tried to create some tension by showing C in different seats in the fire truck but really wanting to sit in the driver’s seat and having to wait.
2) Next I count the pictures and look through my collection of eligible books to see if there is one with enough pages. Often I need to add or take away some pictures. For this book I needed two more pages and instead of adding more photos, I decided to end with two Fire Truck Fun Fact pages instead.
3) I trim (if needed) and glue in the photos with a glue stick. I don’t put a lot of glue on so that I can reposition the photos until I am satisfied with the lay out.
4) Once I have the photos laid out, I go through the pictures and start to tell a story based on them. I like to tell the story in first person from C’s point of view.
5) Once my story is written, I eyeball it and see which pages will go along the length of the page and which portions to write out in a column and make changes in this way as needed. Then I print it out to see how it fits on the page. Things to consider: the direction of the photo (portrait, landscape), where there is blank space in the photo, and enlarging or shrinking the font. I re-write portions as needed to best fit on the page and around the photos.
6) I cut out the text and glue it onto the book pages. Again I don’t put on a lot of glue so I can reposition the text if needed.
7) I get clip art off the internet to add extra images on the pages for fun and to cover up original text or images that are still showing and that are distracting.
8) Now it’s time to laminate. I recommend using laminating paper but I have used packing tape in the past as well. When using laminating paper, I cut two sizes. One will cover the front of the page and wrap over the top and the bottom. The other one will cover the back and wrap over the open side of the page. I stay a bit away from the edges so that the corners are still tape free. It works out neater that way.
Hopefully that’s clear. I know it seems labour intensive (even more so now writing it all out!) but I work on it in front of the T.V. and find it soothing actually. For my next book, however, I’m going to try using a simple, dollar store photo album. I’m hoping it will minimise the work, yet still be durable and look good. I’m a little skeptical though… When I finally get around to doing it, I’ll share that method too.