We interrupt our grown-up writing workshop posts for this very special my-kid’s-an-author celebration! We just got our son’s bookmaking kit back from Lulu Jr. with his very own published book inside!
Holding a hardcover picture book illustrated and written by himself in hand – what an incredibly special day!
So, it all began when I stumbled across the Lulu Jr. booth at the Toy Fair this past February. Their bookmaking kit for kids come in brightly colored boxes, which immediately drew my eye. When I realized Lulu Jr. was a print-on-demand self-publisher for kids, my heart skipped a beat! Even more thrilled when I got to take home a sample to create with my five year old son!
Print on demand is perfect for celebrating the work of little authors, and these kits are wonderfully designed.
I saved our Lulu Jr. My Awesome Book Kit until after we came home from our Washington D.C. Trip. I wanted to let my son illustrate his vacation memories. We used this bookmaking kit for kids to create a vacation souvenir!
How Lulu Jr. Bookmaking Kit for Kids Works:
The My Awesome Book Kit includes all supplies your child will need to write and illustrate their story. We used ours to create a vacation souvenir, but certainly kids could create a comic book, story, or any other idea with these pages.
My favorite piece of the kit is the brainstorming page, because it gives kids get a birdseye view of the book layout. (It’s the yellow one above, and we made a few copies in case we messed up!). This graphic organizer helps kids plan their story, and see which pages will be next to each other versus front-to-back. We had to reorganize my son’s story a little bit to make the pictures go together on side-by-side pages. Having the planning page allowed us to do that organizing work before starting the real work of writing and drawing.
Of course, organizing before writing was also important to ensure my son drew and wrote enough pages to meet the minimum. His turned out to be a rather small book of about 11 pages, which is I think the minimum or close to it.
We brainstormed the events of our DC trip, and I jotted down ideas and a mini sketch so he could “read” our plan.
Using the included markers and paper templates, he illustrated each trip memory page by page:
- driving over a bridge to get to DC
- the Air & Space Museum
- The National Zoo
- Paddleboat rides and the carousel
Since he’s just five, and not used to “writing” for long periods of time, we worked on one page or “scene” a day over a few weeks. The kit box is a perfect storage place for work in progress.
After he’d finished his drawings (I had him draw in pencil and then color over with markers because he was using up all the sheets and then not liking what he drew!), we wrote down the story. For the most part, he would look at the drawing and narrate to me what he wanted written down.
He blew me away by “writing” the first sentence on several of the pages. He’s using “invented spelling” as I have only begun teaching him how to read, so he doesn’t fully understand words as separate entities or phonetics spelling just yet. At first, I thought he was writing random letters, but then he “read” me the sentence, and I could see the vowel and consonant sounds!
asanieaot = a/sanie/ot = it is sunny out
Tell me I’m not the only one that sees that, right? 🙂
Create a Vacation Souvenir with a Bookmaking Kit
Anyway, I was so proud of my little writer/illustrator! It was hard work for him to do so much drawing and narration day by day (which speaks to the need for daily writing practice to build stamina, something we’re going to work on this coming fall!).
Now he has a wonderfully illustrated memory of our family trip to DC in his own words! Every page speaks to his memory of our trip. It’s a way for him to share his vacation experience with friends and family too, and now I know this memory won’t just fade away, as we can relive it by reading his book over and over again!
Authors also get to design their own cover, write a dedication, and include an author bio and photo. It’s truly a “real author” experience that got my son very excited about the prospect of writing more books!
I know my son’s book will be something I treasure with him for years to come. We hope to create a vacation souvenir book for each year, reflecting on our family vacations and activities!
Here’s a few more of my favorite pages:
How to Publish with Lulu Jr.
Once his book was completed, we numbered the pages on the back, and added an author photo I printed out from the computer. Then just mailed everything off and awaited the book’s arrival. We received the published book about 2-3 weeks afterwards, which is good turnaround time, I think. You don’t get your original drawings back, sad to say, so I recommend scanning the pages into your computer just in case!
Overall the process to create a book with Lulu Jr. is straight-forward and simple. Some notes: I think a store photo print would’ve shown up in better color than my laser printer photo did. I also thought the printed pictures were not as vivid as the originals, so tell kids not to draw too lightly. However, overall the quality of the book is fantastic, with a sturdy cover and stitched binding.
You can order additional copies of your Lulu Jr. book if your child would like to give it as a gift to several people.
The Lulu Jr. My Awesome Book Kit retails for $39.99, which is the entire expense of the book kit, a single book printing, and mailing – no additional cost unless you want to order more than one copy.
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This post was brought to you by Lulu Jr. and I received a book kit at no charge in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are my own.