A kid-made animal book

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A gift for an animal-loving friend who is turning five:

“This is a animal book, Thalia”


Maia has worked hard on this book over the last couple of days. I think it started out as a simple birthday card idea that grew (and grew). She cut animal pictures from a couple back issues of Your Big Backyard (a children’s nature magazine that we love) and glued them to half our supply of colored construction paper. In the photo above, the pages of the book are spread out over much of the studio.


After letting the glue dry overnight, she stapled the pages together, and used white duct tape for the spine of the book (as you can see in the top photo). Classy, eh? Harry helped her with the duct tape part. It may have even been his idea. Then she wrote the animal names on each page, asking Harry for identification and spelling help. Here’s a bison, above.








A “SEDRA” looking mildly surprised at her name.


I guess this one was unidentifiable.


And, my favorite, a “DEAR” in red boots.

This is the first real interest Maia has shown in bookmaking since this sweet book from when she was two(ish). I’ve tried to encourage the idea a few times over the past couple of years with absolutely no results. And then, out of the blue, she spends hours crafting this one for a friend. Which all goes to show how important initiative and ownership is, I suppose. And interest. And readiness. Etc. Etc.

Are your kids into bookmaking?


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  1. says

    Oh, I LOOOOVE Maya’s book! Early spelling is so fantastic and I bet you’re enjoying it as much as I am with my own. Books are big around here. Several sometimes in one week! They’ve been taped and stapled… even a few hole punched and tied.

  2. says

    this had me in giggles and grins! i love maia’s book! sienna has been making books, too. she binds them with masking tape. ;)

  3. amy says

    Fabulous. So much hard work and dedicated effort went into this book. Wow!! I love how the spelling goes randomly around the page. (My 5 year old writes the same way. I love how letters and words are still malleable.)
    I know she means it to be a birthday gift but how to part with such a creation!!?! (I guess the answer is to make another soon, eh?)

  4. says

    what an awesome gift! her friend will love it. yep…leif’s #1 activity these days is bookmaking…just about everything he experiences or sees gets made into a book. lots of printer paper and lots of staples! ;-)

  5. says

    I love the sedra!! Yes, Esme’ enjoys making books, and uses mostly plain white paper and scotch tape. My favorite so far has been a teeny tiny book that she wrote the alphabet in, with help from Stephen.

  6. Two Chicks and a Hen says

    Darling! I, too, love the spelling. My preschooler is, indeed, into bookmaking right now. She’s got a pile of paintings she’s amassing to put together as an interpretation of one of the Magic Schoolbus books that she loves. The other day she had me help her put together a book about teeth that turn into people! It’s pretty charming.

  7. says

    What a great book! I love the “Dear”!
    My daughter is 6 and has made a few books, but not many. She likes to fill journal with her art, instead of binding them herself. But she recently asked me for a book back that she made last year of river pictures (I am sad to let it go!) that we bound with little plastic binding rings (the sizes of dimes) that go through a punched out hole. They work really well and can hold alot of pages.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful book!

  8. says

    I just got and read The Book Book: A Journey into Bookmaking
    Sophie B. Pietromarchi – full of really lovely ideas for making books with kids, and written in such a way that you could read The Book Book as a read aloud to kids themselves.

  9. says

    My daughter Nollie loves to make books. We normally take a piece of paper and cut it in half and then fold it in half again and staple. She then draws pictures on all the pages. Sometimes she writes the words herself asking me how to spell and other times she asks me to write out the story. The book then makes its way to our bookshelf where she gets great joy from us reading them at story time.

  10. says

    What a book to treasure!
    Thanks for sharing. Always love seeing what you are doing, as your home is so full of creativity and fun.
    Have a happy Monday,

  11. Liisa says

    We are into book making. One book we had fun making was a touch and feel book for Keely (13 months). Maia collected different textures (fabrics, sandpaper, lace, feathers, etc) and glued them to pages. She also narrated each page. Keely loves the book and looks at it often.

  12. says

    My 5yo made his first book yesterday! <3 <3
    I freaked out with delight.
    I ended up sewing down the middle then gave him cardboard for the cover, taping down the first and last folios.
    I need to see that Book making book you linked to. I was just drawing on my memory of the bit of book history I’ve done. :) Not quite vellum with pig-skin binding, though. LOl!

  13. says

    LOVE this book and your sweet Maia.

  14. says

    What a wonderful idea to make as an art project and/or for a gift. I love the one she did when she was two, this is a great idea and a great keepsake, will try with my three year old.

  15. Rachel says

    YES oh YES! justin has totally been into book-making ever since k-garten started… i’m thinking it’s b/c they often make books in “writer’s workshop.” he uses various tape or glue or staples. he’s gotten into drawing (realism has arrived!) and draws on each page. sometimes the bk has an actual story but usually it’s just pictures with no story just yet. it’s been lots of fun to see him work hard on these and of course… in true justin style… give them away. :( sometimes i get to keep them thankfully!

  16. says

    Sarah, my daughter, is 7 now and has enjoyed making books since she was about 5. Loves the stapler! and twine. Sometimes she’ll write in them, other times draw. One day she decided to make her little brother an ABC book and completed it so quickly I became jealous . . I’d wanted to make one for a while, but just hadn’t started. (I have a perfection problem- since college, I’ve had a hard time consistently putting my ideas down into something tangible. Maybe blame 3 kids? :) Anyway, we also make sketchbooks with cereal boxes and notepads with scrap paper. I’ve started teaching an art class at our homeschool co-op, and the first day we made sketchbooks. The kids treasure them (even those who don’t draw regularly :)

  17. says

    I love it! You are such a good mom for celebrating the pages spread all over the floor… I hope I’d be so tolerant!
    I wanted to tell you that I gave P art supplies from Discount School Supply for her birthday last weekend: big watercolor paper, liquid watercolors, and glitter glue, all a direct result of reading your recommendations. She loved it, and spent a long time on her birthday making 4 or 5 big, beautiful, *glittery* paintings. If I remember someday when it’s light out I’ll take some photos and send them to you!
    Thanks so much.