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Re: [BKARTS] Books for Babies and Toddlers

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    A belated response to the books for babies and toddlers post.
    My kids are now 16 and 10 but I made books for them when they were
young. I made a bunch of cloth books when my son was a baby. I used old
cotton and made the pages with cloth and batting so they were soft, then
sewed several pieces together down the middle to make the book. I used
fabric markers to do the writing and illustrations and they were washable.
I made one for my son and several others for other babies. My son was close
to a year and didn't pay much attention to his book. Other kids were 6 to 8
months and their parents said the kids loved them. The difference in the
response could have been the ages, the kids' personalities, or the fact
that the parents were just being polite.
    When my daughter turned two, my 8 year old son supervised the
construction of a board book for her birthday. He said it had to be really
thick like a real board book so I used mat board. I drilled holes in the
side and tied the pages together with curling ribbon for a festive look. It
held up surprisingly well. The pages were double thickness- two pieces of
mat board facing out. I rounded the corners and covered the pages with
clear contact paper. The book was called Kendra's Day and was a series of
photographs of her going about her day from a breakfast of Cheerios to her
in her crib in the evening. She spent a lot of time with her book and I
think one of the main reasons was the photos of her and the relevance to
her life. I also made an alphabet book using cutup cereal boxes for the
pages and photographs for the illustrations. The pages were again covered
with clear contact paper and the binding was again a loose-leaf style with
two holes on the edge and tied with flat cord. It was a fun way to use
miscellaneous photographs. I cut around the images rather than using the
whole photo so I used those photos that have poles growing out of people's
heads, etc. On the subject of alphabet books, I also made an accordion
alphabet book when my son was around 4 by gathering objects and xeroxing
them- the letter on each page was a Fisher Price plastic magnetic letter.
    Another form that has worked well is a Japanese binding. Because the
pages are doubled, they have more strength than a western style binding. I
made a series of books using xeroxed and then collaged photos with stories
about my son. I also did a collaborative book with my daughter's preschool
class in which each child contributed one page- an illustration and
dictated text and we put it all together to make a strangely plotted but
charming story about dinosaurs. My son and I also made my daughter a
Christmas book with a japanese binding and envelopes with things inside.
    I made some books strictly for their use without any care for their
fate and some more carefully contracted ones that we only read together. If
it's an easy book to make multiples of, I make one for current use and one
to save. I like to have some version of the ones that use photos or tell
stories about their lives for future memorabilia. They also make good gifts
for grandparents.

in good spirit

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA


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