The DIY Storybook
By Claudea Blythe of Claudea’s Place
At the age of four, my daughter, Areya, informed me that she was “too old” for story time. This bold statement left me feeling like a failed parent. After all, a “good” mom would be trying her best to raise a lifelong reader.
I figured this was just a phase. So I let her take a break from story times while she graduated to kid films. I needed to respect that. Yet deep down I knew I had to find a way to get her interested in books again. But how?
First I tried buying pop-up books. This worked for about, hmm… two minutes. Completely uninterested in the story, she perused all of the cool pictures and dropped the book on the floor. Okay, on to plan B.
This design involved a little old-fashioned reverse psychology. I bought my 14-year-old son some books and gave them to him while Areya watched. I know you’re thinking that such manipulation is sad, but I was a desperate woman. To my despair, playing the jealous-sibling card didn’t work either. She just shrugged her shoulders and disappeared into her room for more TV.
My resolve was being tested by the relentless will of a four-year-old. I had to do something and fast. One evening on the internet, I surfed across a company called Heritage Makers. It’s a storybook publishing company that helps people create professionally printed, hardbound books. My long-sought epiphany! “I will create a book, and my child will love it!” Presto.
I gathered all of my photos from a family Disney® cruise we took. I thought my daughter would love seeing herself featured in a book with all of her favorite characters. Next, I uploaded the photos onto my personal account, which I set up directly through the Heritage Makers website. Then I chose the book’s style from the site’s “Product Gallery.”
And now, my masterpiece. Creating the book was surprisingly easy. I put the pictures where I wanted them and typed in the text. After reviewing everything to make sure it was exactly the way I imagined, I clicked “Publish.” Voilà! I was now a published author.
When the book arrived a little over week later, I excitedly tore open the packaging to find a gorgeous, full-bleed picture of the cruise ship on the cover. The pages were glossy, the pictures beautiful and the story delightful. I absolutely loved it. Even though I was pumped with pride, the true test of my brilliance was in her room watching…surprise, a video.
That night before bed, I suggested we try something new. I revealed the new book, and before I could start reading, she lunged off of her pillow shouting, “that’s me, mommy!” Even though she now wants to read the same book – her book – over and over, I can proudly say that my daughter enjoys reading. Mission accomplished!
Postscript: Claudea, mother to Areya and Eric, from San Antonio, Texas, is a member of the San Antonio Work at Home Moms Meetup. Claudea loved making her daughter’s Heritage Makers storybook so much she signed up to be an independent sales representative for them.Published October 3, 2006. Last updated September 17, 2018.