Friday, 20 April 2012

In which I am pleasantly surprised...

...a child's homework assignment.
My oldest son (he's 12) received a homework assignment in which he had to write "a narrative".  Whenever he was working on it, he would say he was working on his "book".  It only stood to reason, then, that when it was time to turn it in, he wanted to turn it in as an actual book.
I didn't take pictures of him during the process but I wanted to give the instructions in case anyone wanted to do this with their child...he was so thrilled with the results:

 The hardest part was printing out the pages...and I have to admit, I did have to help him with this step because he is not overly familiar with the features of the Word Processor.

-Basically, you count out the pages on the screen, determine how many pages you will need to print out the entire story, and number the blank pages lightly in pencil.
-Take the numbered sheets and fiddle around with the spacing on the word processor until you get the pages to line up the way you want them.  We printed each half of each page one at a time rather than try to line up, say, page 4 with page 11, etc.  Each page went through 4 times to get the writing properly aligned, front and back.  Some processors will automatically do this for you, but we are not that advanced.

-Mark each page down the middle where you will be punching the holes to bind it up.  He punched each page one at a time using a metal punch.  A nail would work just as well, I believe.

-For the cover, he cut two panels from a cereal box, cut them 1/2" larger than the paper in each direction so there would be 1/4" overlap all around.  He glued them together with Carpenter's glue (we weren't sure if white glue would dry smooth, or make the cardboard all wrinkly) pattern side to pattern side.

-He chose a piece of thin faux suede for the cover (which was cut to leave a 1" border all around the cereal box cover).  He modge podged the entire cereal box cover on one side only, applied the faux suede and applied another layer of modge podge over that.  Note:  it will start to curve, but will fix itself in the next step.

-We had one sheet of parchment paper left from some other project.  He folded the edges of the faux suede back over the other side of the cereal box cover and glued them extra set of hands helps here to get the corners to line up nicely.  Then he modge podged the parchment paper to the inside cover of the cereal box, hiding his overlap of faux suede.  Now, both sides of the cardboard are equally wet, so it flattens itself out.  He let it dry about 10-15 minutes and then we wrapped it in a garbage bag and pressed it with a few heavy books over night.

-He used one of the pages to mark where the holes should be punched in the cover, and punched them with the metal punch.  Note:  a hammer and nail may work for this, but I think a drill might work better...we did not test either method though.
Then he threaded two pieces of crochet cotton onto a needle and just sewed up the spine of the book (in one whole, out the next hole - all the way down, and then back up the opposite way) tied it off at the top, and left the long overhang for the bookmark.

Now the pleasantly surprised part...He got it back from his teacher yesterday, so I read it last night for the first time (I didn't even read it while it was printing) and it was really really good.  Now, he's a smart kid, I know, but I kept telling my husband "I can't believe he wrote this".  I laughed out loud at least 3 times.  I am super impressed.  Next time he asks me "what should I be when I grow up" (they both still do, on occasion) I think my reply might just be "an author".  Mama brag over now

And for those of you related to me, you just might receive an email in the next couple of days with this story attached.   

Linking up with Linda at Natural Suburbia for Creative Friday, cuz yes, he was creative!  And with Crafty Moms Share for Sharing Saturdays.


  1. Way to Go S! Now come teach my oldest A to do the same!!!

  2. That looks great! We do a lot of pamphlet-sewn blank books around here which the kids love to fill with all sorts of stories, cartoons and drawings. Here is a wonderful resource if you are not experienced in bookmaking:

  3. what a great book! I followed you from Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday. Here is post this week:

  4. That is awesome!!! I just love that you made it into an actual book. I'm not going to lie...I totally want to read a story called "Monsters of the Mountains"! =)

    Glad my post on lace made sense. I hope it smooths the process if you try it again!

  5. That's really great of you child to want to do that! It shows good initiative!