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Creating Books With Children - 2 DVD set Review by Christine Field

By: Valerie Bendt

Imagine looking at a bookshelf full of books authored by your children. Valerie Bendt knows that distinct pleasure. She shows us on this two DVD set how to create a keepsake book, including illustrating and binding, which you and your child will treasure for a lifetime.

Designed to be a six-week unit study, Mrs. Bendt takes us through the entire process. On disc one, she discusses the six steps required. Week one consists of prewriting activities, including brainstorming activities and settling on a topic. In week two, the child actually writes the stories, whether hand writing or dictated. Mrs. Bendt gives lots of tips for dealing with reluctant writers and effortlessly including grammar in the process. In week three, we learn about text layout and editing, including creating a mock text to indicate where to place text and illustrations. Week four is devoted to actual illustration, including ideas for children who lack confidence in their drawing. In week five, we are shown how to make the beginning and ending pages and the book jackets and in week six we assemble the books, which consists of taping, sewing and using contac paper.

These are not notebooks or stapled together little books! The finished product looks like a bound volume with a dust jacket. These books are beautiful! Mrs. Bendt shared several books created by her children on the video. The content of the books ranged from creative fiction to sign language ABC to an interpretive illustration of the 23rd Psalm. So, whether your child is a comfortable with fiction, with writing reports or just loves to draw, this book making method can be used.

Book making can be integrated into any curriculum. A study of ancient Greece can lead to a fictional, illustrated account of a young child's first visit to the Olympics. A unit on inventors and inventions can lead to a beautiful bound volume on the life and lessons of the inventor. The possibilities here are endless.

Disc two of the set goes step-by-step through the process of making a book. Mrs. Bendt carefully shows us how to go from idea to bound volume. If any of these ideas seems difficult to get your brain around, have no fear! You will clearly understand the process after seeing this presentation.

This really captured my imagination. Mrs. Bendt reflected on how she envisions her daughter sitting with her own daughter and reading the illustrated book she had created in her childhood. What a beautiful memory to make with your homeschooled child!

Because I know the joy of seeing a completed, bound book on my shelf, having published six of my own, I want to give my children the great joy of this experience. Excuse me while we go make some books! Try this! You AND your child will love it.

-- Product Review by Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine