Making Books with My Nephews
December 3rd, 2011 | Link

I go back to Calgary a couple of times a year. Whenever I visit we have a family dinner, which, between my parents and five siblings and assorted spouses and seven nieces and nephews (five of whom are 10 years old or under), tends to be a chaotic event with lots of catching up to do.

Last weekend the event was at my brother’s place, and I got to spend a little time with my nephews before everyone else arrived. The six-year-old, Reece, was in the playroom drawing, and I asked him if he wanted me to make him a book. He got really excited and gathered a handful of large index cards for me, and tape, and scissors. When I told him I was only going to use one piece of paper and no tape and he was pretty skeptical.

(I have to be honest here: the day before I flew up to Calgary I¬†quickly learned a few single-sheet structures, just in case I got a chance to do this. The pamphlet Books from a Single Sheet of Paper from the web site Bookmaking with Kids¬†has a half-dozen simple structures — including those I used.)

I started out with a book that the BWK pamphlet calls a center cut accordion. Reece wasn’t interested in making the actual book (when it was done he asked me to write “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on the cover and then he handed me another piece of paper and asked me to make one for “Cars”), but while I was working on it his eight-year-old brother Will asked me to show him how to make one. He had a little trouble matching the corners up but it turned out just fine.

Reece wanted another book, so I asked if I should make a “pants book” (dubbed the long cut accordion in the BWK pamphlet — it looks like a pair of pants when unfolded). This got both boys giggling and they thought definitely I should make a pants book. So I made that, and then a simple accordion, and then an accordion with pockets so Reece could put things in the pockets, and then another pocket accordion shaped like a row of houses — so we made paper dolls to put in the house pockets. The dolls had abnormally enormous heads, so Will and I dubbed them Brainiacs.

It was half an hour. I think they had fun. They’re old enough now to remember me when they see me, so I think it would be cool if they remembered me as the auntie that made books.

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My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.

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