How to Make Books With Kids: Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club

How to make books with kids, inspired by 100 Things You Didn't Know About Atlantic Canada, published by Nimbus Publishing, written by Sarah Sawler

Thanks to Nimbus Publishing who sponsored this post so that we can bring local books to local kids. We only partner with businesses that we believe bring value and enjoyment to Halifax families. If you'd like to talk about working together, please contact us. As always, all opinions are our own.

You all know how much I love Halifax and Atlantic Canada in general. I think it's pretty much the best place to raise a family with the beautiful mix of forest and ocean, urban and rural. That being said, despite living my whole life in this region, there is still much I don't know about it.

This month's Itsy Bitsy Nimbus Book Club's pick is the much anticipated "100 Things You Didn't Know about Atlantic Canada for Kids" by Sarah Sawler, published by Nimbus Publishing. Sarah first wrote an article for Halifax Magazine called "50 Things You Don't Know About Halifax," which was wildly popular, and it started expanding into more articles, then a book, and now a book for kids!

This book is stuffed full of interesting tidbits and facts about our region, and each one comes with a bonus activity or further ideas to explore the fact. It is aimed more at elementary aged kids, but my preschooler still loved hearing and talking about the different facts too (and I did too!!).

Our book club activity today was inspired by 100 Things You Don't Know About Atlantic Canada for Kids, as well as an activity my own kids have been doing a lot of themselves lately, and that's making their own books. This seemingly simple activity builds fine motor skills, imagination, literacy, drawing, writing, research, and, in this case, it also teaches them about their homeland! It is primarily focused on kids ages 3 or 4 and up.

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MAKING BOOKS WITH KIDS

We explored this book two ways. My six year old daughter reads it on her own, and we are also reading one fact each day at the dinner table and talking about it. When one of the facts particularly grabs everyone's interest, it's time to dig deeper into it!

Ask questions to stimulate the child's imagination: Why or how do they think it happened? How do they think a person in the fact felt about the situation? How do they think the fact affected our culture and people, and, sometimes, the whole world? Have we visited the location in the story? Should we visit the place?

Our favourite question is always... "What do you think happened next?" This question is a great launchpad for creating a book that kids can write themselves!

What you'll need:

  • Paper for the pages (white printer paper or construction paper both work great)
  • Pens, pencils, markers, crayons - whatever your child prefers for drawing
  • Stapler
  • 100 Things You Don't Know About Atlantic Canada for Kids by Sarah Sawler (published by Nimbus Publishing)
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Decide if it will be a fiction or nonfiction book. Does your child want to write a story with just the facts, ma'am, or does he or she want to make up a new story about it? For example, one fact is that the first female police officer in Canada lived in Annapolis Royal - perhaps you and your child could make up a story about a case she had to solve. Another fact is about Harry Houdini escaping from a Halifax jail . . . perhaps your child wants to write a biography of Harry Houdini and all the places he escaped from!

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Miss M (six years old) had just made a kite at school and was particularly fascinated to read about Alexander Graham Bell's invention of a kite so big it could lift a person, so she chose to write a story about that.

Decide on the number of pages you'll need and the preferred size of the book. Use full pages for a larger picture book size, or fold a stack in half to make it closer to paperback book size. Your child can work on the sheets while separated (perhaps draw a line for a margin for stapling space later) or staple it now so that their work stays visible once it's bound. If you do staple first you may wish to carefully open each page and crease it so that it's easier for your child to work on.

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Depending on your child's age and ability now they can write the story. You can have them dictate it to you (your phone's microphone comes in handy for this) and then type it up or print it out yourself; or have your child write it themselves, assisting as needed.

They can draw pictures as they go, or add pictures to the pages once they're finished creating the story part. Show them how the text and images work together to tell the story. Don't forget to create a title page with your child's name as the author and illustrator! If you want to get fancy, you can separate the pages once it's done and have the book laminated and bound at an office supply store.

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Writing their own stories like this really cements the information in their brain and helps them to understand our history in a whole new way! Don't be surprised if, after reading 100 Things You Didn't Know About Atlantic Canada you end up with a cool "Did You Know" child who will be astounding friends and family all summer long.

Further Extension Ideas

Build some summer day trips or vacations around facts in the book and learn more about the fact while travelling by visiting local spots related to the stories.

Create a trivial pursuit style board game using facts from the book to play with friends and family.

WIN THIS BOOK!

If you haven't read our other book club posts yet, be sure to check out more book extension posts by clicking here.

We’ve teamed up with Nimbus Publishing to give away a copy of 100 Things You Didn't Know About Atlantic Canada to one lucky reader. Click on this link and hop on over to facebook. Then LIKE the status and COMMENT on the status. One random winner who has done all three tasks will be drawn on Friday, June 22 at 8 p.m. AST. Good luck!

You can buy this book directly from Nimbus Publishing, or from one of the many local and national booksellers.

When the contest closes, one random winner will be drawn. S/he will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond; if there's no reply by then, we will draw for a new winner. Good luck!

*Winners must be age of majority in their home province/state and be residents of Canada or the United States; excluding Quebec. This contest is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.