Make A Family Alphabet Book
…create a one-of-a kind alphabet book for your child’s next birthday or holiday gift…using photographs of your family keep it personal – and perfect…
Here is a gift that won’t be relegated to the Goodwill bag any time soon – or passed around from person to person like the traveling fruitcake of Christmas past. Instead, it will be a treasure long after your children are grown. And you don’t need extraordinary talents to create it either – just a camera or smart phone and an internet connection to access Apple, Walgreens Photo, Mixbooks or any other on-line publishing program. Computer challenged? Opt for a low-tech version and all you’ll need are family photos, a binder, scrap-booking tools and some ingenuity.
The end-result is an ABC book featuring photos of your child, their family, pets and friends and a variety of their favorite things.
Our ABC book project started out simply enough. We decided to make a photo book for our grandsons using family snapshots from my husband’s “IPhoto” collection. He’s done numerous nature shots, too, so I knew we’d have plenty of possibilities for the A’s through the Z’s, and we planned to use lots of photos of the kids and simply label each page with the appropriate alphabet letter.
We were able to avoid “Ungulates” or “Unicorns” for the U by using photos of the twins’ Uncle Jon, and for Q we resorted to a clip art photo of Queen Elizabeth.On a trip to the beach, Joe was snapping a photo of a sea shell he’d posed in the sand for the book. So, I suggested we use twenty tiny shells to make an “S” in the sand instead. That’s when things became more fun – and more complicated. Over the ensuing months, I held a string of glass bulbs in place so Joe could snap a letter “L” made of Christmas lights, we arranged Cheerio’s in a bowl of milk for an “O”, white popcorn kernels became a “P” and we used a spiral of lit votive candles for “C”. Joe was on his own for one particular photo where he strung together some rather uncooperative earthworms into the shape of the letter “W”.
A quest was on for the twin’s favorite things. We hunted parking lots for a school bus and had fun cutting out a wiggly Jello “J.” The Discovery Center and the Nashville Zoo were fertile spots for hunting alphabet photos. We photographed elephants, turtles and found a photogenic grasshopper near the wetlands.
Once we’d selected all the photos, we used a program called Mixbooks to arrange them and added simple lines of text.
Christmas morning, the books were opened and, when the twins saw pictures of themselves in a hard-bound book, we had to stop unwrapping for a quick read. When we babysit, they often run off and return with the homemade book. We snuggle on the sofa, pointing out favorite people on each page, and fingering the alphabet letters they now know so well.
If you have a preteen or teen in the house, let them take photos and help with the layout – they’ll enjoy being named on the book’s “credit” page. And don’t hesitate to make the book from paper and glue. My son, Alex, was born before home computers were the norm. I made a tiny book from cardboard and glue with photos of him, his mom and dad, our dog, and a few close relatives. It was only eight pages long, but we read it over and over to him when he was tiny, and we’ve saved it to this day.
You can use Google Images to find free clip art and photos.
Billie B. Little
Founding Director, Discovery Center