Saturday, December 26, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas

I make a big deal of the Christmas season and celebrate it throughout the twelve days (December 25-January 5). I am making a post for each day at in good spirit. Today's is about a book I made from felt figures my mother made back in the 1960s.

Here are my favorite books of The Twelve Days of Christmas:

Jan Brett

Gennady Spirin

Robert Sabuda

Ilse Plume

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quotations Books

I quote others only to better express myself.
Michel de Montaigne

I've always loved quotations. When I discovered calligraphy, I fell in love with the pen and the ink, but also the opportunity to write out quotes and express my love of words. In the last few years, I've started collecting quotes again. This time of year seems especially ripe for quotations as we prepare for the holiday season, reflect on the year that is passing, and look forward to the dawn of a new year.

I've made a series of small books of quotations to hang on the tree and attach to packages. Each book is made from one quarter of a sheet of US Letter/A4 paper with writing on one side only following the directions for the hot dog booklet. The covers are cut from saved greeting cards from previous years. There are two shapes of books. The traditional book shape on the package was made following the directions. The long, narrow books (one held vertically and one horizontally) were made by folding a hamburger first and then a hot dog. Notice that the package is wrapped with newspaper and tied with used videotape.

Written Directions

Youtube Video

Books and Links

Quotations for Kids by J.A. Senn
Over 2,000 quotations for kids. What I especially like about this collection is the number of quotes from children's book characters and children's book writers.

"The world is a wonderful place when you're young."
E.B. White, US author, said by a goose, Charlotte's Web

Daily Learners
A quote a day about learning with links to more information about the authors. Created by a homeschooling parent.

"The most important motive in the school and in life is the pleasure in the work."
Albert Einstein

I don't have a favorite general website for quotations. I usually search quotations and the topic and see what comes up.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Family Literacy Workshop

I had a wonderful time last night at Family Literacy Night at the Mill Pond School in Westborough, MA. Four groups of parents and children each spent fifteen minutes with me. I shared some of my collection of traditional books from different cultures and then we made one or two simple books together. It was fast-paced and lively and I heard lots of people talking about making more books at home which what I love to hear. As usual we used recycled materials: used paper with writing on one side and cereal boxes. Families also spent time looking at a display of sample books outside the room.

Favorite quote of the evening: "I'll never look at a cereal box the same way again."

Favorite reaction to a book: A mother looked at the Book to Heal the Spirit accordion book and told her daughter they would make one for a family friend who has cancer.

Photos from the evening

Books Around the World, a look at some of the books in my collection

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Am Thankful Scroll

As Thanksgiving approaches, it is a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. This month's project is a new version of the Wish Scroll which makes a great "I am thankful" scroll for Thanksgiving.

There are three containers and scrolls in the photo. The container on the left is made from a cap from soy sauce covered with wrapping paper and curling ribbon saved from a package. The one in the middle is made from a film container covered with paper from a catalog and old videotape. The one on the right is made from the top of an Avery glue stick covered with brown grocery bag and yarn. All the scrolls were cut from brown grocery bag.

One of the things I am thankful for is my work. It keeps me curious and engaged and gives me the comfort and satisfaction of making things with my hands and sharing with others.This scroll was inspired by the new version that will be in Handmade Books for a Healthy Planet (coming in April if all goes according to plan). The directions on the website and the accompanying pdf have also been changed.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recycled Materials for Making Books pdf

I will be teaching at the University of Utah next summer (very exciting to be in Salt Lake City again and to add a trip to eastern Utah) and put together a list of materials for the workshop. After that, I was inspired to put the materials information from together with some photo pages of materials in a pdf.

You can download the free pdf through

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bookmaking Projects in Spanish

I am so pleased to say that the free bookmaking projects on my website are now available in Spanish. It's a wonderful story of the use of the web for communication and sharing. The translations were done by Lourdes V. Pichardo and Laura Mason Zeisler, M.Ed who kindly donated their efforts. Laura is the Executive Director of Explorations Unlimited, an education consulting firm specializing in training, technical assistance and resource evaluation and development. She had met me at a workshop many years ago. She recently contacted me to ask permission to translate the projects and I asked if the translations could then be posted on the web. She and Lourdes provided the translated texts which I then put into the documents used to create the pdfs and the web pages. Please share this information; I'm thrilled to be able to bring bookmaking to a wider audience. Thank you Laura and Lourdes.

Follow the link at the bottom of the Free Activities page

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Newspapers and Books

When it comes to the 3 Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse) and newspapers, our house follows the last two but not the first. As subscribers to the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and our local Daily News plus a gift subscription to the weekly Washington Post, I sometimes feel we are personally keeping the newspaper industry afloat. I have been using newspaper in bookmaking for a while, but was inspired to include it as this month's project by a visit to the Paper House in Rockport, MA which was constructed of newspaper in the 1920s and is filled with furniture made from newspapers.

The photos here show two accordion books. The top is A Book to Heal the Spirit with pages made from one half of a front panel of a grocery bag and illustrations cut from a newspaper.

The second book, A Time Line Accordion, was made from a newspaper page (one, not a double spread) folded in half the long way and glued together. I cut slits in the pages and threaded a piece of old videotape through the slits to make the line.

Both of these projects will be in my new book, Handmade Books for a Healthy Planet. It takes the projects in Multicultural Books To Make And Share and updates them to use recycled materials and reflect a freer approach to making books. It will have a new shape and design as well as the major revision in process of making the books. I am working on it now and expect it to be published in April for Earth Day.

Accordion Book Directions on youtube

Written Directions

The Paper House in Rockport
Here is the site for the Newspaper House in Rockport with some photos and an interview with the caretaker who is the grand niece of Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed the machines that make paper clips and built his summer home out of paper as a hobby.

How Newspapers Work at

A thorough explanation of the process of making a newspaper with a behind-the-scenes look at the Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C. as a real-world example.

History of Newspapers

Information about the development of the newspaper from Europe in the early 1600s until today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Word Play at Maudslay

Maudslay is a place of connection between the made world and the world of nature; a place that can be a playground as well as a space to contemplate the beauties of the natural world. Word Play brings letters and a word game to the observation of this magnificent maple. Stand under the spreading branches and find 22 letters which can be unscrambled to form five words (3,6,2,4,7 letters) that are a quotation from William Wordsworth about nature.

Yesterday we installed Word Play at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA. It was one of those wonderful times when the final result looked as good as I had hoped. It was the culmination of a long process. The site was chosen and the plans submitted in May. Then, of course, instead of working on it through the summer, I waited until less than two weeks before to start. I purchased what are called drops, small pieces left over from cutting down larger sheets, of 28 gauge galvanized metal and a pair of snips at Port Sheet Metal and left with instructions from Sandy on how to avoid injury. I managed to complete the twenty-two letters (first cut from paper using some of my old calligraphy teaching handouts as a guide) without a scratch but with a sore hand. Cutting metal is certainly not like cutting paper. I spray painted the letters brown. I gathered sticks, bark, and pine cones and to attach to the letters. I made holes with an awl and then wired the materials on. I hadn't given any thought to time when I made my original plans and it took way longer than I expected. Was my family surprised? Of course not.

The final stage came on Sunday. My husband was in charge of the installation. We had several ideas for getting the letters onto the tree (his favorite one, using a screw gun, was not allowed) and happily found that tying black coated wire around the tree did a great job holding the letters in place. My daughter came along and happily assisted by climbing the tree as well as from the ladder and learned how to tie a square knot.

If you are in the area, please come by Maudslay. There are 35 sculptures in the park and a catalog available to guide you through. A reception and tour will take place on Saturday, September 19 from 2-5 pm.

Find out more about Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay here.

Find the unscrambled quotation from William Wordsworth in this free pdf.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Dynamics by Ed Hutchins

Ed Hutchins creates editioned books that are both playful and profound. In Book Dynamics, he has produced a wonderful record of his bookmaking adventures since the late sixties. Through photographs and words, he tells the story of his journey as an artist and a person. He shares his enthusiasm, humor, and commitment to his art and to making the world a better place. Ed's own words are complemented by essays by William J. Dane, Newark Public Library Keeper of Prints and Works of Art, and artists Bertha Rogers and C.J. Grossman.

You can find out more about Book Dynamics at Ed's website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Memory of Ted Kennedy

I was so moved by the ceremonies for the passing of Senator Kennedy that I made a small book to remember both the occasions and the man. The inside of the accordion book (shown in photo) contains the line from Psalm 72 repeated in the Responsorial Psalm read by Kara Kennedy at the Funeral Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Here's a pdf for you to print out on US Letter size paper and make a book of your own. To make the book, fold the paper in half the long way with the writing on the outside. Follow the written or video directions for folding an accordion book. When you make the first accordion fold, Justice shall ... should be on the outside.

You can see a pdf of the Funeral Service program here.

And here is my favorite photo in all the coverage by Frederick G.S. Clow, Special to the Gloucester Daily Times in Gloucester, MA.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Herbal Fan Book

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
Arabian Proverb

It's the time of year to celebrate the bounty of the garden and my favorite, and only edible, crop is herbs.

For the book, you'll need:
a panel of a cereal box
a piece of paper
a twist tie
two buttons

To make the book:
1. Trace a plate on a cereal box panel and cut it out.

2. Trace the same plate on a piece of paper and cut out. I used a brown grocery bag.

3. Glue the paper circle on one side of the box circle.

4. Cut the circle in eighths. You can do it by eye or trace and cut another circle from scrap paper and fold it to use as a guide.

5. Punch a hole in each narrow end by pushing the punch in as far as it will go. It may take some extra oomph to get through. You can keep the pointy ends of the pages or trim them off (what I did).

6. Thread a twist tie through a button, make the ends even and thread them through the holes of the pages. Thread the twist tie through another button and twist the tie to make it secure.

If you want to make a simpler book, start with a rectangle and make rectangular pages.

Don't care about herbs? Make a book of trees, shells, dogs, cats, or favorite books.

Herb Society Schools Site
A site from the Herb Society of the UK. Most of the site is geared for children with some advice about making a school garden for teachers. There's a a puzzle page, information about the history of herbs around the world, suggestions for activities such as making a tussie-mussie, and information abut individual herbs.

Herbs at
Information on setting up a garden and suggestions for curriculum connections and history. Unfortunately most of the links in the Resources section are expired.

The Herb Guide

Information on herbs including a culinary A-Z.


Hand Lettered Labels and Tags for Gardens and Gift Bouquets

Downloadable pdf, $1.95

Thursday, July 30, 2009

BookFest 2009

Ed Hutchins and Carolyn Chadwick have worked together for many years to promote artists' books. My first encounter with their magic was as an instructor at the Book Arts Jamboree for educators in Cairo, NY in 1999. Ed founded and directed the program and Carolyn helped to keep everything running smoothly. Their most recent collaboration was Beyond Words: Book Fest 2009 at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, New Jersey. You can find more information at the website including an essay by Miriam Schaer and photographs of the books with links to the artists' websites. I applaud them (and all the others who do the same) for taking the extra effort to share the work with us. There is a rich world of book arts out there and it is an inspiration to be able see virtually what we cannot travel to in person.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Picture Books by E.B. Lewis

I just came across two wonderful books by artist and illustrator E.B. Lewis. In one, he created images that deepen our experience of the Langston Hughes poem, The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In This Little Light of Mine, a visual story that illustrates the meaning accompanies the African-American spiritual, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." Lewis's masterful watercolors convey warmth, depth, and majesty. They speak to the soul and show us how powerful the combination of word and image can be.

You can find out more about his work at his website. Make sure your browser has a wide window open as the navigation is at the far right.

A report on E.B. Lewis's keynote at the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference on Tara Lazar's blog.

Picture Books as Inspiration

Whenever you read or hear advice to writers, the one constant piece of advice seems to be: read. For the kind of simple bookmaking I do and advocate, my advice is to read and look at (we are usually working with the visual as well as the written) picture books. I just started taking my own advice and once a week or so visiting a small section of the picture books in the children's room at my local library. The books are filed by author's name. I've been picking a letter and browsing through. I choose whatever catches my eye and seems to fit my mood. I'm interested in what the story is, how it is divided among the pages, the style of the illustrations, and how they're integrated with the text.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guild of Bookworkers Website

The Guild of Bookworkers has a fabulous new website that will provide hours of exploration, including galleries from six exhibitions (Marking Time, 100th Anniversary Exhibition, In Flight, Best of the Best, Abecedarium, and PaperBound), past journals and newsletters in pdf form, a searchable directory of supplies and services, and more.

Here is a message from GBW President James Reid-Cunningham:
Founded in 1906, the Guild of Book Workers is the only national organization for all of the arts of the book, including bookbinding, conservation, printing, papermaking, calligraphy, marbling and artist's books. The Guild currently has 850 members, both professional and amateur, from all over the country. Our ten regional chapters organize lectures, workshops and exhibitions for our members.

The Guild publishes an annual Journal and a bi-monthly newsletter for members, and we host an annual four-day conference called the Seminar in Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding. Our library has hundreds of monographs and periodicals in the book arts, and these materials are available for loan to our members. We hold triennal juried exhibitions that showcase the artwork of our members, and these exhibitions travel to venues nationwide.

This webpage is the creation of our communications chair, Eric Alstrom, and designer Rich Price. They have done a splendid job of presenting the myriad activities of our 103-year old organization.

Consider joining the organization for access to upcoming members only web features, subscriptions to their newsletters and journals, exhibition opportunities, participation in the annual Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding, as well as regional chapter activities.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sijo Stick and Elastic Book

Stick and Elastic Book written directions (web and pdf)

Stick and Elastic Book youtube tutorial

Sijo (shee-jo) is a Korean form of poetry, sometimes called the Korean haiku. The Boston Globe published an article about Harvard's Korea Foundation professor of Korean literature David McCann (who I had the privilege of meeting before my trip to Korea) and his quest to introduce the rest of us to sijo. This month's project is a stick and elastic book to make a home for your sijo poems.

Sijo have 3 lines, each with 14-16 syllables. The first line of the poem introduces the subject, the second line develops it, and the third offers a twist. Because the lines are rather long, they are sometimes written out in six lines. I've taken the liberty of sharing one of the poems from Linda Sue Park's Tap Dancing on The Floor which was featured in an interview on


For someone to read a poem
again, and again, and then,

having lifted it from page
to brain-the easy part-

cradle it on the long trek
from brain all the way to heart

Book 1: The long, narrow shape of the top book lends itself to the three line version. I used 4 pieces of used copy paper with writing on one side folded in half with the writing on the inside for the pages. Instead of an elastic, I used 2 strips cut from a piece of plastic netting on a clementine box and tied them together with a double knot at the top and bottom.

Book 2: This book would be best for the six line variation. I punched the holes along the fold rather than on the pages. The stick is less decorative but the pages will open flat. I used all recycled materials: a plastic piece from a ball point pen for the stick, an elastic from vegetables, used wrapping paper, and used copy paper attached with fruit stickers instead of glue.


Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
Linda Sue Park, whose book A Single Shard won the Newbery Medal in 2002, has written a wonderful book of sijo poems for children with an author's note about the history and tips for writing sijo of your own.

School Library Journal Interview with Linda Sue Park Interview with Linda Sue Park

Boston Globe Article about David McCann
Listen to him explain, recite, and sing sijo on page 2.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Very Hungry Caterpillar Step Book

Step Book written directions (web and pdf)

Step Book youtube tutorial

June 25th is Eric Carle's eightieth birthday and The Very Hungry Caterpillar turns 40 this year. To celebrate, June's project is a Hungry Caterpillar Step Book.

I made the book from 4 pieces of paper (US Letter or A4 paper cut in half the short way). It has 6 steps (Monday through Saturday) plus a extra layer for the title and butterfly page. It is easiest to make a three-step book and then line the fourth piece up with the first small step and fold it around the back. Children can write their own words or you can print out the words here.

Page by page pictures of this book are on Flickr.


Eric Carle's classic book which turns forty this year.

The Official Eric Carle Website
This wonderful website includes a photo and video gallery and Eric Carle's blog among other offerings.

Eric Carle talks about The Very Hungry Caterpillar
In this youtube video produced by Waterstone's bookstore for the fortieth anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle talks about its creation.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
The website of Eric Carle's Museum in Amherst, MA. There are lots of events planned for this birthday/anniversary year as well as exhibits by other children's book illustrators.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Entertaining Eight: Step Books

A new addition to the Workshop Papers Series: Eight entertaining ideas for using the step book including Very Hungry Caterpillar books, a counting book, a Where I Live book, and a Family Tree. This style of book works for children of all ages.

Reasonably priced at $2.95 and available at

Monday, May 25, 2009

I received a very kind email from Meliors Simms telling me of her mention of my blog and website on her blog, Bibliophilia. She wrote about doing bookmaking with migrant children.

Everyone over about 4 years old enjoyed making their own books, either or both of the examples I prepared. I showed them what Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord calls a Hotdog Book, which is universally popular simple structure, and a basic accordion with a folded card cover. Anyone lucky enough to be spending time with children should check out Susan's Making Books With Children blog and website. Its a brilliant example of the how-to-craft genre on the internet, full of inspiring ideas, excellent advice and clear instructions.

Visit her blog to learn about her creative work that spans genres from artists books to a film presentation of a book, chalk poetry, and her Coral Threnody project which uses crochet and embroidery.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Am I? Artist Book

I recently visited the Bowen Cooperative Nursery School in Newton, MA. The four year old class was learning about artists and we made a Who Am I? Book. I made a few adaptations to my usual presentation to suit the age of the children. Folding into thirds can be difficult so I drew pencil lines on each paper to serve as guides during folding. The paper was 10.5" (with lines at 3.5" and 7") by 16. 5" (with lines at 5.5" and 11"). We had plenty of adult hands to help and the kids did a terrific job. Here are directions for making your own Who Am I? Book. You can see photographs of the sample I made here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Newburyport Literary Festival Workshop

Chris McGarry took some photos of my workshop, Think Green: Paperbag Bookmaking, at the Newburyport Literary Festival in April. You can see them at the festival blog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recycled Alphabet Accordion Book

I had so much fun making this accordion alphabet book of letters formed with materials from my collection of recycled materials. The pages were made from foam core left over from a political campaign project. You can also use pieces of corrugated cardboard cut from boxes. To attach the letters, I poked holes in the foam core with an awl and used yarn, ribbon, and twist ties to hold the materials in place.

I made the book in three sections as the full length accordion was too bulky and awkward to transport to workshops. I joined the individual pages by taping them in the back, leaving a little bit of space between the pages.

You can see the complete Recycled Alphabet here.

There are too many wonderful alphabet books to choose one or two to feature so I'm giving links to some bibliographies and other websites.

From the Kalamazoo Public Library
A good list with pictures of the covers and short descriptions

From the Boston Children's Museum
A long list with a particular focus on different cultures and parts of the world

A is for Archive: One Hundred Years of Alphabet Books
View page-by-page presentations alphabet books from history. There's an Anti-Slavery Alphabet Book from 1847 (I just saw a facsimile at the Smithsonian on a recent trip to Washington) and an Alphabet of Celebrities from 1901 which include Diogenes, Darwin, and Dante for D.

Abecedarium: An Exhibit of Alphabet Books
Members of the Guild of Bookworkers created artists' books for this 1998 exhibit. An inspiring collection.

Fantastic Five: Alphabet Books

Fantastic Five: Alphabet Books is the second in the Workshop Papers Series which are reasonably priced pdfs of my workshop handouts. They include directions for projects and photographs of completed works for inspiration. Fantastic Five has directions for five alphabet books that go beyond A is for Apple. This celebration of the power of the twenty-six letters and the words they make is recommended for grades 3 and up.

Available at lulu for $2.95.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mole Music

The Newburyport Literary Festival closed with a program honoring children's book author and illustrator and native son David McPhail. Fontaine Dollas and the Joppa Jr. Jazz Dance Company performed a spirited original dance of David's book Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore with a reading by her husband Andre Dubus III. Jay Schadler gave a humorous and heartfelt tribute to his friend and introduced a film about David McPhail by Peter Vandermark. David then spoke about growing up in Newburyport and experiences at the Newburyport Public Library. The evening and the festival concluded with a reading of Mole Music by Maureen Daly, director of the Newburyport Montessori School, accompanied by Madeline and Claire Werner on violin.

The presentation of Mole Music left us all with inner glow from both the words of David McPhail and the poise and talent of the two young violinists. The book is proof that picture books are not just for kids and that simple stories can speak to us at a deep level. Mole lives underground and spends his days digging and his evenings watching TV. After seeing a violinist performing on TV, he orders one. His first sounds are horrible but he practices and practices until many years later he can play even better than the violinist he heard on TV. He is happier than he has ever been but wonders what it would be like to play for others. Although he doesn't know it, his music travels above ground and brings pleasure and peace to the world above. Mole Music speaks of the power of art to change the world and its intrinsic value whether it is made in a hole in the ground or in a concert hall or gallery.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Third Grade Books Inspired by David McPhail

Third grade students at the Bresnahan School in Newburyport, MA made books inspired by the books of David McPhail. Retired librarian Karen Twomey returned to the school to guide the children through an exploration of David McPhail's books and the creation of their own. The books were on display at the Newbuyrport Public Library as part of the 2009 Newburyport Literary Festival.

The books were made by following the directions for the hot dog booklet and adding a cover of construction paper. You can find directions for the hot dog booklet here and a youtube tutorial here.

You can see more photos here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Interview on the Elephant Rag

Terry Farish did an interview with me for her blog, The Elephant Rag. Writing the responses to her thought-provoking questions was a learning experience for me. Her questions made me think about why I make books and why teaching them is so important.

"Living in this world of media saturation, it is easy to think that all the important things are happening somewhere else. Making books about our own stories and our own lives reminds us that we are the center of our own lives."

You can read the interview here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Clouds Index Card Accordion Book

Spring in New England is a wonderful time to look at the sky. While we hunger for warmth that has not yet arrived, we can take joy in the brightness of white clouds in a blue sky (except of course when it rains or snows). But of course the sky deserves our attention every day of the year. John Day, "Cloud Man", called clouds and cloudscapes the greatest free show on earth. Here's what poet David McCord said about the sky.

I used three strips cut from the side panels of a grocery bag and 12 index cards for the book. There are ten different types of clouds. I used the top card for the title and the bottom one for information about the Latin names. I colored the cards blue with the side of a crayon and cut the clouds from index cards and glued them on. The tie is a loop made from a plastic newspaper delivery bag.


The story of Luke Howard who gave the clouds the Latin classification names we use today is interspersed with Grace's monthly weather journal which is full of facts about the weather from how clouds are made to how to make a rain gauge. Lots of information presented in an engaging manner.

Beautiful paintings of clouds in the landscape by Thomas Locker accompanied by short poetic sentences. The book concludes with a visual guide to the clouds.

For Spacious Skies

In the early 80s, I listened every weekday afternoon to Music America with Ron Della Chiesa on WGBH in Boston. One of his guests was Jack Borden, who was then a local TV news reporter. He had started an organization called For Spacious Skies which grew out a TV piece he did. He stopped twenty people, shielded their eyes, and asked them what the sky looked like that day. Most people said something like "It's sunny" and no one could describe it in detail. The website has an NPR interview with Jack Borden, essays by him and teachers who have worked with For Spacious Skies, and links.
This website created by the late John Day, known as Cloud Man has a Gallery of Clouds, Mini Cloud Atlas, Ten Reasons To Look Up, and much more.

Cloud Concentration Matching Game

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bound & Lettered Article/Recycled Bookmaking

The current issue of Bound & Lettered has an article I wrote called Bookmaking with Recycled Materials: A Journey. An essay about my conversion to using recycled materials and the benefits, both expected and unexpected, is accompanied by photographs of sample books and ideas for projects of your own.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Celebration of the Books of David McPhail

This year the Newburyport Literary Festival is honoring children's book author and illustrator David McPhail who grew up in Newburyport. The Firehouse has a wonderful exhibit of David's illustrations downstairs. Upstairs is a companion exhibit of work inspired by David's books by kindergarten students from the Brown School in Newburyport. The vibrant and varied illustrations were done under the guidance of school librarian Judy Avery. She began by introducing the children to David's books and then gave them additional time to view his books on their own. They watched a DVD about David and his development as an artist. When he was a child, he drew all the time, often on brown paper bags. To prepare for their final illustrations, the students followed his lead and did sketches on brown paper bags. They did their final drawings on white drawing paper in their choice of media.

The complete schedule of events at the Newburyport Literary Festival including events for children and young adults throughout the day.
David McPhail will be signing books in the Children's Room of the Newburyport Public Library from 2:30 to 3:45.

More photos from the children's exhibit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The First of the Workshop Paper Series

I gave a workshop on Friday at the Massachusetts Reading Association Conference. It was in the last block of sessions of the two-day conference and a perfect way to relax and unwind while learning. We were in an out-of-the-way location but those who made the trek were rewarded with an inviting room with round tables and a view of the lake at the Sturbridge Host Hotel. For the past two years I have made my handouts as pdfs to be downloaded. This offers the advantage of adding phtotographs and additional material that I would not have been able to put in printed handouts. I decided to make the pdfs available to all at the reasonable price of $2.95 each.

Fabulous Four: Star, Diamond Fold Accordion, Spiral, and Necklace Books can be purchased at my lulu storefront.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Palm Leaf Books

When I created a logo for Terry Farish's The Elephant Rag (see previous post), I spent some time with books in my collection from around the world. I was reminded of how beautiful the palm leaf books from India and Southeast Asia are and what an easy form it is to work with for children.

I used strips cut from a cereal box for the pages and and bread bag closures instead of beads. The page design is based on a photograph I saw of a page from a palm leaf book from India. The center border separates the text from the illustration. This is one of the sixteen projects in Multicultural Books to Make And Share. I make this book about sequence a lot with first grades.

The Elephant Rag
The Elephant Rag is a blog/magazine about children's books with voices from around the world. You'll find links to book lists, interviews, talk about race, and stories about amazing people. Follow the link from The Elephant Rag to Terry's website which has information about her books and workshops.

Books Around the World
A photo of an illustrated palm leaf book made in Bali can be found in Books Around the World, a photo essay written for children of books in my collection.

Information on the construction of palm leaf books

from the Buddha Mind website. Make sure you click on the small images on the left; they will lead you to more images.

Traditional Cambodian Books in FACES magazine
An article I wrote about Traditional Cambodian Books appeared in the September 1998 issue of FACES magazine. Each issue of the magazine focuses on a particular culture or topic. With the help of an interpreter, I interviewed the Venerable Sao Khon, the senior monk at the Triratanaram Temple in North Chelmsford, MA for the article.

The Elephant Rag

I was recently commissioned to create a logo for Terry Farish's wonderful blog/magazine about children's books with voices from around the world called The Elephant Rag. There you'll find links to book lists, interviews, talk about race, and stories about amazing people.

The logo was created in several stages. The background was built from images layered in photoshop: a photographed page from a book from Bhutan, plus scanned pages from a Mexican curandero book in Spanish from San Pablito and a book from Japan with the words to a Noh drama. All are muted so they blend together.

The elephant was drawn and the text lettered with my favorite pentel brush fountain pen. My first one was purchased from John Neal Bookseller but after a plane trip to Oregon this fall, I found that the ink flow was less controlled. I then began to use the pen I purchased while visiting Korea.

A light opacity of a scan of amate or amatyl bark paper from Mexico is laid over the entire image and an outer outline is from a scan of mashamba paper from Africa.

Word-A-Day Journal Report

Here's what I've been doing with my Word-A-Day Journal. Each day I write one word that is very specifically related to something I did that day. Sometimes I miss a few days but I do go back and fill in. After I skipped two pages by mistake, I now put the number of the day in the corner of each page at the beginning of the month. After the month ends, I go back and write a little bit on each page so I will remember the significance of the word and sometimes I add a very quick little drawing. I've posted some pictures on the Word-A-Day flickr group. You have to be a flickr member to join and the photos are available for viewing only to those who sign up for the Word-A-Day Journal group.

If you'd like to make your own, you can find my youtube tutorial here. I started at the beginning of the new year, but you can start at any time. Perhaps the first day of spring? Several correspondents have also mentioned giving them as birthday gifts.

April 2009 Workshops

Diamond Fold, Star, Spiral, And Necklace Books
Mass Reading Association Conference
Sturbridge, MA
Friday, April 3
1-2:30 PM

Inspire your students with this popular and versatile series of books that all start with the same folded unit. The books are excellent for separating the main ideas
from details and can be applied across the curriculum. The hands‐on session is designed to encourage creative thinking and experimentation as you learn specific techniques.

Creative Bookmaking
Global Studies
Framingham State College
Framingham, MA
Saturday, April 4
8:45 AM-3:00 PM

Books are wonderful vehicles for content across the curriculum. Students are inspired to write and research more when they have a handmade book to display their efforts. Making books also provides an opportunity for creative thinking as forms are varied and combined. This session will include combinations of fold and cut booklets, diamond fold books, and sewn bindings. Susan will teach you the forms and then work with you to vary and adapt them to create a number of different books and develop curriculum applications appropriate for your particular needs. You'll leave with sample books ready for the classroom and ideas for many more. For those who have taken Susan's workshops before, these sessions repeat some familiar techniques but allow more time for experimentation and development of ideas. Recycled materials will be used.

Think Green: Paper Bag Bookmaking
Newburyport Literary Festival
Newburyport, MA
Saturday, April 25
2:45-4 PM

What do you need to transform everyday materials into a book? Imagination, the creative urge, an ordinary paper bag and an old cereal box, that's what. For more than twenty years Newburyport bookmaker Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord has been inspiring children--in school and at home--to create original books from recycled materials. During her workshop for families with children 4 and older (all materials provided) everyone will make and illustrate books of their own.

Welcome to the Aquarium

Welcome to the Aquarium by Julie Diamond takes us through one year in the life of a kindergarten teacher and her class at P.S. 87 in New York City. Excerpts from her journal thread through the book in which she describes her teaching methods and philosophy and her struggles to bring out the best in her class and herself as a teacher. There are many practical pieces of information but to me the most important overall point is that she is a teacher constantly engaged in self reflection through which she grows as a teacher and keeps engaged in the process. Julie Diamond is the kindergarten teacher we all wish we and our children had.

Our resources are our own capacities: Our Capacity to observe, especially at moments when nothing seems to be going on. Our capacity to be surprised by something a child said or did or made. Our capacity to be puzzled, and to mine puzzlement, to see something that escaped us earlier. Our capacity to recognize whatever has deep personal meaning, for our students and also for ourselves (a colleague's class study of birds). Not least, our capacity for friendship—our searching out sympathetic people, who provide the human environment we need. I began the school year, after all, walking to school with a friend. These are steps teachers can make immediately, right now; these resources—the capacities for observation, surprise, puzzlement, and connection—are always present. "Education in its widest sense," Carlina Rinaldi says, is "a hope for human beings."

In recognizing what matters to children and to ourselves, we develop a culture of teaching. The more years we teach, the more we understand what the work entails; and the more complex, colorful, and detailed the culture becomes. In choosing to teach, year after year, we
learn to teach; we gain conviction and we discover again and again who are as teachers.

Welcome to the Aquarium
is particularly valuable to those who work with young children but Julie Diamond's understanding of teaching has value for anyone involved in education. I found that three chapters, Collages: Making Art, Finding Curriculum: A Study of Squirrels, and The Uses of Literacy: Reading and Writing, were particularly applicable to bookmaking.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Umbrella Accordion Book

YouTube Tutorial

written directions (web and pdf)

umbrella pattern

This month's Umbrella Accordion Book is a tribute to Judith Hoffberg, the creator and editor of Umbrella magazine, who passed away in January. This wonderful magazine had an emphasis on artists' books, mail art, and Fluxus, but was filled with Judith's wide knowledge of the art world and her intrepid spirit. Most recently an online publication, it was for most of thirty years printed on blue paper. It was the only magazine that I always read the day it came in the mail. Judith also was the creator of The International Edible Book Festival which occurs annually on April 1st.

The accordions here have no covers. The blue book was made from a piece of used copy paper folded in half the long way with the writing on the inside. I glued the two sides together to give the paper more support since I was cutting the narrow umbrella stems. The second accordion was made from the front panel of a grocery bag cut in half the long way.

Each umbrella has a verse to a count-down poem:
There were four umbrellas sitting in a row.
The purple one said," I'm going out to feel the rain on me."
And now there are three.
The red one said, "I'm going out to see something new."
And then there were two.
The blue one said,"I'm going out to have some fun."
And then there was one.
The green one said, "I'll stay inside. Here comes the sun."

I have no idea why but February 10 is Umbrella Day.


Yellow Umbrella, a wordless book by Jae Soo Liu accompanied by a CD with music by Dong Il Sheen
The entire book is shown from high above, looking down on a rainy day. One yellow umbrella leaves the house and we follow it as other umbrellas join it on its journey. The beautiful paintings leave lots of room for imagination. The writer/illustrator wrote: "...whenever it rains, I watch for children carrying their colorful umbrellas. Whether they were boys or girls, fat or skinny, tall or short, I realized that under their umbrellas their differences disappeared. What remained in my mind was the visual image of the harmonized colors and movements of their umbrellas. It seemed to me that these children were claiming that they were all equal in spite of their differences."
There is an accompanying CD of piano music.

by Taro Yashima
A tender story of a young girl who impatiently waits for the time when she can use her new umbrella.

The Umbrella Party by Janet Lunn, pictures by Katy MacDonad Denton
Christie loves umbrellas so much that she asks all her friends for umbrellas for her birthday. An eventful party at the beach ensues.

Judith Hoffberg's Umbrella magazine

Judith's obituary in the LA Times

Wikipedia information on umbrellas

Kids in Action: Young Inventor from Japan Gets Patent for His "Umbrella Ghost"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Celebration Book

I was deeply moved by the entire inaugural celebration but what echoed in my mind the following day was the tune of the Shaker song Simple Gifts that was used in John Williams’s composition Air and Simple Gifts. It was played by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and pianist Gabriela Montero. I have designed a small booklet with the words of the song to commemorate the day. Print out the pdf and follow the directions for making the hot dog booklet either on my YouTube tutorial or on my website. It's very simple: all you need is the printed page and a pair of scissors. If you don't have scissors, you can tear instead. The writing will be on the outside when you make the first fold.

Watch the performance