Do you want a program that you can do at your library that is:
- involves multiple departments, including tech services?
- celebrates picture books and novels?
Well, here it is:
Buy a bunch of blank books from Bare Books. They have paperbacks, picture books, graphic novels, board books–all of them blank and ready to be filled with your patrons amazing stories.
Have programs throughout the month about writing picture books and board books; novels; and graphic novels. These can be as elaborate or as laid back as you desire:
- Use the picture book month site to get program ideas about the importance of picture books. Programs can be for kids, parents or teachers. As a creative part of the workshop, have attendees write and illustrate their own picture books.
- Make it an outreach program! Take blank picture books out to schools and talk to students about the parts of a book. Show off stellar examples of endpapers and under jacket surprises. 100 Scope Notes is a great resource for examples of picture books with hidden delights. (I’ve actually done this and it’s a joy.)
- Have a display of “how to” books, and encourage patrons to stop by the check out desk to pick up their blank book to create.
- Bring in speakers, including writers in all genres for all ages, either in person or via skype.
- Have booktalks on exemplary books in each format, then allow for time for patrons to work on their own works.
- Have children interview seniors and then have them work together to write the life story of the senior, in any format they choose: picture book bio? Memoir? Graphic memoir? Whatever! You can have anyone interview anyone–5th graders interviewing 8th graders about what middle school is like, daughters interviewing mothers, etc and so forth.
- As a NANOWRIMO challenge, have participants try to condense their novel into a 32 page picture book format. I’m sure afterwards they’ll have new respect for the picture book format!
Have patrons return their finished books to a designated location, and send the books off to be cataloged and added to the collection! Kids, teens and adults will delight in coming to the library and finding their book on the shelf. Feel free to have a limited number of books eligible for this treatment, and for a limited amount of time.
The Bare Books site doesn’t have pictures of its books, only drawings, but I’ve used them multiple times and I can vouch that they are solidly constructed, wonderful items. They have better examples on their pinterest, and this blog post also has a great photo of the books in “finished” form.
If you end up doing this program, please drop me a line and let me know how it goes! I’ve only done the outreach version– I’ve love to see how it works out it in different permutations.
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