Write a simple story for your child and have him or her illustrate it . . . Or have your child make up a story that you illustrate. Neither of you will ever forget the experience!
Decide which illustrations go with what part of your text and make note of it on the back of the illustrations, and on digital copies of your manuscript.
Send your original story and illustrations to a printer who can have them bound into a hardcover or paperback book according to your specifications, and wait to see your child’s face light up when the finished product arrives in the mail!
My six-year-ol daughter and I took on this project in September and October, and we had the book by Thanksgiving. We used a company called First Edition Originals (www.firsteditionoriginals.com) because they let us send the illustrations and promised they would send back the originals along with our book order.
There are also other companies that will do the same like U Build a Book (www.ubuildabook.com). Check them out!
Here are the details of our book journey . . .
When Kaki was just four years old she came to me with a neatly folded stack of construction paper with Crayola scribbling on each page. She flashed her “look-at-me!” smile and said, “Mommy, I a writer, too. I just wrote you a book.”
I was moved to tears when I responded, “Kaki, you wrote Mommy a BOOK? Well, Mommy’s gonna write YOU a book, too.”
I took my first crack at the manuscript about a day later when I had to write a contemporary parable for a class. With my sweet Kaki in mind I cranked out a children’s story that taught the lesson of James 2:17: “Faith without works is dead being alone.”
Three years of attempts to illustrate the book morphed into one nightmare after another until it occurred to me that Kaki would be the best illustrator possible for a book I wrote especially for her. While keeping the story itself a secret, I described the illustrations I needed. Kaki put her own spin on them and . . . voila! Here we are!
Thanks to the best first-grade teacher around (Kaki’s teacher put her copy of the book in the school library), The Barebacks of Wishville is now available for anyone to read at my daughter’s elementary school!
Synopsis of the book: Fleeceless, forlorn sheep in Wishville have no idea why their wish to grow wool is so unproductive until one day they realize just how unprepared they are to receive what they desperately want.
Yes, we plan to pursue publication for this book.
UPDATE: First Edition Originals has closed its doors since the publication of this article, but UBuildabook.com is still an excellent option if you want a fairly quick turnaround time and/or you do not wish to pursue traditional or self-publishing.