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A Storybook in Every Home

October 1, 2008   

candys-book.JPG

Submitted by Candace May

I wrote the first book that started the “storybooking” movement. Chris Crandall, a dear friend of mine, saw a book on the table at my son’s first birthday. It was a storybook I wrote about my grandfather’s life for his 80th birthday. I wonder if she would have picked up a voluminous, 5 pound book and said, “This is amazing, I want to do one about my grandma!”? No, I don’t think so. Let’s think for a second what attracted Chris to that book on the coffee table.

  • It looked like a storybook
  • It was appealing in size and shape
  • It had a title and author listed on the cover
  • It looked like something she could do in a relatively short amount of time
  • It looked like something that would be read and enjoyed

She may have seen the simple dedication:

“This book is dedicated to all the great-grandchildren of Nicholas Wozney.”

Then she would have read about a little boy named Nicholas Wozney who crossed the ocean from Poland with his family. In just a few minutes (and while my one-year-old’s birthday party was exploding around her) she was able to learn more about my grandfather than she probably knew about her own and I bet she thought, “I need to do this.”

As Chris walked home that evening I think she envisioned her little son sitting on her knee reading to him the words she would craft about her grandparents. Chris could not sleep that night because of the ideas swimming through her head and then she had one thought, “EVERYONE needs to do this.” Chris boldly showed up at my door the very next morning and shared her thoughts with me. She said, “Candy, everyone needs to do a book like the one you did for your grandpa and I have been thinking that we should start a company and help people.”

Why do I do this business? Because Chris recognized something extraordinary about my grandpa’s storybook and she and I decided that we needed to help others do books like it.

The happiest ending to this is that Chris Crandall has now written books about her grandparents and her little son has heard them on her knee. Also, Heidi Arave has written books about her grandparents, and Lisa Nelson, and nearly every friend I have told about this concept. I am sure that you, reading this right now, have probably written a story like mine. That is my reason for doing this business.

When this company was very very young and I remember sitting in a planning meeting with my mom (Sharon Murdoch, PhD), who was then the CEO. I remember she said, “We need a vision if this is going to work. What shall be our mission statement?” It was a simple answer that I have never forgotten some 7 years later: “A storybook in every home.”

A storybook in every home is a big goal, but a worthy one. It may not be easy to create a storybook about your heritage, it is not cutting and gluing or just putting photos in an album. It requires the written word. Sharon Murdoch has stated, “Photos without story are memories lost.” It is our goal to make “storybooking” memories easier, to help and guide you as consultants or clients to write the stories in your family heritage.

Candy’s TIPS: If you are wanting to write a storybook about a Grandparent:

  • Decide on a date you will complete the book by. (For me it was my grandpa’s 80th birthday party).
  • Schedule a time you plan to interview this person on the phone or in person.
  • Schedule 40 minutes to an hour.
  • Plan the questions you will ask.

Here are some questions to help you with the grandparent book:

Don’t let the interviewing process go on and on. It is important to remember that you are creating a 21 page book with text that is fun to read.

  • Keep the interview focused on stories relevant to the audience and don’t worry if it is not perfect–mine isn’t but it is DONE and enjoyed by many.¬†
  • Collect photos to go with the stories. Do not worry if the photos do not match up perfectly.
  • Once you have your interview and 15-25 images (or more), you are ready to create your storybook in Heritage Makers Online Studio!
  • As you search the wonderful Template Gallery try to pick a design that will be “timeless.” This is a storybook that will be read for generations!

Happy Storybooking!

It All Began With a Story

October 1, 2008   

Submitted by Chris Crandall 

My “Why” began over 15 years ago – as a teacher in elementary school classrooms. As kids searched for heroes in comic books and fictional stories – they shouted, “I am Superman!” or “I am a fairy princess.” Then, when the book closed or the cape came off, the dream was gone.Then, one evening a friend of mine (Candace May) invited us to her son’s First birthday party. As the kids crawled among the cake crumbs and squeezed the frosting in their fingers, I noticed a book with a man holding two young boys, drawn on the cover. Above them it read, “My Great Grandpa.” With blue tape holding the side together, a worn cover and pages that slipped out while I read it, I soon discovered that even though the book itself was simple, the story inside was priceless.

It shared the wonderful life story of Candy’s grandfather, from his childhood to recent years. And it was written in a way that was like a young grandchild asking questions and her grandfather answered. And the last page asked, “Grandpa, what advice do you have for someone like me?”

Then, her grandpa answers:

“The advice I have for all my great-grandchildren is to always love your family, respect those older than yourself, give money to those who have less, always pay your bills, and give money to your church.

Do not lie or steal. I have found that you will have better luck if you live this way.”

Even though I had never met Candy’s grandfather, in a few short minutes after reading this book, I knew him. I knew who he was and what he stood for. I knew his life story and the legacy that he wanted to leave his posterity.

I also knew that someday, when Candy’s one-year-old son and her other children grew up, they too would read this book and know this wonderful man, who he was and what he stood for – and in turn, they would know who they were and where they came from – and they would know not in their young adult lives when many of us search of who we are – but they would know from the time they could hear his story and read it themselves – and remember it forever.

Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep that night.

Two, three, maybe four…no it was at least five – things kept me awake that night. The ideas just kept on coming and swirling and I KNEW that Candy’s storybook was something that children and families EVERYWHERE needed the opportunity to do. To discover their own family’s heroes and preserve their lives and their stories in STORYBOOKS!

I wanted my son to know who his great grandparents were. I wanted the children I taught in the classrooms to know who the “real-life” heroes were in their lives.

With these incredible Storybooks, I knew that children would no longer need to look to comic books and fairy tales for their heroes and who they wanted to be. With these Storybooks, they would be able to read about people in their own family – perhaps even sharing the same last name – who were brave, faithful, strong, kind, good, creative or wise and then, when the book closed, the dream didn’t end because the hero they just read about was a part of who they were! That person was inside of them – he or she was THEIR heritage – even better than a Superman or fairy princess!

I saw fairy tales being replaced by family tales.

That is the story of how my “Why” began. My “Why” in Heritage Makers is that children – ages 1 to 100 – discover their important place in history, through their own heritage and by discovering and empowering who they truly are.

That is the power of Storybooking and that is the power that we each have, as Heritage Makers consultants, to open those doors of opportunity and share it with others.