We all have lots of stories to tell. We’ve got plenty of memories and sentiments we want to get down on paper (along with our photos) so they won’t be forgotten. We also know that sharing our thoughts and stories can be a meaningful way to connect with the people we love. But sometimes the idea of writing even a few sentences can be just plain intimidating!
Well, relax. Take a breath. And let us show you just how easy “storybooking” can be!
First of all, it’s helpful to think about the basic structure of a Heritage Makers storybook. It’s simply an opening title page, a closing title page, and ten “spreads” (two pages that are open and seen together) sandwiched between a front and back cover. It’s not a novel.
Next, use this structure to create a general story plan to guide you as you make your book. Consider the main theme of the storybook—what’s the overall message or purpose? Introduce it on the cover page, summarize and conclude it on the closing title page, and create 10 spreads that support or illustrate the main theme. And don’t forget to consider the pictures you have as you make your plan.
Here’s an example of a story plan that includes text for a storybook intended as a Father’s Day gift.
Main Theme: Showcase the relationship between a young boy and his dad; told from the boy’s perspective of enjoying the time he spends with his father.
Front Cover: “Me and My Dad”
Opening Title Page: Use title from front cover.
Text: I love spending time with you, Dad! We do lots of things together.
Spread One: Fixing Things
Text: I like to watch and help you fix things. You call me your “big helper!” You ask me to hand you tools and shine the flashlight.
Spread Two: Playing Ball
Text: When we play basketball, you lift me up high so I can make a basket.
Spread Three: Reading Time
Text: I like you to read me bedtime stories. You make funny voices and sound effects. You will read me my favorite book over and over.
Spread Four: Riding Bikes
Text: You taught me how to ride a bike without training wheels. We sometimes ride on the river trail or over to Grandma’s house.
Spread Five: Camping
Text: I love it when we go camping. We’re in charge of building the fire. You taught me how to toast marshmallows without burning them. Yum!
Spread Six: Hiking
Text: We hike up the canyon and see lots of things. We’ve even seen animal bones! We’re always on the look out for animal footprints.
Spread Seven: Playing Games
Text: I like to play Monopoly, Go Fish, and Candyland. When you play with me, it’s extra fun! You help me count my money and organize my cards.
Spread Eight: Swimming
Text: You take me swimming at the indoor pool when it’s cold and to the water park when it’s warm. I love to swim and splash with you. Thanks for teaching me how!
Spread Nine: Working in the Yard
Text: When it’s time for you to mow, pick up leaves, or work in the garden, I like to do it with you! You let me plant my own pumpkin seeds. It’s especially fun when we go pick up mulch in the truck.
Spread Ten: Loving Each Other
Text: Every day you give me a big hug when you get home from work. You tell me that you’re happy to see me and I know you mean it.
Closing Title Page:
Text: You and me are great friends. You play with me, teach me things, help me feel happy and keep me safe. I love you and you love me. It’s great!
Of course, you’ll make your story plan with text that works with the photos you have. You may have lots more to say, or lots less. The point is, planning your storybook in this manner can really help the whole project feel more doable.
We’ve gone ahead and created a 7 x 5 storybook based on the “Me and My Dad” story plan above. It’s template 107865, and is available for you to personalize. Below, you’ll see the front cover, opening title page, and two inside spreads.
We’ll be sharing more story plans in upcoming posts, so be sure to watch for them. Remember, pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t always tell the whole story!