Monday, January 31, 2011

Words, pictures and ideas that are bigger than any of us


She received an IlluStory for her birthday, which is the perfect gift for a kid who wants to write (and publish) her first book before she's forced to blow out even 10 candles on her cake ...



That was me ... (never mind).

Although she has told me she wants to be a writer, she hasn't revealed any timetable that's breathing down her neck.

Where was I?


This is essentially a story writing kit that helps you outline and create a book that you send off to be printed and bound into a book of your own.

Amazing times, huh?


Ittybit unearths this creative gem from her pile of presents that she's slowly savoring and decides she'd like to make it a biography, which happens to be the first suggestion on the instruction sheet.

Being in the news business, I suggest that she might want to interview one of her grandparents and write her book based on those interviews.

For a second I had this flash ... She would ask all the questions people wish they'd asked but never got the chance ...

She shook her head. And that second ended.

Nope. She wanted to write her biography about Martin Luther King Jr.

I can't say I wasn't surprised ... I would have guessed she'd have chosen someone in pop culture - Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift - but I knew MLK Jr. had been a topic of study in preparation for the celebration of his birth in January and Black HIstory Month in February.

So I asked her how I could help.

"You can help me find interesting facts about him," she said pointing to the computer as she sharpened a pencil.

As I Googled, she came and sat on my lap to look at the screen.

"When was he born?"

"Where was he born?"

"Who were his parents?"

"Where did he go to school?"

"What's his most important accomplishment?"

After we'd finished collecting information to use in her book, she uncapped her markers and went to work drawing his likeness for the cover.

She asked me to write the words so they'd be neat, and got to work on designing the first page, a picture of a family in a living room - a mother holding an infant and a father looking down at the child from his seat next to them on the sofa.

It wasn't until after I'd convinced her two pages was enough for the first day's work and was rummaging through her book bag for homework that I found the stapled booklet of coloring papers she'd brought home from school: "He Had a Dream."

I brought it to her and held it up: "Hey ... maybe we could use this to research your biography."

She looked at me in horror, like I'd lost my mind.

"No! That book doesn't say anything about Martin Luther King other than his name in the beginning, it's all about people he brought together.

"He needs his own book."


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