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Guide for Dads: Children Making Their Own Books (Starting from Other Books)

Author George Jacobs Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn Ed.D.
Submitted 14-04-2008

Many dads may wonder how children can write their own books, when even very few adults write books. There are several ways to make this task easy. The first trick is to use books that dads have already read to the children and to use these books as models. They are not selling these books; they are just for their own use. Therefore, there are no copyright worries.


Starting from other books

There are several different ways for children to start with other books and create their own books:

  • The words in the new child-create book are exactly the same, but the children add their own illustrations.

  • Children change the characters in the book by substituting their own names and the names of other people, fellow animals and places in their lives. For example, in the story Hazel’s Puppy, children can substitute their own name instead of Hazel.

  • The format is the same, but the topic is different. For example, the children use the format found in a series of books about classes children take and use that format to write a book about a class that they are taking. Thus, instead of My Violin Class, children write My Gymnastics Class or My Calligraphy Class. Or, even easier would be if children are taking a class just like one in the series, children can change that book to tell about their specific class. For instance, children who go to piano class can rewrite My Piano Class to show what happens in their class.

  • Children can write a new section for a book they already know. For instance, Kayla & the Magical Tree is more than 100 pages long. Writing a new version of that book would be a very big job. However, more manageable would be to write a new chapter. In the book, Kayla is a girl who meets many strange and marvelous creatures, such as boulders with eyes and a big mouth. The children could invent a new creature and write about Kayla’s adventure with that creature.

  • Similarly, children can change the ending or any other part of a book. They might change that part because they do not like it or because they want to add more to it. Children could even write a sequel. For example, Hazel’s Puppy ends when the puppy comes home to Hazel’s house. The book does not tell us about any of the adventures that the puppy and Hazel enjoy. Ah! A great chance to write a new book: The Adventures of the Puppy and Hazel.

Dad reminder: You can start to read to your kids at ANY age. It’s fun for the kids and dad. It really is a dad duty!


– George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D.


Dr. George Jacobs, Ph.D. and Dr. Wan Loh Inn, Ed.D. are the authors of many books (including “The Read Aloud Guide”, textbooks for teachers and students, curriculum guides, and children’s storybooks).


Find out more about reading aloud to your kids.