One of the best parts of being a Children’s Librarian is planning and doing crafts. We’re just finishing the fall session of Picture Books and More: Sharks, Mermaids and High Seas Adventures. It is one of my favorite parts of the year–with first and second graders, we read stories, do a related craft and have a related snack. For example, today we read stories about penguins and pirates, decorated treasure boxes, and ate “buried treasure” (ice cream with M&Ms and other candy treasures). It was incredibly fun.
The librarians here are committed to coming up with unique crafts where kids can explore and express their own creativity, and over the years Yolanda has developed an amazing array of craft books.
Craft books are one of the parts of the collection where the book’s graphic style ages quickly but the content almost never ages. A cool craft from 1970 is still a cool craft now–sometimes you just have to look past the font and illustrations.
Two of my favorite craft books represent this present/past wealth here in Mill Valley. Copier Creations (1993) by Paul Fleischman (yes! the Paul Fleischman who wrote the poetry book Joyful Noise that I wrote about earlier) is based on using a copy machine for all kinds of things that we do on computers now, but also includes ideas for making jigsaw puzzles, flip books and films. The illustrations are clear and the final projects are pretty thrilling. It’s definitely a book I turn to when I need to get my creative energy flowing.
The contemporary craft book I’m crazy about is Magic Books & Paper Toys by Esther K. Smith. Smith is well-known as a book artist and has written a number of other exciting books about paper crafts. This book is especially cool because it is itself a flip book! Read from one direction it focuses on making magical books–for example a photo pop-up book–and read from the other direction it focuses on making paper toys–like strip animations. This page features a video of Esther showing how to make pop-up cards: http://www.purgatorypiepress.com/howto.html
What are some of your favorite craft books? And, if you’ve been part of any of our craft programs, which was your favorite?