Five tips to preserving your family history through a children’s book
We all know memories become fragmented and distorted over time, which is why it’s so important to document your family’s life, experiences, and memories. Getting started is the hardest part, so the first step is capturing all of your family’s relevant historical information. After taking notes, talking to loved ones from multiple generations, and consolidating your family history, it’s now time to tell your tale via a children’s book.
Once you have all of the information, figuring out what specific story to tell and how to put the story to paper can seem as difficult as advanced trigonometry. However, with some rules and tricks to follow, anyone can preserve family history by writing a children’s book.
1. Decide on your audience
The term “children’s book” covers everything from picture books to chapter books. The plot, content, and themes of your book should be age appropriate for your intended readers. If you plan to sell your book online or in a local bookstore, parents are the ultimate decision makers and will decide whether or not a child reads your book.
Great children’s books provide opportunities to tell the story through artwork and expand young minds through poetic language, fun alliteration, and more. Be cautious that you’re using vocabulary and language your reader will understand. Use free tools to test the readability of your writing.
Also, children aren’t the only people who may see your book, especially if you plan on sharing it with your family. When writing a children’s book, keep the tone light and happy to keep all readers interested.
2. Identify your characters
Strong characters will evoke strong emotion. Whether your children’s book is simple or complex, it should offer a sense of joy. Characters can make us laugh, smile, or cry by giving us someone we want to care about. Think “Winnie the Pooh,” “Curious George,” or the “Velveteen Rabbit.”
Because you’re hoping to tell your family history, bring your family members to life within the book. Be descriptive about your loved ones; consider their appearance, quirky characteristics, and what makes you love them!
3. Determine your book’s components
What is the moral of your story? Is there a lesson you’d like the reader to learn by the end of your book? When trying to put your family history into a children’s book, Holiday Retirement recommends picking one story with an interesting setting and plot that includes a central conflict, climax, and resolution.
Many children’s books include a positive message, ranging from simple manners, like sharing with others, to more complex life lessons, like dealing with bullying. It isn’t necessary to include a straightforward message, so don’t force it! The lesson can be subtle.
4. Visual appeal
If you decided to go along the picture book route, your book will need to be full of color and illustrations. Your font and lettering should be fun and larger than normal chapter books. You should also consider these items if you’re writing a more text-based children’s book, all kids can be entertained by colors and fun visuals.
Will you be providing the artwork or will you be hiring someone to do this for you? This is important to consider when drafting your children’s book; illustrations can be very time-consuming.
First, be creative. When writing a children’s book or fiction, this is your chance to write something silly or spin a story in a creative way. What aspect of your story inspires you? Explore those ideas. Tap into feelings that are sincere and actions that make sense for your characters. While it’s important to be creative, it’s also important to be accurate. There is a fine balance between keeping your story light and still ensuring the content is fact-checked and tells your family story accurately.
Share your story
Do you have an original family story that you’re ready to share? Submit your tale at sharebedtimestories.com and it could appear in a children’s book, published by Holiday Retirement. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to National Center for Families Learning, a charity dedicated to helping improve family literacy.
Holiday Retirement offers numerous opportunities for senior residents to express themselves creatively. In fact, our residents will provide the artwork and illustrations for the published children’s book. Contact Holiday Retirement to learn more about these and other exciting activities and to find a location near you.