How would you feel if you transformed your life’s most interesting or important memory into a book, complete with characters, drawings, illustrations and wrote the story behind it and gave that special book to your child as a heartfelt gift from a loving parent?
Any person with an average habit of reading will have at least one comic book close to his heart. It could also be a particular story or a chapter in that book. The illustrations would have fascinated us or the storyline would have been captivating. The range of emotions a story can arouse is very wide.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant and expecting a baby, I often thought about the many ways in which I desire to tell my life story or parts of it to my child. Of course, pregnancy allows this kind of mind travelling and wishful thinking. There’s lots of time on hand as compared to once the little one comes out! Anyway, I decided to write a storybook.
Today my child is 18 months old and the idea sits fresh and cozy in my mind, yet to be made a reality. Having seen her grow from an infant to a toddler in front of my eyes, I see the need to make this gift that I wish to leave her a well thought-out one. I say this because, it means – introspection into my own life: Choosing that ONE story which I want to illustrate and write and leave to her!
I grew up listening to tales, anecdotes and stories from my father’s and mother’s lives. They spent a lot of time sharing their past with me. It ranged from a simple description of a market place or school when they were children to complex matters like how certain deaths were embraced in the family and other life changing incidents. I have heard stories involving humor, happiness, sorrow, deceit, generosity, emotions, money, lifestyle and even about the country and our ancestry too. I have my own picturisation of these events in my mind. It runs like a movie as if I am watching in the background and witnessing it all.
While I am sure I am going to have lots to talk with my daughter while I am around, this book will be a testament of that one incident that I choose over all else that I want my child to know about me. Whether she likes it or not is secondary. But once she is old enough, I am sure she will see the reason behind it.
So here are my tips on how to go about it. Feel free to add your own innovation and creativity.
One need not be an artist or a writer to do this. The art in the story book to accompany your tale can take any form – sketches, just plain colors, stick figures, intricate drawing etc.
The medium can be of any form too – crayons, color pencil, water, oils. I would still prefer the story to be hand written, but it is alright to type in a typewriter or a printer.
The book can be made out of handmade paper or plain white sheets. It can be bound with leather, hardboard or glossy paper.
A title for the book is important and it can accompany a beautiful cover page designed by you which will reflect the content of the book.
Write a preface or a dedication note for your child.
This can be presented to your child on a special occasion when you feel the time is right. It can be a very intimate thing, where you sit down alone and talk and share your feelings and then gift it. Or if you wish to make it a fun event, one can even arrange a book launch party for family and friends and make your child the special guest and gift it then!
As a very lovely quote goes “The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.” So give your child a story, a message, or a slice of your past which can remain with them forever.