I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you today because reading is something that is so near and dear to my heart. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book. I loved story telling and reading them – and still do to this day. It’s my hope to instill a love of reading to my own children by reading to them often and asking them to tell me their own imagined tales.

Recently, my daughter learned how to read and it’s been amazing to see her picking up some of her old books and reading them. She’s figuring out the words and at the same time, connecting them to the story. It’s fascinating to watch!

To encourage her love of story telling and reading, we decided to “self-publish” her first book. Read on find out how fun this can be for children, but not only that, how impactful it can be to fostering a child’s creativity into something tangible they can proudly share and hold on to.

How To Publish Your Child’s First Book – Materials:

– Paper and colored pencils/crayons or markers

– A camera (it doesn’t have to be a fancy one, this is just to capture a shot of each illustrated page)


1. Guide your child through character development. In my case, I asked my daughter what characters she wanted to portray. She said she wanted a diamond and heart shaped character. I then asked her what they should be called and she said “Diamey” and “Hearty.”

2. Create storyboards for each page. I asked my daughter what Diamey and Heartey were going to do in the story. She said “Go to San Francisco!” (That is where we are from.)

3. Once you have the characters in place and framework (going to San Francisco in our case) guide your child and ask specifically what the characters will be doing. We worked through it one at a time, drawing a page (story board) for each adventure.

4. Ask your child to illustrate each page based on their adventures. As you can see above, Diamey and Hearty are doing many fun things like crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, going to the beach, eating ice cream, flying balloons, etc. These are all things my daughter came up with and coincidentally, things she loves to do with her brother 🙂

It is totally fine to help with the illustrations if it’s something more difficult. For the Golden Gate bridge for example, we looked at a photo online of the bridge and I traced it out in pencil so she could color it in.

5. Once you have your illustrations, take a photo of each page. Using a photo editing software like Photoshop (or a free one like PicMonkey) you can crop the photo to just show the illustrations and also add text.

6. For the text, walk your child through each page and let them guide you into what to write down. It is their story, but you are helping them capture it on paper.

7. The photo above shows the illustrated pages with text. Once you have saved each of these as an image, you can use any type of photo book creator to make a book. We used Shutterfly since they have an easy photo book maker online with great quality for the price. However you could easily use any of the many options available online.

8. it’s fun to personalize the book a bit. We added a fun “About the Author” bio at the back of the book. The last page stating “The End” shows a photo of my son and daughter with the caption “The Real Diamey and Hearty” as it became very clear as the story developed who Diamey and Hearty really were 🙂 Each time the kids see this page, they can’t help but laugh.

It was amazing to go from the pages my daughter drew to holding a book in hand. My daughter was excited beyond words and so incredibly proud.

She can read the book cover to cover and especially loves reading it to her brother. We also brought the book in to her school and she read it to her classmates.

This book has become our favorite to read each night and I know it will be a special one to hold on to our collection.

What are some fun ways you encourage story telling and reading with your children?

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