Once a year, Robbi and I make a book that’s not complete. I write the first few sentences. She provides a handful of illustrations. We send this not-nearly-finished book out to all the kids in the Bobbledy Club, and wonderful things happen.
Kids write and illustrate books and then send them back to us. After laughing and smiling and sighing contentedly through dozens of submissions, we pick just one winner to professionally publish and send out to the Bobbledy readership. It’s our favorite time of year. So many amazing kid brains kicking into creative overdrive. So much possibility.
This year, we’re mixing it up a bit—and taking it up a notch. Or maybe even two.
First of all, the book itself. Instead of printing it ourselves, we sent it off to be professionally printed this year. Hence the glossy cover. And, instead of putting illustration prompts on all the pages, this year Robbi created a sheet of stickers so that kids can put her illustrations wherever they want to.
The idea is that kids can peel and stick these shiny happy stickers wherever the heck they want to. Ideally, on the pages of the book, but who are we to limit young imaginations? There are also speech bubble stickers, so the peacocks of those Bobbledy Club members who are not old enough to write can say “Whoops!” to their hearts’ content.
Needless to say, the shiny books and shiny stickers got Robbi and me pretty excited, and we’re not even eligible to ender the contest.
Early last week we slid the books into envelopes, wondering what amazing words and pictures kids would use to fill their pages.
This might look to you like a stack of envelopes. But it is actually a great big pile of possibility.
We have it on good authority that kids are already diving in. Here is Sydney, busy at work on her masterpiece.
And here is Bailey, admiring this sticker of a sheriff’s star before placing it into her book.
We’ve been hearing other reports from the Bobbledy frontier: two sisters and a brother embarked in unprecedented triangular collaboration and created a fantastic story. A little girl and her grandfather split writing and illustration duties to create the tale of a lonely turtle. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of copies of Once Upon a Time are out there in the world, being lovingly completed at this very moment.
It’s almost more than I can stand, knowing that I have to wait to read them all.
If you know a kid or sticker-enthusiast adult who would enjoy making a book with us, here you go.