Bedtime story

Imagine a child's excitement the next time you read them a bedtime story and they see their name or face on the page of the book! You can create a special publication with colorful images, personalized with the child’s name and/or photo using existing stories or ones you make up yourself. You can even include scanned images of artwork they've created with their tiny hands. Instead of putting them on the refrigerator, make them part of your book. 

By making your own personalized book you get to choose the subject, the characters, the layout, and the entire content. You can also communicate the story in a style that suits the individual child.  Should the book be a learning tool or purely entertainment?  You decide.  Thrill a child by inserting them in their favorite story. Is she the perfect Goldilocks?  Is he the bravest Jack facing the beanstalk?  If you need story ideas, search the internet for Fables and Fairy Tales.  Download pages or images, then bring them into Photoshop and substitute Goldilock's face with your child's.  You can also scan actual books the child owns.  Is there a little boy who has always wanted to be Superman?  You can make it happen with a customized storybook.

Many companies publish personalized storybooks but they are usually limited to simply inserting the child's' name, not photos or custom images. The cost of these books is three times what you will pay if you create one yourself.

Working Through Life’s Problems

Besides cost savings, there are many reasons to build a personalized storybook. A great way to get kids to verbalize their feelings is to create a book that touches upon an issue or problem with which the child is dealing. It's sometimes easier for youngsters to discuss the subject when it's happening to a character in a book. Think of creating pages that will act as communication tools designed to help them see problems clearly.  In your story, the character may even be offered different solutions from which the child must choose. Consider any of the following topics for the book:

Illness in the family
Loss of a relative
Loss of a pet
Friendship problems
First Day of School

Bullies at School
Getting along with siblings
Welcoming home a new baby

You may also decide to create a special book to celebrate a milestone event, like a child’s birthday or athletic achievment.  The beauty of it is you get to decide on the theme of your book.  Once you have, follow these steps.

Things You'll Need

• Word processing program

• Photoshop

• iPhoto '08 or later

• a story

• images

    Where To Start

    1) In a word processing program, type out an original story or copy text from the child's favorite.  If the child likes a certain poem, you could also use that for your story. Your book can contain as many pages as you like, but the minimum should ideally be 20 pages (10 double-sided) plus a front and back cover.

    2) Look over your story and determine how much text you want on each page. Break the text into groups in your word processing program and arrange them in page order.  Assign a page number to each group to help you keep the content organized.

    3) Open your iPhoto program.  Create and name an album in which you will later store your book pages.  With the album selected, click the book icon at the bottom of the screen. A page will appear with your book size options and layout style. 

    Book size options

    4) Decide on the size of your finished book. It could be 11"X 8.5" or 8"X6" or smaller.  Hard cover versions are only available in the 11"X8.5" size.  Choose a layout style.  Select the “Crayon" theme that allows you total layout freedom on all pages except the back cover.  

    5) Create book page number one in Photoshop.  Make it the same size you’ve chosen for your book in iPhoto. Before placing anything on the page be sure to choose 300 dpi resolution for the page. This is important for good print quality, especially for any text you create. Place guides on all sides, 1/2" from the edge. Save the blank document and duplicate it for each book page you will eventually need.  Do not create a page for the back cover.

    6) Go back to the word processing program and copy the text for page number one.

    Book page one content

    Return to Photoshop and paste the text. Choose your text color and font. Don't worry about placement or size just yet. Copy text for the next page and paste it into another blank Photoshop page of the same size. Continue doing this until you have all your pages done.  If you want to close the pages as you continue, be sure to save them as psd files.

    7) Bring scanned or original images and photos onto each of the pages. Size and arrange the text and image on the page. Keep the image and text inside the guidelines unless you want the image to deliberately bleed off the page. If you are replacing an existing character's face with a photo of your child, do that now. Don't forget to create a page for the front cover.

    Book Cover(49577)

    Save each page as a jpeg and also as a psd document in case you later find errors and need to come back and make changes.

    8) Bring the jpegs into the book album you created in iPhoto.

    9) Click on your book icon in the lower left of the iPhoto screen.  When your book opens, select layout #1 from the layout menu for each page. This will give you a blank gray slate. From the top menu, drag the thumbnail for each one of your jpegs, onto a gray book page.

    Book thumbnails

    The jpeg image will fill the page. Repeat with all the images.

    Back Cover

    Back Cover

    Although you are allowed only one image and limited text on the back cover, you can still make it original. Choose an image or icon to use as your logo just as publishing houses do. Include the year. Consider using your actual signature on one of the pages. You can scan it and add it to a page layout while in Photoshop. These little touches will be very meaningful when the child is older and can look back on this thoughtful gift and the memories that accompany it. When your book is complete, click on "BUY" to order your book.