My son and I have collaborated on three books including: My First Train Book, My First Fire Truck Book, and My First Space Book. After our last book he kept asking me when we would be working on the ABC’s? He followed up with “A is for ALL ABOARD!” and proceeded to run around the house as a schizophrenic conductor/engineer/dinosaur. Right, so, an A-B-C book.
Putting it together
Building an A-B-C book seems easy. Everyone knows words that begin with all the letters of the alphabet, but not everyone knows words that begin with each letter of the alphabet as it pertains to a particular subject matter such as trains. <– very true
Yeah, not as easy as I had imagined. Well, my son and I spent a couple of weeks looking up train words for each letter. We looked at thousands of train photos and watched hundreds of train videos. BTW, I think the two of us know way too much stuff about trains, but whatever. The side effect is an increased enthusiasm for learning, for reading, and for storytelling. I can handle the trade off. Long story longer, just as I approached the brink of insanity, my son and I agreed upon ABC train words and we moved on to writing sentences using our newfound train vocabulary.
Oy vey! Coming up with train words was a cakewalk compared to full-on kid-approved ABC Train sentences. As it went, I’d say a few sentences, then my son would say a few that had numbers and colors and robots and all kinds of nonsense, and then we’d (eventually) settle on some frankensteined version that sort of somewhat made sense.
With the words in the bag I moved on to the illustrations. First, I broke out a pencil and sketchbook (an actual wood pencil and paper sketchbook) and sketched each page including how letters and sentences would appear. Once my son happy (and by happy I mean once we read through the book 50 times and he didn’t scream) I moved on to digital.
Like the other books, I relied on the iPad apps iDraw and Brushes for most of the illustrations; Dropbox and iCloud to keep things organized, and Book Creator for text and iBook assembly. I showed my son each drawing to get his stamp of approval. Some he liked, others he said quite vehemently stated his distaste with an “I DON’T LIKE IT!” After several weeks of drawing and editing and bribing with cake and episodes of Fireman Sam, my toddler-sized editor finally approved the book, and I sent it off to the Amazon Kindle Store and the iBookstore.
The final version
Click to start reading ABC Train via the Amazon Kindle Store today (available for Kindle Devices, Kindle Cloud Reader, and the Kindle app for iPad and Android)
Click to start reading ABC Train via the iBookstore (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini)
A big thanks (again) to my son for the inspiration and criticism, and my wife (again) for putting up with the process of writing.
Got thoughts on ABC Train? Share ’em below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.