REVIEW: The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking with Children by
R. Lynn Baker
Published by Indigo House, 2005
Many scrapbooks feature children, but not many are CREATED by children. R. Lynn Baker has written a book that she hopes will remedy that situation. Her recently released how-to book, The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking with Children, offers hundreds of specific tips for how to get the
most out of scrapbooking sessions, with children at the helm.
This book reflects Baker’s years of experience working with school districts and leading professional development workshops for teachers. It is the result of numerous requests she’s received over the years for a curriculum book, and it shows. What you get is basically a workshop-in-a-book. It’s set up to be of most use to those who work with children: providing guidelines for developmentally appropriate scrapbooking, activities ideas for scrapping with homeschoolers and in groups, and suggesting how to connect scrapbooking with classroom curriculum. Baker provides tested techniques and tips for making scrapbooking sessions go smoothly. She has obviously done her educational homework, and teachers will find it a godsend for their lesson planning. Everything is all lined up in the pages of this book.
The author emphasizes that scrapbooking has its most advantages when it is “’applied’ rather than ‘introduced’...Children begin to ‘own’ what they have learned when they can apply it directly to an original product that they have successfully created themselves.”
The book opens with a Beginner’s Guide to Scrapbooking, which provides a solid foundation for adults who might be beginners themselves. It also acts as an outline for presenting an introductory session to children. Baker is wise to include this section, as many teachers may recognize the benefits of scrapbooking, without having any experience with the craft themselves. Laying out all the components of a beginner’s guide also helps provide a basis for consistency, should multiple teachers from the same organization want to start scrapping with their students.
In this opening section, Baker also provides tips for successful scrapbook journaling. As the
author of three books on scrapbook journaling, I particularly appreciated that these tips were offered up front. I believe that telling the story is the most crucial part of scrapbooking, so any book that offers suggestions to make it easier gets a “thumbs up” from me.
In Section 2, Baker suggests specific tips for scrapbooking with children – these are obviously her “Best Practices”, gained from her own experiences. I found these especially helpful, knowing they have already been tested. I particularly appreciated her ideas for using photos with kids,
sources for inexpensive materials, and gaining community support.
Section 3 presents specific hands-on projects with step-by-step instructions and ideas for incorporating the project with other activities. Even better than these complete project instructions, however, are some of the topics she suggests. Not only do you get direction for how to make a paper bag book, but you also get ideas on what to use the paper bag book for, such as a home for artwork, a book on seasons, or an “All About Me” project. Other topical suggestions include a classroom recipes tag book, a “My Hometown” layout, and the life cycle of a butterfly.
Section 4 offers four projects for homeschool students: Portfolio of Student Work, Homeschool Yearbook Scrapbook, Local Community Organization Scrapbook, and a Family Heritage Album. Each activity lists suggested age levels, outcome learner goals, supplies, directions, tips, online resources, and a bibliography of related books. Section 5 follows the same format, presenting six activities for groups, clubs, and scrapbook store classes.
Section 6 provides 12 lessons plans for the traditional classroom. It follows the same format
as Sections 4 and 5, adding information on Content Area Focus, Vocabulary Terms, Learning Assessment, and Learning Extensions. The lesson plans span curriculum in all age levels: early
elementary, middle school, and high school.
The only thing that detracts from the overall impact of the book is the design. When I said that
this book is essentially a workshop-in-a-book, it also kind of looks like one – it’s basically a black-and-white handout, with some color inserts in the middle, and a colorful front and back cover. (Granted, it’s 90 pages, so it’s much more than a mere “handout”.) I would like to see the color photos of the projects paired with the actual instructions to improve the flow of the
book. But these design preferences are minimal in the face of the valuable content.
As a former preschool teacher, I really enjoyed reading The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking with Children, primarily for all the specific techniques and suggestions Baker offers. Just paging through the hands-on projects section, my mind started whirling with possibilities. I could vividly imagine how easy it would be to incorporate her ideas into classroom activities, increasing the chances that children will become the authors of their own books, rather than just the subjects. I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse this book. If you do any work with kids, as a parent, a teacher, a girl scout leader, or whatever, you NEED this book!
NOTE: Lynn also offers a companion resource website with message boards, activities, articles, and links: www.scrapbookingkids.com