My book signing and kid’s book making project at The Granada Bookstore in Santa Barbara was a huge success. Over a two hour period, I had some twenty children and a few parents creating and decorating their own hanging butterfly book. They arrived a few at a time, so I had to change my lesson plans and wasn’t able to conduct a “proper” class. Rather, I moved around working with small groups or individuals as they progressed from the paper cutting, to construction, to decorating or writing in their books. Sitting around a large table loaded with colored paper. decorative punches, pens, markers, crayons, and stencils, these “artists” were happily engaged in their creations.
The youngest child was three, an independent, determined little girl helped by her mother. The oldest children were ten, and over the two hour period made three books each and even helped teach others the book making steps. I was happy to see some of the parents making their own books along side of their kids. It was truly a family event.
One unexpected highlight: A woman, who had heard about the workshop, arrived with a box of live Monarch butterflies in different stages of development. The children were able to hold the caterpillars, watch a newly emerged Monarch flexing its wings and see chrysalises in various stages of development. She passed out packet of milkweed seeds for the kids to plant in their gardens, as this is the only plant the Monarch caterpillars eat.The two hours passed quickly. At the end, the children and parents seemed happy to spend a Saturday afternoon making books. The bookstore was delighted because I was able to sell some books, and I was tired and pleased with the turnout and reception. I find that having a craft project as a focus for a signing is much more rewarding than sitting alone at a table hoping someone will approach and buy a book.