Guest post by Rachel Omer

I’ve been reading to Grace since she was a newborn.  First it was really easy to read to her. Then, as she got a little bit older, reading became more of a struggle.  Sometimes we’d just flip the pages back and forth as fast as Grace could, or I’d end up pulling the books out of her mouth.  But, as we’ve continued to read, Grace has really learned to love reading. My little wiggly baby has spent more and more time relaxed against me, listening to stories.

An early Read With Me Kids book

We already have one Read With Me Kids book that I wrote about her birth.  I can’t count the number of times we’ve read it. I wish I could let you experience the magic of watching her smile or even squeal with joy at the pictures of us in it.  We love it so much, we knew we wanted to give her another Read With Me Kids book as a part of her first birthday.

My husband, Grant,  and I threw around ideas for books we could write and eventually decided on one about our family history.  I’m going to be honest, it did take some work to put this book together. Grant, and I wrote the words to the book, and then most of the work involved collecting and organizing the images.  This meant texting our parents, looking through boxes and random computer files, etc. It wasn’t really an instant gratification kind of experience. But, that’s what I love about Read With Me Kids — the app lets me personalize the books as much as I want to!

As a side note, Grace loves the books that we’ve written ourselves, but she also loves the books that we’ve made with the templates (for example, she really loves reading “Daddy Investigates Strawberries” which literally took seconds to make).

The finished book with
the tree on the cover

Once I had collected some images, I decided I wanted to use my art degree and create a simple digital illustration of a tree.  I popped pictures of our family into the “family tree” and then made a series of cropped images to highlight different family members.  I threw those little tree illustrations into a google photo folder along with a bunch of other photos I had collected and then got to work.  From then on it was just accessing those images in the app directly from google photos (so grateful that you can do it like that!) and organizing them.  Writing the story, collecting the images, and making the illustration were the hard part; the app was the easy part.

It was so satisfying to see  Grace’s grandparents flipping through the book after she opened it on her birthday.  They got to see the end result and maybe feel like they were a part of making it too.  I took quite a bit of time making sure the book was just how I wanted it, and the end result is priceless.  I love that she will grow up knowing a little bit about her grandparents and great grandparents.

On the night of her first birthday I took her in the rocking chair and read her the book about her birth and held her close (I’m definitely one of those “cry when your baby turns one” kind of moms).  The next day I held her again and read her “Our Family Tree.” Today she made sure she said, “Hi” repeatedly, to the people in the book as we read it before bedtime.

Making a custom book was well worth the effort!

Rachel is a proud momma and has a BA in Art Education