Documenting Life Through Photobooks

Making photobooks for my children has become a hobby/passion of mine.  As a teacher and someone who loves to write, these books have evolved from bed-to-bed stories, to stories written in a variety of genres, for a variety of purposes and inspired by a plethora of mentor texts.  I’ve probably created about 30-40 of these books over the past 8 years.  Just yesterday, two of my latest versions came in the mail.  The trill of receiving a shiny new book that I wrote in the mail doesn’t get old.

The best thing though, about writing these books, is the ownership that my children (ages 5 and 7) have of them.  These two: The Secret Recipe of the Yummiest Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever  and How To Learn Sight Words were topic ideas of my kids.   When my daughter was learning to write How To books in Kindergarten, we made a book called How to Make Sugar Cookies.  So, now, as my son is learning about How To Books, I asked him if he wanted to make one of his own.  “Of course, I do!” he said.  I suggested: How to Learn Sight Words (since we are doing so much of that), but he wanted to make one about the cookies.  So we did.  He helped me arrange the ingredients for picture taking, helped to put the ingredients in step-by-step and approved the final draft on the computer.

My daughter, meanwhile, after helping me make so many books, wanted to make her own version of : “How To Make a Photo Book.” Thinking that I would help her finish this book, I went ahead and took some photos that I thought would add to the book. I uploaded them and put them on the pages to accompany her words. Upon reviewing my work, she quickly deleted the photos I took and decided that they weren’t right.  She’d take her own photos (even if it meant delaying finishing the book).  She knows how to change fonts, add backgrounds, upload photos and more.

Even more than the technical parts of this, I have created the expectation in my house that we create books to tell the story of our lives: our birthday parties, our vacations, our small moments on snow days and our family traditions.  It’s just as much for me as it is for them.  When they get older, they’ll have a very personalize library of the story of their lives.

We each have our hobbies and talents.  But for me, there is no better hobby worth investing in that fostering a love of writing and reading while telling our own stories.


  1. Mrs. V said,

    March 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I loved reading about this process. This year I have been scrapbooking with my girls for the first time and I have really loved that time spent together writing, reflecting, and capturing memories. Your post had me thinking about the possibilities of photo books. I’m going to have to write myself a reminder to try it out!

    • jodimahoney said,

      March 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      It’s really quite easy! I use and they’ve added a feature called “embellishments” that are stickers that adds the scrapbook effect. Good luck!

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