SparkWonder

Turn your child’s drawings into an eBook to share

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My son loves books, so much that he will create his own books, color them and even bind them with a stapler. As a parent I love to share these treasures with family.  In this project we are combining good ol’ crayon and paper with the new tech of ebooks and tablets, making a kids ebook to share with family.  Your kid will create their own picture book and then you’ll help them convert it into a fantastic eBook to share. The wonderful thing about this project is that the technology enables your kid to share their craft with family in a really rich and enjoyable way.  We’ll use the free iBooks Author program to add photos, text and audio to create a special .

all 4 screensWhat you’ll need

For this project you’ll need paper supplies, a Mac computer and the free iBooks Author program.  Why not use a windows program? As I was making the eBook, I attempted to find a windows eBook creator that was both free and easy to use. Well turns I just couldn’t find any, and while iBooks Author may not be perfect, it is easy enough for a non-technical person to use.

Paper Book

Start by having your kid create their own book about whatever sparks their interests. It could be a collection of pictures or an illustrated story, anything that they will enjoy writing about.  Make sure to create a nice cover drawing for the book too.

Scan the Pages

Take the pages and scan them into the computer. If you don’t have a scanner, a camera or phone will do, just make sure you have good lighting and you can hold the camera steady. Keeping the image sizes the same will give a neater finished product.

Create the eBook with iBooks Author

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Start by getting the iBooks Author app from the Mac App Store.  When you open the app you’ll be able to create a new book from a list of templates.  We’ll keep things simple by creating a portrait only book that is suitable for viewing on an iPad (you’ll also be able to export to other formats that work with other tablets or a computer.)  Choose the Photo Book template under the portrait only section and iBooks Author will create a sample book for you to start editing.

templates

Edit the Cover

new book

Let’s start be creating the book cover.  Select “Book Title” in the outline section to the left. You should see a full page photo and a title section.  Click on the image to select it, then simply drag your scanned cover page image over the current image.  The sample image should be replaced by your cover.  If the new image is covering the title section, right-click on the image and select “send backwards” which moves the selection one position back.  You may need to do this several times until the text appears.

Edit the title text by double clicking the sample text and add your own title and author.  Save the file once (filesave) before continuing.

Delete Sample Pages

Lets go ahead and delete out the sample pages and sample chapter by selecting each one and pressing delete.  We need to start by adding a chapter so click on the plus (+) button one the upper left and select any of the templates under Chapter.  We will make our chapter page look identical to the cover so that it appears like a regular page when reading the book, otherwise it only shows when first selecting the book to read. Clear all items on the chapter page by clicking anywhere in the page and typing command-A, delete.  Now go back to the title page by clicking Book Title, type command-A , command-C to select all and copy.  Go back to your chapter page and type command-v to paste.  You should have a page that looks just like the cover.

Add Photo Pages

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Now we’ll add the remaining pages.  Click on the chapter page in the outline on the left.  Click the plus (+) icon, select pagesdefault to get a blank page.  Repeat for each page in your book.  For each page, select the page then drag your photo from finder onto the page.  Make sure to resize the images so they are full page.  Select the image and drag the corner handles to the corners of the page.

Add pop over text

add popover

Now that we have our basic book in place lets add some cool features.  A popover it a little button on the page that will popup some text when tapped.  To compensate for the 6 year-old handwriting, I thought that a text ‘translation’ would nice feature. Make sure the page is selected and from the menu select InsertWidgetPop Over.  A button with sample text will appear, click on the text to edit.

Add audio

Another nice touch we can add is audio.  You can record your kid reading each page, or in the case of a picture book, talking about the drawings.  On a Mac you can easily record sound with quicktime player.  Open quicktime player, select FileNew Audio Recording from the menu and use the red record button to record from the built-in microphone.  Save the sound file before going back to iBooks Author.

From the menu select InsertWidgetMedia.  From the popup widget menu you can edit the caption text.  Now, locate the sound file that you recorded and drag it into the widget from finder.  Reposition the widgets on the page so that they aren’t covering anything important.

Export and Share

export to ibooks

Once you are done adding all of your pages, creating the iBook file is simple.  From the menu, select FileExport.  If you are sharing this book with an iPad user, select iBooks from, any other tablet or computer select PDF.

Share your kid’s new creation by emailing the book to loved ones.  Your family will adore the drawings and hearing their budding author narrate.

Here’s the eBook the I made with my son.

Bugs – iBooks version  Bugs – PDF version 

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