Fairmont Sentinel – “Kids books get Personal”
ABC news Wabash Valley – Give-a-Book Program
Lehigh Valley – Downsizing Led Him To A Labor Of Love
Personalized Book Spreads McGruff Message
Killeen Couple Creates Smiles with Personalized Books!
News article appearing in Federal Way News business section Personalized Books entertain, empower by Geraldine LaMarche, staff writer
When a child can be suspended in disbelief while reading a book, the story must be magical, exciting and wonderful. It can be “A Book About Me!”
“Books About Me” can transcend and empower a child to believe in him or herself. At least that is the purpose for the line of personalized books published by Create-A-Book. Personalized stories and her love for children inspired Federal Way resident Laurie L. to market the storybooks for and about children.
There are about nine stories that can be personalized to fit events in a child’s life from newborn through the fifth or sixth grade. “When the story brings the child in, they can picture themselves solving situations,” Laurie said.
Titles and story lines not only deal with fear, but also with events like potty training, experiences in summer camp and even difficult subjects such as drug prevention.
“When children see themselves in a story, they do find more interest in the story because other people in the child’s life become involved also,” Laurie said. Laurie is marketing the personalized books wholesale to major retailers as a home-based business representative.
“This is the perfect career for me, because I have always worked with children, from helping my mother with Special Olympics programs, to teaching children how to read,” Laurie said. She wanted to have a career that was home-based. She said she wanted to be her own manager as well as satisfy a personal need to contribute to the community by getting children interested in reading.
The books are pre-bound and ready to be personalized, therefore no printing costs are involved. “Mostly, children, their friends and families love personalized books,” said Laurie.
News article from the Register-Herald,Make it Personal New home business promotes children’s interest in reading by Bev Davis, Features/lifestyles editor
What better way to encourage reading in a young child than by giving him or her a personalized book? Lisa found a unique way of providing a special service for children and simultaneously fulfilling a long-time desire to start a small business. A graduate of The College of West Virginia with a bachelor of Science degree in business administration, she serves as director of continuing education there.
As the wife of CWV President, she keeps a busy social and business calendar.
“I still find there are a few hours every day that I felt I could put to good use by starting a small business. When I found out about this, I became so intrigued with it, I couldn’t wait to get it off the ground,” she said.
Create-A-Book provides book illustrations, bindings, and text materials on software she loaded into her home computer. Parents provide personalized information about their child and select the book they think the child would enjoy. Stories are geared to all ethnic and religious groups and include such titles as “The Magic Dreidel,” “The Little Mermaid,” “My Best Friend (That Only I can See)” and “My First Book.”
The child’s name is inserted into the text, creating a personalized adventure involving the youngster. Some books come with stickers the child can insert. One deals with the arrival of a new baby. By following the story and adding the stickers, the older child can develop positive attitudes about the new sibling.
Lisa admits her new venture has often captured her imagination and swept her back to her childhood.
“These are really cute books and stories. I find myself just sitting and reading them. Adults may enjoy them just as much or more than the children,” she said.
Once the selection is made, she prints the text, assembles the pages and binds the books. She plans to market the books through mail order, arts and craft shows, displays in retail stores and through home parties.
Materials provided by Hefty indicate the company has done well since its inception in 1980 and that the idea of personalized books caught on rapidly around the country.
“Personalized gifts are extremely popular right now. I think almost anyone would enjoy getting an item with his or her own name on it. Sometimes we forget that children enjoy those things as well,” Lisa said.
“I hope these will touch the lives of children in some way because children are the most precious things we have,” she added.
News article from the Times News, Wednesday, March 19 Personalized Books thrill Children by Harrison Metzger Using students’ names, names of family, plus photos grab attention
Z.G. a kindergartner at Dana Elementary School, thumbed excitedly through the pages of a new book Tuesday morning, then said what he liked best about it.
“Cause it’s got all my favorite friends in it!” Z.G. declared with a big smile after he got his copy of My School Fun Book.
Z.G. was among 82 kindergartners in four classes who delighted in their special books Tuesday morning. From the outside, each copy of the book looks the same – colorful Coco the Clown beckoning youngsters to learn about the alphabet as he holds a big bunch of balloons. But it’s the inside of each book that’s different.
Each book is “personalized” with a photo of its owner and a narrative that repeatedly uses the child’s name and refers to the child’s parents and friends in their class.
“It’s proven that if a child’s name is in the book they are interested in reading about themselves,” said parent and school volunteer L.Ward., who personalized the books herself. “These kids are just now learning small words to they will enjoy it for several years. I would say it will be a lifetime keepsake.”
Ward, 38, is owner of her own business called Leshea’s Create-A-Book. She came up with the idea for Tuesday’s book giveaway and got three business sponsors to pay for the books – Ingles, Hardees and Nicholson Co., a Dana heating company.
“For some of these children it may be their first book, especially our Hispanic children,” kindergarten teacher Alison Stout said. Although kids are supposed to be motivated by seeing their own names, many of the children in Stout’s class seemed just as excited about seeing their friends and family members names.
“I got Chelsea and Casey and Ethan and Josh and Jeremia,” said J.P after seeing his friends names in his book.
“My family is in here!” exclaimed J.W. She said she planned to read her book over and over.
Ward spent weeks printing the personalized information in the books, which she buys from Create-A-Book, Inc. Each child took home a card, which their parents filled out with the information. All students who had their photographs taken at the beginning of the year also had those included on the inside covers. The goal is to get youngsters interested in reading early. But the personalized book business also holds a special benefit for Ward.
“I started this business so I could continue to stay home with my children,” she said. “I’ve been home six hears and enjoy it.”
Ward and her husband Edgar are county natives’ he has worked 21 years at Cranston Print Works.
“You can imagine why I would want to be home with these children,” she said. “You can’t put babies like that in day care. They wouldn’t survive.”
Ward says she hopes to find sponsors to do similar book giveaway programs at other schools so other kindergartners can have the thrill of owning their own personalized book. It’s all part of an effort to instill students with a love of learning at the youngest age.
“The teachers are really looking for fun things for them to do?’” she said. “They have computer classes, dance classes, Spanish. They do the most for these children I have ever seen. My son wants to be there on Saturday.
“It’s like going to a fun place every day for kindergartners. It is the neatest.”
Newspaper article from Gulf Breeze Florida (reprint) Optimists sponsor McGruff Give-A-Book Day
Fifteen hundred fifth graders in Santa Rosa County will receive a free personalized Scruff Book created by the National Crime Prevention Council. This event marks the beginning of the NCPC McGruff’s “Take a Bite Out of Crime” Scruff anti-crime and anti-drug campaign. The book is being underwritten and sponsored by the Gulf Breeze Optimist Club for the benefit of the children.
Community leaders from Washington, D.C. and Santa Rosa County will be attending the event. Louis Dominguez will speak on behalf of the National Crime Prevention Council. In addition, representatives from Sheriff Brown’s office, Representative Scarborough’s office, the Gulf Breeze Optimists Club and Chief Markopoulos from the Milton Police Department will be there.
The National Crime Prevention Council is a non-profit organization whose principal missions are to enable people to prevent crime and build safer communities. The personalized Scruff anti-drug book is an extension of the McGruff campaign and is intended for fifth graders nationwide. Santa Rosa County is also the home of the book’s publisher, Create-A-Book, Inc.
“This book is being well received, especially since we can put the child’s name in the story. This book is anti-drug and takes the message home.” Said Create-A-Book’s president John Hefty. “We want to thank the Optimist Club for their support of the project.” Parents and the public are welcome.
The same event sparked another article in another local newspaper County kicks off national prevention program by Mary Anderson, Gulf Breeze Sentinel (newspaper)
Keeping America’s children safe is a unanimous goal for many adults, however, Santa Rosa County has taken the fight against crime one step further. With the sponsorship of the Gulf Breeze Optimist Club, every fifth grader in the county will receive a special gift to let them know just how important it is for them to stay out of harm’s way.
Several members of the community including County Sheriff Jerry Brown, Officer Jack Onkka, Superintendent Benny Russell, Create-A-Book’s John Hefty and various Gulf Breeze Optimists joined Oriole Beach Elementary staff and students to kick off a National Crime Prevention campaign known as the “Give-A-Book” Program. These members welcomed, all the way from Washington D.C., the Director of the National Crime Prevention Council Louis Dominguez and his famous crime dog, McGruff, to the area.
On Tuesday, McGruff presented each fifth grade student at Oriole Beach Elementary with a book personalized with each child’s name appearing throughout the story. The book will hopefully make the students aware of the problems facing them today.
“One of the objectives of the book is to promote literacy. The kids will want to read it over and over again because their name appears in the actual story,” Dominguez said. “It also raises self-esteem and gets the community involved by allowing clubs to be sponsors.”
Children’s safety issues are a major concern of the Gulf Breeze Optimist Club, that is why they thought it necessary to get involved in the program.
“We thought it was a good idea to get involved especially since our primary goal is helping kids, and this seemed to be an excellent way of doing it,” Gulf Breeze Optimist John Berti said.
The Optimist Club purchased 1,500 books se each fifth grade child in the county could be presented with a unique story designed to keep them on the right path. Create-A-Book of ?Gulf Breeze, the first to design a personalized book, has published the story which will be available nationwide. After leaving Santa Rosa County, the National Crime Prevention Council will continue their effort to “take a bite out of crime” by traveling to other Florida Schools and then move on to Texas.
Dominguez addressed the students of Oriole Beach Elementary about the importance of the children’ future success.
“You are a very important part of our country. You can be anything that you want, but you’ve got to stay clean,” Dominguez said.
Santa Rosa County students have put the school district o the map by being the first students in the nation to receive the book. The students will remember the very special event for a long time and will hopefully learn a lesson in safety.
“I consider this an honor,” Superintendent Russell said. “We feel there’s not a better place to kick off the program. We appreciate Create-A-Book, Inc. and the Optimist Club. The program has been very well received by our students.”
McGruff’s Nephew Scruff in a Summer Camp Adventure by Louis G. Dominguez
With ever increasing drug use among teens and children, the need to create effective, affordable, educational tools to reach children before they engage in drug use is imperative. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) responding to this need, approached John Hefty (creator of the instant personalized book concept and president of Create-A-Book) to create a very special book – a book that would teach children about the dangers of drug use. John Hefty agreed to develop and produce a personalized, interactive anti-drug book for children. It was anticipated that such a book would be welcomed by parents, teachers, and law enforcement. A year in the making, “McGruff’s Nephew Scruff in a Summer Camp Adventure” became the perfect tool to prevent drug use and abuse by children.
The book’s story stands alone in so far as achieving the intended goal which is to educate kids on the dangers of drug use. But to make the story more interesting, the name of the recipient of the book and his/her real friends are added to the book by replacing parts of the story with stickers that include the names of the children. As the child replaces entire paragraphs of copy with the stickers, he/she automatically reads the paragraph twice: Once to locate the paragraph that will be substituted with the sticker, and once again after the sticker is affixed to the particular page.
After the child finishes replacing all of the portions of the story in the book where the names have been added, the child often reads the story over and over because he/she and friends are a part of the story, and this is fascinating to the child. Then, the child will show his/her book to many other children and together they will read the story, and while they are reading, the lesson imparted in the book becomes a well learned lesson.
McGruff’s Nephew Scruff in a Summer Camp Adventure is an interactive book that encourages parental participation in the learning process. Parents are proud to show the book to relatives, neighbors, friends, and co-workers, thereby extending the teaching process to many others who may have young children. And parents do not discard this book, it becomes a part of the family, just like family photos, thus remaining in the home for a generation or more.
Additional benefits of the book are improved reading skills and building of self-esteem for the child since now he/she sees his/her name in print along with two famous and well liked and respected characters: McGruff and Scruff.
The book is unique, and presently, is the best tool in the marketplace to educate a child in the dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.
Since its recent release, more than 15,000 of these books have been distributed to children in the fourth and fifth grades in elementary schools in several states. The sponsors of the books are local businesses and service organizations. These include banks, grocery stores, gas stations, the Kiwanis, lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and others.
What is particularly different about these books, is that the presentation of the books to the children by the sponsor at their elementary school, is often attended by Mayors, City or Town Council members, the Sheriff, the Chief of Police, School Board Members, State Delegates, high ranking Military Officers, and at times, members of Congress. The presentations become major public events and are widely publicized by the local media. The publicity generated by these events adds much to the national effort to fight drugs, but more than that, the events brings together the entire leadership of a community which results in unity of effort.
In addition, it is quite impressive for the children to see all of these leaders coming together in the drug prevention effort.The creation of the interactive-personalized concept, the effectiveness of the story in combating drug use, the quality of the hard-bound book, and the popularity of McGruff and Scruff have resulted in a true success: the books will save children’s lives, our most precious resource.
McGruff and Scruff are registered trademarks of the National Crime Prevention Council
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