Young authors make their own books at this Upper East Side shop.
Thu Jun 17 2010
Photographs: Cinzia Reale-Castello
Finding a new rainy-day activity is the Holy Grail of NYC parenting—after all, how many times can you look at dinosaur bones or paint a sparkly ceramic mug? So when Scribble Press, a make-your-own-book shop, opened on the Upper East Side, I was eager to see what it was all about.
"We wanted to create a place where kids can get away from technology and engage their imaginations," explained cofounder Anna Barber on a recent afternoon. Nearby, big kids worked on graphic novels and note cards, while toddlers glued feathers to construction paper (prices range from $17 for a notebook-making project to $40 to produce a calendar; or you can pay $15 to just drop in and play with the art materials).
My crafty kids, Bellamy, 8, and Molly, 6, were lucky enough to get a tour of the entire bookmaking process—including the stages that are usually off-limits to visitors (see the girls’ explanation of all the steps below). We watched as the staff scanned in Bellamy’s artwork and printed it out on board stock (for the cover), then trimmed a stack of paper to the right size, punched holes in it and rolled a spiral through the whole thing. My little bookmakers even got to (carefully!) press some of the buttons on the machines. Not a bad way to spend a day, rainy or not.
Step 1 Choose a project "I picked a notebook because I love to write poems, and it was something I could finish quickly," says Bellamy. Molly decided to make a laminated place mat.
Step 2 Grab your markers "The marker wall was definitely the best part," says Bellamy, who plucked about a dozen bright shades for her wooden caddy. "They had a million different colors."
Step 3 Get creative Bellamy worked on a self-portrait for her notebook cover, while Molly went to town with the letter stencils. "M is for Molly, so everyone will know this is mine," she explained.
Step 4 Hand it in When the kids finished, the team printed and bound their creations in a secret lair at the back of the store. Molly got to look on as staffers worked their magic.
Step 5 Collect your masterpiece About 20 minutes later, projects are ready to take home. "I love my notebook," says Bellamy. "And I love that I didn’t have to wait a week to pick it up!"