August 30, 2018

Writing a Children's Book - With my Grandkids - How Much Fun!

Retirement is when we can try new things, grab new opportunities, and reinvent ourselves. My latest project is a good example.

All three of my grandkids love to read. They will take up to 100 books at a time, both print and audio, from the library and get through almost all of them in the three weeks before they must return their stack. They visit Gran and Grandad every Wednesday for a few hours. We often spend some of our time together reading and talking about books. 

Maybe 6 weeks ago I mentioned to them that my newest books are now available on Kindle. Suddenly, in an excited voice, my grandson wondered if he and I could write a children's book together. Then, both granddaughters chimed in, wanting to help. Just like that, the four of us, along with Betty and their mom were hatching plans, discussing plots, setting timetables, and assigning duties.

Josh thought I should write the book while he would be in charge of editing the manuscript and marketing the finished product. For that, he thought there should be a formal "contract" between grandad and him, spelling out how any profits would be split. For his age, he is remarkably attuned to entrepreneurship.

So, I found a basic consulting agreement, modified it for our purposes, and promptly signed it. Being only 11, Josh wanted to run the document past his father first. After getting dad's approval, he signed it and we were in business together, certainly not in a legal sense, but together in a project that had him totally involved.

The two girls, Kaylee and Kassidy, aged 10 and 8, took over the job of art work for the book. They enlisted Betty's help in taking photographs and converting them into sketches. Both girls huddled over a light table to produce depictions of the important plot elements.

I buckled down and wrote a family-based adventure tale. It involves travel, adventure, some danger, and exciting new experiences for the family. It also features a stuffed animal who is as much a part of the family as the mom, dad, and kids. Named, Bobo, he has a brush with danger. Everything ends well (it is a children's book, after all), but there are some G rated tense moments.  

Not surprisingly, the fictional family has two girls and a boy, roughly the same age as my grandkids. In the story each child's interests and special talents mirror what their real-life counterparts enjoy. It has been loads of fun to make each fictional character like one of the kids and their parents. The dad in the story contains some elements of both me and their actual father while my daughter and wife can see some of themselves in the fictitious mom.

We hope to have everything done and published by early fall. Because of the cost we will initially produce a Kindle e-book. But, children love to hold a real book in their hands so it likely we have printed versions available, too.

Don't tell my grandson, but making money is not the real goal. It is the execution of an idea from start to completion. It is the tangible production of that dream, and the satisfaction in knowing that together, we completed what we set out to do.

Have you tackled a project with your grandkids, nieces or nephews? Have you watched their faces light up as an idea becomes reality? Have you showed them one of your interests, only to have them get just as excited as you?

Share away!  

And, yes, when the book is published, you will be the first to know!


  1. What a wonderful thing to create and a true legacy for them - both emotionally and physically. Yes, it needs to be printed (multiple copies) and signed by all involved. It will be a keepsake they will appreciate well into the future! (mom & dad - SIL and daughter - need a special copy as well).

    1. Signing physical copies is a great idea. We will do that.

  2. This is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. Well done, Grandad! What a wonderful example, legacy, stick-to-it-ness, fulfilling experience for all involved. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It is a great experience to watch this go from an idea to finished product.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks..they are enjoying it. Of course they though it would all be done in a few days!

  4. I said grands but spell check auto changed...sorry!

  5. I've been thinking a lot about writing a book. I might have to rent some grandchildren.

  6. What a magical and memorable activity for you and your family, Bob!

    It wouldn't surprise me at all if your grandchildren's local library would jump at the chance to hold a "Meet the Authors" get together once your family's book is published. That's just the sort of heartwarming event that would go over well in a community and what an incredible experience that would be for your grandkids!

    The best part will be knowing that this delightful activity will result in a family heirloom that can be passed along to future generations - how wonderful is that?! Enjoy every minute of this very special project!

    1. I like your idea of a meet the authors. The kids department might be quite interested. I will follow up when we have printed copies ready to go.


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