Bookmaking: A Visit with Second Graders

Production editor Erica Johnson has a treat in store for you today! Below, read all about her adventure in teaching second-grade students about bookmaking.

Back in May, I had the opportunity to join a Lerner author on a school visit. We were invited to talk about the book publishing process to groups of second graders during their library time. The school’s librarian had taught a unit about authors, illustrators, and publishers to the students. The kids were familiar with the basic process, and this was a chance for them to ask questions and hear specifics on the production of a book.

To prepare for the visit, I read the Lerner title From Idea to Book, part of our Start to Finish series. It follows a Lerner book as it journeys from author to illustrator to our production staff to the printer and, finally, to the bindery. I brought the book along as a visual aid to show the students what some of the equipment at the printer and bindery looks like (a big hit with the students).

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A spread from the book From Idea to Book, showing machinery    
Photo credit: Erica Johnson

I also brought along props to show the different stages of a book’s layout and uncut pages from the printer. I demonstrated how a sheet of sixteen pages can be folded into the book shape that kids are familiar with.

A sheet of printed pages unfolded
Photo credit: Erica Johnson

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Pages folded into a signature
Photo credit: Erica Johnson

After the presentation, the librarian gave suggestions on how students could make their own books at home. If you have a child or student interested in books, we have a new series called Library Smarts that will be right up their alley. Titles in this series include  Know the Parts of a Book and Learn about Authors and Illustrators (cover pictured).


For students interested in how products are made, we have other Start to Finish titles in addition to From Idea to Book. Some of the titles in this series include From Tree to Paper, From Cotton to T-Shirt, and From Wax to Crayon (cover pictured). Check them out! I hope you enjoy our books every bit as much as I enjoyed sharing the bookmaking process with some eager second graders.