My First Handmade Book: Kitty Cat Stevens Age 10

When I was ten years old, I wrote, illustrated, and created my very first handmade book. In celebration of my birthday today, I thought it would be fun to share that book with you! 

Henry Graham Greene once wrote, "There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." 

I should've realized long ago that I would be a bookbinder. All the warning signs were there. But hindsight's 20/20:

  • During middle school, I was an avid reader and writer. In high school, I filled composition notebooks with angsty stanzas and by senior year had joined the literary magazine staff.
  • Going into college, I became the poetry editor of the campus creative arts publication, and my final thesis project was a series of five small handbound books containing my original poetry.
  • Almost one year ago, I opened by own bookbindery and these days, I'm currently working with a few writers to turn their own poetry collections into chapbooks. 

Though I was born a skeptic, even I can't deny that things always have a way of coming back full circle. 

The following poems and illustrations are both hilarious and nostalgic to me. I vividly remember drawing the picture below, but I don't really recall any of the writing. I believe we would learn about a type of poem, and then the assignment was to write one.

Looking back now, I have a sneaking suspicion that we were also learning about adjectives. 

Either that, or I simply enjoyed colorful language. 

I believe my elementary school was "The Mighty Oaks" or something, hence the stamp below and the foil embossed label above. Maybe we were learning about the full publishing process? I can't be sure.

But I do distinctly remember sitting next to the teacher, gazing out the classroom window, and happily gluing stacks of books together— transfixed by that magic moment when several pieces come together to form a whole. 

Sometimes things aren't as different as we like to think they are.

I'm still transfixed by those moments. Whether it's stitching a book together, watching live music, baking a cake from scratch, or realizing random bits of your past have aligned to let to the future in, those are the powerful moments I'm celebrating today.  

And what birthday post would be complete without a childhood picture?  This is me, age 10, the year I made my first book: 

Charming, no? Happy birthday to the adorable tiny skeptic who hates men telling her to smile. Thanks for reading my story— cheers to many more years of writing, learning, and making books!