Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
I was given the chance to design a personalised book from love2read. Their aim is to help children develop a love of reading by producing easy to read books including photos that reflect the child’s life.
The website is very easy to navigate around and unlike similar sites like this I didn’t need new software or programs to be able to upload my photos. You can choose to create a book by selecting the type of person the book is about (e.g a book about Daddy, a book about Grandma), or scroll down the list of ideas for all books available. I was surprised to see ideas for books I would never have thought about such as ‘My holiday’ or ‘I went to the theatre’ that would make lovely mementos for children and their parents. Each option has an extremely helpful demo so you can be inspired and see the types of things you can include in your own book.
I chose to go with an ‘All about me’ book and after watching the demo chose my own photos and simple wording to go with them. I started with a ‘My name is’ page with a picture of my daughter. On the second page I went with ‘I am 4 years old’ with a picture of her birthday. I then covered her pet dog, her favourite thing to do, that she likes to eat, to wear lipstick amongst other things and ended with a picture of all of her family with the words ‘I love my family’. In total I had 10 pages covered with photos and simple sentences relevant to my daughter. It was possible to change the colour of the borders around the photos but I left then pink. On the back page the child is asked if they can read the 2 words included in large type. The default words didn’t suit my book so I chose 2 suitable words by popping a note in the order details.
Throughout the photo adding process warnings appeared telling me if a photo resolution was too low so I could alter it. I also found it helpful that the character limit for each page was set quite small. I was irritated by it at first as on some pages I couldn’t add all the text that I wanted, but then realised it was actually a good thing. There’s no point having long winded sentences in a book designed for pre-schoolers to learn to read from.
Later that night I received an email telling me that I’d not correctly up loaded the first photo in my book and was given a couple of ways in which to correct my mistake. I was also told of a couple of other options I’d not noticed that I could change so I was very grateful for the timely email letting me know.
Around 2 days later I received the book and it is an excellent quality. The cover is a glossy finish and the colours are very bright. My daughter was thrilled when she saw it and we immediately had to read it twice over. She was very excited the book was all about her and that she could recognise the pictures. It is very easy to relate the pictures to the words. For example, on the one of our dog I could point to the dog’s name, Tommy, and she now knows how his name looks in print. The pages are quite thick and will withstand the rough handling of a child. The print is a large size that makes it easy to point out individual words and letters.
I will definitely order from love2read again. I created this book by myself but it would be a brilliant family project to work on by getting your children to pick photos to put in the book, or to re-live a holiday by creating a book about it. The ‘All about me’ version of the book could also work well as a gift provided you have enough photos of the recipient as I’m sure every child would be delighted to receive a book all about themselves.
The entire creating and ordering process was simple and hassle free, and the final product is good quality.
For more information or to create your own personalised book visit www.love2read.co.uk.