The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Do-It-Yourself - May 2009

Selected and annotated by Lizz Zitron


Abel, Jessica and Matt Madden. Drawing words & writing pictures: making comics: manga, graphic novels, and beyond. First Second, 2008 Gr. 6-12.
This coursebook on comic creation centers on storytelling and concludes with making a finished comic. With chapters on lettering, story structure, and panel layout, the 15 lessons offered provide a solid introduction for people interested in making their own graphic novels.

Chanda, Justin, ed. Acting out. (175 p.) Gr. 4-7.
Six Newbery stars from Avi to Katherine Paterson had to choose one word and share it with the group. These six words then had to be written into each author's one-act play. The result? Six plays for late elementary/middle school students to perform, including production notes. Straightforward enough the young people could put together a performance on their own or great for use in class/drama club.

Gold, Rozanne. Kids cook 1-2-3: recipes for young chefs using only 3 ingredients. Bloomsbury, 2006 Gr. 4-8.
With a fool-proof formula of 3 ingredients, Gold provides skill-building recipes that kids can actually and will actually want to do. Readers can tackle over 100 recipes from main dishes to drinks with a fair amount of success. Further, the illustrations are friendly and don't set kids up with pictures of unachievable perfection.

Hantman, Clea. I wanna make my own clothes. Simon, 2006 Gr. 4-8.
Step-by-step, easy to follow directions for revamping old clothes. No need for sewing skills or adult help, Hartman provides truly Do It Yourself projects and directions for young readers to design and remake.

Hantman, Clea. I wanna re-do my room. Simon, 2006 Gr. 4-8.
Hantman provides funky, crafty, clever ideas for remaking your room on the cheap and by yourself. Using thrift-shop finds or what's already on hand, readers can transform their room into something colorful and special. Some of the projects require parental permission and trips to the thrift or hardware store, but all are doable.

Ivarsson, Ana-Stina Linden and Katarina Brieditis and Katarina Evans. Second-time cool: the art of chopping up a sweater. Annick, 2005 Gr. 7-10.
Get started on the DIY path by chopping up and revamping wool sweaters. This book is more inspirational than instructional, but provides great doable projects, sources for further instruction of skills and models that look like real, albeit incredibly cool, teens.

Lake, Sanoe with Steven Jarrett. Surfer girl: a guide to the surfing life. (144 p.) Gr. 7-12.
A basic course in surfing A to Z for kicking butt in the waves including courage, discipline and perserverance brought to you by a lifelong surfer. This book covers surfing skills and culture.

Levine, Gail Carson. Writing magic. Collins, 2006 Gr. 4-9.
Acclaimed writer Levine shares her secrets for writing stories including characters, plot, dialogue and how to use criticism. Includes writing exercises and assignments to help budding writers needing discipline and guidance.

Lipsey, Jennifer. I love to collage! Lark, 2006 Gr. 2-6.
Beyond cutting out and gluing magazine pictures, this book takes readers on a collage journey. Shows how to take ordinary objects from leaves to straws to make awesome art. Shows readers techniques and ideas while giving them room for their own ideas and creativity.

Newcomb, Rain. The master spy handbook. Lark, 2005 Gr. 4-7.
Follow the adventures of Agent O, a full time student at the Spy Academy who seems like an average kid but who's really the world's top spy. Readers will learn how to become a top secret agent with activities, sample codes, things to make and a glossary.

Price, Pam. Cool scrapbooks. Abdo, 2005 Gr. 3-6.
Part of the "Cool Crafts" series, this installment introduces young readers and crafters to the world of scrapbooking. From supplies to technique, design to matting, this book offers readers a comprehensive guide to making a truly cool scrapbook.

Rosenwald, Laurie. All the wrong people have self-esteem: an ippropriate book for young ladies, or frankly, anybody else. Bloomsbury, 2008 Gr. 9 up.
Snarky with funky illustrations and brutal honestly, this book tackles identity with sardonic whimsy. Rosenwald takes an axe to the usual chipper books on self-esteem to provide something realistic but inspiring to readers from all walks of life.

Sousa, Jean. Faces, places and inner spaces. (48 p.) Gr. 3-6.
Sousa, director of Family Programs at the Art Institute in Chicago, shows young readers how to look at and understand art using faces, places and inner spaces as the theme. Encourages readers to get more out of art and includes an activity pack and exercises.

Warwick, Ellen and Bernice Lum. Everywear. Kids Can, 2008 Gr. 5-8.
A Do It Yourself approach to the world of accessories. Covers basic supplies and techniques to help readers create original, funky bags, bracelets, hair supplies and more. Encourages readers to use what they already have and make it better.

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