The Making of a Children’s Book

The process I went through to create ABC books

At the top of my bucket list, I wrote: “Write a children’s book”.

Little did I know how difficult that goal would turn out to be.

Over the years, I’d tried my hand at writing a book for kids. More specifically the ABCs. I combined fiction with ABCs and wrote the start of a short story:

Adam had a Banana, a Crayon, and a Dog named Ernie. He lived on Franklin Avenue in Ginger City. Adam liked to share his banana with his friend, Hank, who lived next door with his pet Iguana. They loved to play Jump rope, fly a Kite, and make juice out of Lemons.

But it fizzled out before I got to M-N-O-P.

I decided to stick with nonfiction ABCs.

In the 80s, I put together a hand-crafted book with pencil drawings and an orange cardboard cover.

Photo of first children’s book ideas created by the author, Kimberley Payne

In it, I made ABC lists and drew a picture beside them. Lists included ABC topics like A to Z Anatomy, A to Z Food, A to Z Outdoors, and A to Z Animals.

Author photo of hand-made children’s book

But nothing ever came of these ideas.

It wasn’t until — over 20 years later — I created ABCs of Gratitude (for adults) that I considered a similar version for children.

The adult book was born out of an idea our Youth Pastor shared in a group meeting. On a long car ride, he played a game of listing what he was thankful for starting with the letter A.

I liked the idea and created my own version in a Facebook Group. For 26 days we shared something we were grateful for, choosing words starting with the letter of the day.

I then gathered these into a little book called ABCs of Gratitude — Giving thanks through the alphabet for your blessings.

Book cover and an inside excerpt from ABCs of Gratitude by Kimberley Payne

Years later, I decided to create a similar book for children.

When my kids were young, we sat together in the living room after dinner to write five things we were grateful for that day. I gave each child a little lined book (bought from the DollarStore) and we would share together after we had our five things.

But I wanted a more structured version that a child could write or draw in following their ABCs. I created ABCs of Gratitude — Give Thanks for Your Blessings Through These ABC prompts.

I especially liked working in this book with my young granddaughter. Sometimes she would draw a picture, other times she would circle a word, and other times she wrote something herself.

Examples of granddaughter listing things she was grateful for in ABCs of Gratitude book

ABCs of Scripture for Kids and ABCs of Psalms for Kids were also created with my granddaughter in mind. I wanted a simple way to help her memorize Bible verses.

My granddaughter holding the ABC series of books

I choose 26 scripture verses from the New International Version (NIV) Bible for my granddaughter to memorize.

Each Bible verse is the same as in the adult version but is limited to one sentence for ease of memory. We had fun creating actions for the verses. I videotaped my granddaughter reciting and acting out the verses and posted them on my Raise Up Channel on YouTube.

These books are something that I’ve given to kids as birthday gifts and to friends with newborns.

I am happy to scratch “write a children’s book” off my bucket list, although I suspect that these may not be my only ABC books!

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