Read it, then make it!

Read it, then make it!

Read it, then make it!

Date posted: January 22, 2019

Today we’re welcoming Francesca de Freitas, Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library, as our guest blogger. She shows us how a storybook can inspire making.

The Vancouver Public Library is celebrating Family Literacy Week with a full week of special events. Can’t make it to the library? Or want to mark this special day with activities at home too? Embrace the theme “Let’s Make It,” and gather your family for a story and craft.

Reading a book together then using the book as an inspiration to create is a wonderful way to extend the experience of the story into real life.  Doing physical activities inspired by a book gives you an opportunity to reinforce the vocabulary and themes of the story, and gives kids a chance to retell the story in their own words.

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd, is the story of a girl and her brothers who have built a bicycle out of found materials.  The kids joyously ride their bike through their village, and even through their mud-daubed home!

Here are some ideas for making things together after reading The Patchwork Bike.

With younger kids

– The kids in The Patchwork Bike ride so fast they make a motion blur across the page. Try making a painting with toy cars and trucks. You can even draw a house and drive your toys through it like the kids in the book do! Talk about how the different colours of paint mix together, and the variety of textures the wheels make in the paint.

(Photo and activity by Allison McDonald,

– The kids in The Patchwork Bike made their bicycle out of bits of wood, tin cans, and even a pot! Try making and decorating a bicycle. Talk about the parts of the bicycle mentioned in the book, and find them on the bike you make:

(Photo and activity by Danielle Duggins,

With older kids

– The artwork in The Patchwork Bike is painted on scrap cardboard. Try creating your own art on cardboard using paint, or even crayons or pencil crayons. Talk about how the texture of the cardboard affects your picture. Can you incorporate rips and flaws in the cardboard into your artwork?

– The kids in The Patchwork Bike made their bike out of unexpected materials. Try making something unexpected out of cardboard. Can you make a machine that actually works? Watch this video of 9 year old Caine Monroy and his cardboard arcade for further inspiration.


Latest News