BANGOR, Maine — A local art teacher has penned a new book that teaches the art of bookmaking through a series of projects. “Make It! Write It! Read It!: Simple Bookmaking Projects to Engage Kids in Art and Literacy” by Wendy M. L. Libby was released this month by Zephyr Press.

Libby, an art teacher at Fruit Street School in Bangor, has been teaching for 36 years. Her book was inspired by the concept of picturing writing, which is a literacy-enhancing technique where pictures are created first and then students write about them.

Bookmaking builds both art and literacy skills while encouraging self-expression, Libby says.

“I love the library. If I am not in the art room, I am in the library at school. And I always introduce my lessons with some type of book. … I had always done it for connection to subject,” said Libby. “[Books have] always been a good connection to lead into my art projects.”

In “Make It!” Libby teaches others how to turn the tables on books, making the books before writing the stories.

The 17 blank book projects include folded pocket books, one-fold pop-up books, tunnel books and subject-shaped books. The blank books are then used in 23 cross-curricular book projects such as alphabet books, leaf books and pop-up creature books.

Illustrations and color photos show readers what the projects can look like. Each project includes educational objectives, skills developed, materials and instructions.

“I’m hoping that anyone who works with children … will find [“Make It!”] helpful as a creative way for their children to communicate and … come up with their own ideas for books,” said Libby.

Libby wrote the book in her free time over school breaks. She also photographed and illustrated the projects.

In addition to teaching and writing, Libby runs a paint-and-sip business, where participants are guided through painting a scene over drinks during a two-hour event. All supplies are provided, and participants leave with their own painting to hang.

“I had gone to Boston in November for my son’s birthday party and his girlfriend had bought us tickets to one of these paint and sip nights and it was just a good time,” said Libby, who decided to bring the concept home to Bangor.

To view Libby’s event schedule, check out Paint4all.net.

Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is the senior editor, features, for the Bangor Daily News and the editor of Bangor Metro magazine. She’s the author of “Classic Diners of Maine,” and five cookbooks including “Easy...