What was missing from the paperback copy of my new book? What are the four perfect words to begin any beloved book?

Those four perfect words are not “Once upon a time.” For me, those four perfect words are “This book belongs to.”

When I look through all of my old books saved from childhood, the ones that I treasured most always had a special spot for me to write my name. And you can tell that “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” was especially treasured because I not only wrote my name, I wrote a whole sentence. “It is John Roy’s Book.” (Roy is my grandfather’s first name and my middle name. He was the best ever to me.)

“This book belongs to” are the most perfectly magical wonderful words to begin a book. And I had overlooked them. When I realized this, I knew I had to include them, and so I designed and drew what you see on the right for “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.”

I hope it has all of the optimistic joy that I had back then when I took my own “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” book home. It shows Pearl at her best, sweet and wonderful, looking up and looking forward, optimistic and persistent, small in stature, but big in heart.

And of course, if a book is going to start with those four perfect words, then what comes next just naturally has to match. The rest of the book is being redesigned so that hopefully the visual elements match the story elements.

You will notice that the font for “This book belongs to” is a little different. It is a hand drawn font named Quimbly designed by Magpie Paper Works. I purchased it from fontspring.com because it matches so well with hand drawn illustrations.

I was able to confirm late yesterday that the license which came with it allows me to use it in PDF for print documents (not eBook documents), and so I will be using it as my font for the print version. That was exciting! I think it will add a great deal to the overall appearance of the book.

Here is a rough draft mockup of a page spread with this font. I decided to give each chapter a different gift wrap border rather than being all the same as you may have seen with the online version I shared a few weeks ago for test readers. This also reflects Pearl’s love for collecting pretty things like gift wrap that most other people would consider trash.

“This book belongs to:”…Those words may mean different things to different people, but to me, they still mean “This book resonates with my heart and who I am or who I hope to be.”

For our Facebook fans, we still have a free coloring page that you can download and print. Just go to our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page and click the link there. It’s pinned to the top to make it easier to find. The coloring page will open in Dropbox, but you do not need a Dropbox account!

P.S. It is okay to print and color even if you are a grown-up!


6 thoughts on “Four Perfect Words To Begin Any Beloved Book

    1. Thanks so much! Some of my most personally valued adult books are ones that Ernie Maurer owned. He was my Drawing teacher in college. It was interesting to consider how those books might have influenced his art and his teaching.

      Unfortunately that used book store and the others in my area have all closed. And there seem to be fewer and fewer of them in other places too. Whenever I travel though, I always try to visit a used bookstore because you never know what you will find!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. As soon as my sister received the copy I sent to her, she put her name on the first page before reading another word. That convinced me to do the same with every book like this. I have a feeling she won’t be the only adult to do the same, just maybe one of the few that will admit how much she enjoyed that simple little box with those four words.

      Liked by 1 person

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