We love a good family project. True, it’s almost impossible to get time to do one, but they are fun and get the whole squad together to create something special.

Something like that gives you a real, tangible memory you can share and enjoy for years. And what better than a good book? It might sound ambitious but there’s no reason why your project can’t be something as advanced as a book if you want.

Self-publishing has never been easier. If you have internet access and the will, you can put together a book to which the whole family can contribute. It could be writing, illustrating, colouring, or just voting for the bits they like best to be included.

A few weeks ago we told you all about I Love You, Natty, a book written by 9-year-old Mia Goleniowska about her little sister, Natalia, who has Down’s syndrome. Mia wrote the book with a little help from her mum to give other families a first introduction to Down’s syndrome.

The book is a beautiful, simple account in Mia’s own words and is full of great family photos. The Goleniowska’s will have that book forever, have a copy each, and if the pages get tattered or damaged they can get it reprinted. What a timeless family treasure.

That book took a lot of work and a lot of time, but there are other methods.

White Water Writers is a voluntary project that recently allowed a group of kids with special education needs to write and publish their own co-written book in just 5 days.

The group of students, which have varying diagnoses including epilepsy, dyslexia, Tourette’s, diabetes and six separate diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder, were asked to collaborate on a book set in World War 1, with an element of time travel and an element of mystery.  The writers brainstormed and storyboarded their narrative on the first day, drafted it for two more days and polished and proofread for the last two. 

Dr Joseph Reddington, who developed the process explained: “After the first day, each writer takes responsibility for a character’s path though the novel. So if I'm responsible for 'Dorothy’ I look at these scenes, I make sure that Dorothy's story has life and vigour, that it flows narratively and that she is a rich three-dimensional character. I trust my fellow writers to be doing the same with their responsibilities and when Dorothy is influenced by their actions so am I.”

The book is now available on Amazon and will be something all those children can cherish forever. And all in just five days.

Pulling a book together that quickly takes a lot of pre-planning and organisation but it can be done, and there’s no reason why your family couldn’t try to replicate the final outcome and give themselves a family project to treasure.

What would your family story be about?

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