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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 10, 2001

Making Dad's day special with a hand-made book

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Staff Writer

In second grade at 'Aikahi Elementary last year, Nina Fullerton put together something her father, Mike, will treasure all his life. It's a book about him, called "My Dad is a Nurse."

Nina, now 8, wrote the story about her father's work in the Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Queen's Medical Center, typed it out on a computer, illustrated each page, and drew the cover as part of a project in Lisa Oki's class.

But it's a project any child can do for their dad for Father's Day next Sunday.

While it took Nina and the rest of the second graders half a year to finish their projects, with a little help from Mom or an older sibling, youngsters can put together their own special Father's Day book in a few days.

Oki gives her students a few criteria. "You have to write about something you know about. It has to be true. Or it could be something that happened to you."

As the students share their stories in class, it begins to give them a powerful sense of the purpose of writing, said Oki. "At this age, they write because they think the teacher wants it. They don't realize it's to get and share other people's ideas."

Nina chose her father's job because she has been intrigued by trips to the hospital, getting dressed in scrubs and a mask, seeing patients wheeled in and out of the operating room. And she found her strength in medical verite — her patients came equipped with ventilators and bladder catheters, chuckled her father.

In a few easy steps you can make your own book for your dad:

  1. Write out your story.
  2. Divide it into paragraphs and type or print each out on a separate sheet.
  3. Illustrate each paragraph with a drawing and color it.
  4. Sew or staple your pages together. Oki uses her sewing machine for her students' books, limiting them to eight pages so the needle will go through.
  5. Create a cover out of firm cardboard that's a little larger than your open book. Add an extra inch for the spine.
  6. Ask Mom for colorful paper for a cover and fold it over the cardboard, taping the corners firmly.
  7. Glue your book pages into the spine of the cover. To make the inside of the covers pretty, glue plain paper over the rough edges of the colored paper.
  8. Draw a design on the front and write the title and your name.
  9. Wrap it up and present it to your dad on Father's Day. He'll keep it forever.