Breathing New Life Into Battered Books

I’ve written in the past in praise of the battered book and stand by my belief that kids’ books should not be ornamental, they should be woven into the fabric of their play time in as many ways as possible.  I’m not encouraging the wanton destruction of books by little ones, but am very aware that insisting on excessive care and attention is a sure fire way to suck the fun out of anything.  With this in mind, we’ve built houses and towers, created paths and patterns and had a whole host of fun with books that had nothing to do with reading.  It’s all part of creating positive associations with books and has helped to shape a once somewhat reluctant reader into a keen story time participant.

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The covers look OK, but hide a multitude of sins. These were heading for the bin.

Inevitably, taking this approach means that there are going to be casualties along the way.  Much as I hate to throw a book away, they do sometimes hit the recycling bin when they’re exhausted enough to be of no use to anyone.  I’m not talking about books that are simply tired and well worn. I’m talking about books that are missing pages, have extra illustrations courtesy of a pen left within reach and would be deemed more of an insult than a gift if they were to be passed on.  I’ve had to throw a fair number of books in this condition over the years, and it pains me every time, so today I decided to take a different approach and use them creatively.

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Just some of the salvaged illustrations.

What did we do?

Rather than bin two long-serving Peppa Pig books, both missing a considerable number of pages, I took a pair of scissors to them instead and cut out lots of little pictures.  I then sat with my four year old, a stick of glue, pens and card and we turned these pictures into our very own ‘book’.

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A’s text says: Daddy Pig says, ‘Oh no!’

As A is still very young, rather than our ‘book’ having a cohesive narrative, she just produced a few pages based around Peppa and her family being at a funfair, sticking down illustrations, embellishing with her pens and even adding her own words.  My only input was to help with spelling.  Everything else was her.  She drew very heavily on the stories she was familiar with to make her own pages, but she is only four.  She absolutely loved the activity, animatedly narrating the stories as she was putting her pages together and proudly talking me through them when she was done.

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A’s text says ‘Balloon’ and ‘Family’.

This was such a great way to solve the problem of what to do with books past their shelf life.  Older children will no doubt be able to put together proper narratives, but this was a lovely introduction for A to creating her own tales and linking up her pictures and writing.  We’ve got loads of pictures left and I’m sure A will have plenty of ideas of how to use them.  No more books in bins, we’ll be breathing new life into them from now on.

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17 thoughts on “Breathing New Life Into Battered Books”

  1. What a great idea! I’m always loathed to throw books away – they are precious after all – but this is brilliant way to up-cycle them 🙂 #KLTR

    1. Haha! My daughter was fascinated watching me cut it up (I promise it was beyond salvaging 😂) and provided a somewhat outraged running commentary of the process!

  2. What an absolutely brilliant idea! I think cutting up a book would pain me, but my son is quite gentle on his books. But I definitely want to give this a try so I think we’ll raid the charity shops or for-sale box in the library for some books needing a new lease of life.
    #bigpinklink

  3. Apologies if this is a duplicate comment, the internet swallowed my first one!

    But this is an amazing idea. Cutting up a book would pain me, but my son is quite gentle on his books. I really want to try this though, so we’ll raid the charity shops or the for-sale box in the library for books needing a new lease of life.

  4. What a great idea! I hate to throw books away and the thought of cutting them up makes me feel a bit funny but much better to make a different use of them than just throw them away. #readwithme #kltr

  5. I couldn’t do this lol, I just couldn’t! My children are freely able to sit and look and read books any time but they know that ripping pages or writing for them is not allowed. This is more about me I think and I can’t bear seeing battered books, but you are right we have had some casualties along the way too, so this is a fun idea. Thanks for linking up to #KLTR

  6. This is a fantastic idea and much better use of a book than throwing it away or sending it to the paper recycling. I think it’s very creative and love your little one’s picture. Thanks for linking up to #KLTR

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