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Put Me In The Story! Personalized Children’s Books Make Your Super Girl (or Boy!) the Star of the Story

Updated on October 11, 2015

The Modern Parent is no stranger to building a child’s creativity through reading and beautiful illustration – our last post reviewed a National Geographic book series that launched kids straight into space. This time around, we wanted to let our imaginations free…er, we mean our children’s imaginations.

A Roman tabula, this one made of wax. Literally a blank slate.
A Roman tabula, this one made of wax. Literally a blank slate. | Source

If you’re wondering why your two-year-old knows how to use your iPhone better than you do, some developmental forces may be at work. In psychology, there’s a term known as tabula rasa, derived from Latin and roughly translating to “blank slate.” The tabula rasa refers to the idea of a newborn child being completely devoid of any knowledge or socialization, and therefore he or she must gain everything they know from experience and perception (Source: Wikipedia). If the first thing in your child’s hand (or the first thing in front of his or her face) is an electronic device, they literally see the device as a natural part of the world. That means that those games—especially the interactive click, drag, or swipe games—feel like they’re real life – not necessarily the best thing for an infant or toddler.

But with a refreshing revival of children’s reading in the past few years, we’ve been blessed with countless new ways to pry the tablets out of our kids’ hands, even for just an hour a day. One that’s been catching a buzz with The Modern Parent is the personalized children’s book.

The concept itself is basic – reimagine new and popular children’s books with your child as a character in the story. The personalization can take many forms: from having his own unique Jedi character in the Star Wars universe, to having Dora and Boots look for the way to her birthday party, to the Sesame Street characters reminding him that there’s “just one you!”. There are nearly endless possibilities, but the best books do more than just let you add your child’s name. Here’s a general idea of how high-quality publishers can customize and personalize children’s books:

  • Age (0 months – 8+)
  • Occasion (Halloween, Christmas, New Baby/Sibling, Birthdays, “I Love You”s)
  • Characters (like Star Wars and Nickelodeon)
  • Names and photos of the child

The Modern Parent took a look at two products, specifically – one online company that seems to have a solid grasp of the niche, and a big-name known for Thank You’s, Congrats!, and “I’m Sorry.” While we don't necessarily endorse either of these products or companies, we wanted to give you a couple of unique examples that are a good indication of what you'll be getting with one of these books. Hopefully it'll spawn your own thinking and research - always a plus for a modern parent.

Put Me In the Story is one of the top retailers of personalized children’s books. They have a wide selection of well-illustrated books, and cater to almost any child or parent – from modern-day characters like Spongebob to a touch of the old school with Peanuts and Lemony Snicket. From their website:

Put Me In The Story creates personalized books for kids by taking bestselling children’s picture books and well-loved characters and allowing you to create personalized books that make your child the star of the story alongside their favorite characters.

Put Me In The Story’s motto is to-the-point: “Bestselling books starring your child!” And they deliver. A quick browse of their homepage reveals characters and stories we’re all too familiar with: Disney, Elmo, The Avengers, Charlie Brown – and that’s only a handful. With popular names like these, it’s hard not to be interested.

And Put Me In The Story produces high-quality stories to go along with them. Follow a series of clues in a Lemony Snicket book, have an exciting Halloween night out with Elmo, or just a have a personalized “Night Night Book” with your child’s name for easier bedtimes.

For a fun twist on indoor and rainy day activities, a new way to cheer up a sick child, or a thoughtful gift, check these guys out. They even have some adult gifts!

Hallmark, best known for their graduation and “Get Well Soon” cards, as well as balloons and other semi-personalized gifts (do you know anyone who’s purchased one of those crystal paperweights? I’d like to know!), has also jumped into the personalized children’s book game with its “Super Hero” series. At Hallmark, you know you’re already going to get something unique – anyone’s who’s spent an hour in front of the Mother’s Day cards looking for the right one knows this.

Source

But we also know that Hallmark does its job well, and the books show it. Rich, detailed stories that are all about your child – something that Put Me In The Story doesn’t do. Have your child suit up and save the city! These books have so many ways to personalize your child’s superhero that you’ll definitely find the perfect look. Here’s how Hallmark describes the series and personalization:

Create a personalized book with a hero that looks just like your child! Choose your girls's skin tone, eyes and hair, then make her the star of the story by adding her name. You can even add your own name to the dedication.
This story is full of crashes, bashes and nonstop excitement. Your little masked hero will battle villains, race to the rescue, and laugh in the face of danger as she fights for what’s right – and wins.

While you can’t insert pictures of your child into the story like you can with Put Me In The Story, I actually like having a stylized cartoon version. I still remember episodes of old cartoons and wish that I could be animated alongside the characters. These books really give your child the feeling that they’re part of the story – a great way to expand imaginations naturally. Products that help grow a child’s imagination without giving them the “zombie eyes” that come from staring at a screen for hours is a big hit with The Modern Parent!

For more info about Put Me In the Story, check out their website. And you can find the Hallmark “Super Hero” series on Amazon. Definitely let us know if you find other personalized children’s books you enjoy while browsing!

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