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Family Stories

Emma Walton Hamilton / Blog  / Family Stories
Family Stories

Family Stories

Family StoriesNovember is “Family Stories Month”. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage kids in reading and writing activities… and you never know when or how it might pay off!  My mother and I co-wrote the first draft of our picture book Simeon’s Gift when I was in elementary school. Some thirty-something years later, we rewrote it, published it, and then developed it into a stage musical and a symphonic event.

A great way to engage kids in family stories is to promote journaling. Begin by encouraging them to keep a journal during a family trip, special event or over a vacation. Journals can double as scrapbooks, and can be enhanced with pieces of memorabilia, photos, drawings, etc. Provide your child with some books about writing or that are told in journal format for inspiration (such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Amelia’s Notebook, Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, and Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook, for starters). Invite them to choose the kind of journal they would be inspired to write in—leathery and grainy, bejeweled, with a lock, lined versus plain paper, etc.  Then, let their natural creativity lead the way.

Another idea is to explore family history, by creating a family tree and/or writing a biography of one or more family members.  Help your child “interview” a family member (grandparents can be especially helpful and willing in this regard), look up family records in local libraries and town archives, or simply take advantage of the many online genealogy services that exist today. Together you can create a genealogical chart, draw a family tree, or go as far as transcribing the interviews and compiling a book of your family’s history, complete with photographs or illustrations. Biographies can also be created honoring friends or other family members, or the history of your house, street, neighborhood, or community.  Take it a step further and publish it through one of the many print on demand services like or  (Bonus: This makes a wonderful and unique gift for family members of all ages!)

Emma Walton Hamilton
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