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A String of Hearts

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Katherine Tegen Books

Available in hardcover
ISBN-10: 978-0-06-000085-1


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A String of Hearts

Author's Note About Making Valentines


I believe I am a far better writer because I am a mother. This is particularly true with my picture books which I began writing as bedtime stories for my children to help them think through playground conundrums. A String of Hearts celebrates Valentine's Day and school parties, but it is also about popularity—children recognizing who their true friends are. It also highlights the joys of actually making a card that is tailored specifically to the recipient. I spent many happy hours with my daughter and son at the kitchen table piled high with doilies, stickers, markers, and construction paper. (I think I am a closet kindergarten teacher!) It took time and creative energy, but making those cards prompted such wonderful discussions about the nature of affection and what my children really relished about each individual friend.

So, here are a few guidelines to making valentines. You can learn to make valentines by reading A String of Hearts, (just follow along with Sam as Mary Ann shows him how) but here are some basic tips: First, bring patience and a sense of humor to the table. Making a mess is half the fun! Next, bring these materials: construction paper (red, pink, white); foil; doilies (round ones and pre-cut hearts); tissue paper: ribbons; stickers; glitter; sequin: glue sticks; markers, crayons, colored pencils; and child-safe scissors. Thick wrapping paper and wallpaper can also be used for interesting hearts or backgrounds. Children might even enjoy cutting out pictures from magazines to use as decorating flourishes.

Depending on how old your child is or how comfortable she is with scissors, you may need to do some pre-cutting of cards and hearts. For hearts, fold the paper in half, draw a teardrop along the fold and cut (Mary Ann shows you how on page 12). Or simply trace around a heart cookie cutter. You’ll definitely want to pre-separate the doilies which can stubbornly stick together. Remember that doilies are lacy and have holes in them! So have newspaper or paper towels underneath them to catch the extra glue when you apply glitter or other decorations To avoid those middle-of-the-project panics when things don’t look quite right, help your child pre-plan and arrange items on the card before he actually begins to glue things down. A series of tiers is fun: a card (paper folded in half like a book cover) topped with a round doily, stacked with a big heart, a small doily or cut-out, and then a smaller heart. Maybe stick a Hershey’s kiss in the center or stickers. (Do try to let you child create on his/her own, without your directing too much. Your respecting and praising his efforts will go a long way in building self-esteem and making the process a happy and fun one for both of you.) If your child is too young to sign a card, maybe trace around her hand or have her plant a kiss on the card (applying lipstick will be an added bit of fun for some!).

Mary Ann will tell you how to make traditional cards such as "pinpricked" foil cards (p. 16) and acrostic poem cards (p. 14). To make a string of hearts like the one Mary Ann did for Sam, take a large piece of construction paper and cut a long strip. Then fold that into an accordion. Draw a heart that has one edge along the fold. DO NOT CUT the edge that is along the fold so that the layers stay together like an accordion. See:

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© Copyright 2014 L.M.Elliott