When my son was four I decided to start writing down stories from my childhood to share with him. Since I was an artist and we all want our children to read, I decided to learn how to make them into unique storybooks by hand. Soon, I found that others had stories to share too and they found my storybooks a novel way to learn about people from around the world.
Since then my work has been two-fold—1) teaching others to make their own unique books to put their own stories in it thus encouraging them to get creative and share their stories and 2) writing my own stories and making them into books to sell.
Read an article about my work in India Currents (2009).
Check my Projects page to see my Handmade Storybook projects for Living Legends of Alexandria and the Smithsonian Institution. See more photos and events related to Handmade Storybooks on our Facebook page.
Unique & Handmade: Storybooks by Sush
As a book artist I enjoy the fact that I can write my own stories and design the books that will carry them. I design the books, print them, fold and cut and bind them, till they are complete. Then, I teach others how to make their own. Check out the books below and order one for your child or your mom. Or order 15 for your daughter’s friends. They are each made-to-order so email me for details.
BHOOT! Story of a Boy’s Fear: Everybody in my family knows the story of when my father was 12 and saw a bhoot. But there are so many of his stories my children don’t know as they grow up thousands of miles away from their “foreign”grandparents, unable to make easy connections between their lives. Distance, language, and time keeps stories from getting shared. Here is my imagining my father telling the story to my daughter and her friend, who lives down the street from us.
A Unique Storybook: As you read the story in this unique Handmade Storybook I made from French paper, draw your own illustrations inside and add your name on the cover next to “Illustrated by.” There are no copies of this book as each one is handmade by me and looks different from the next!
A Unique Cover: If you know the word for bhoot in another language, write it on the cover in your own way. I wrote the word BHOOT!—a Hindi/Bengali word from India, using the Roman alphabet, with brush and Chinese ink. Then I cut it all up because sometimes scary things don’t look scary at all if you look at them in smaller pieces. See photos of my author visit for Turning the Page by clicking here.
Little Lantern and the Dark & Moonless Night: Inspired by a ceramic lantern made by my friend potter Jeff Rogers, this story is about a Little Lantern who worries about how she can help light up the dark and moonless night of Diwali, a very special night for Indians all over the world. A story of purpose and the magic of light, this story is narrated by the Little Lantern—made of common earth and water— and how her tiny light shows us the colorful rangoli design made from handmade papers. Each book is a unique combination of colors and textures of handmade papers from around the world. Each book comes with a battery-operated tealight to put in a lantern/votive of your own to place on the open book.
Looking for Presidents: Created to celebrate President’s Day at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Looking for Presidents is the story of a mom who didn’t go to school in the US (me!) finding stories from US history in art, architecture, parks, bridges, and even license plates all around. The trick is in the Looking! I tell the story of where I found 13 presidents and I keep 2 pages blank for you to find 2 of your own and add their photo and story in the pages of your book.
Book $25. Email me to order your copy.
Mangli, the Very Special Goat: This house-shaped 3-D book is the story about my mother—when she was seven—and how her grandfather’s pet goat Mangli, kept her out of school for a whole week! It was a story she told me when I was little and it surprises her that I remember it. My mom and her brother are also tickled that children in the US now know the story of a silly goat from their distant childhoods.
The black and white book you can color in has art inspired by henna designs and comes with a tiny shirt and clothespin so you can hang up the kurt on the clothesline inside.
Book: $20. Email me to order.
Homework: When challenged to make a miniature book, I started thinking of a story from my life that involved something small. A matchbox is small… and I did have a story! It was about a homework assignment given to my 8th grade class… Be careful when you read this un-bound storybook.
Book: $15. Email me to order.