Do red and gold feathers, priceless tears, and a box of matches remind you of anyone? If you guessed Fawkes, the phoenix from Harry Potter, you are correct! We had a blast with this “character book” activity at Cotsen Critix, our literary group for kids ages 9-12.
Basically, each member of the group was given a plain paper mache “book” and asked to fill it with objects and/or drawings that somehow relate to a character in a book. Words and writing were fine too, so long as they didn’t reveal the name of the character or the title of the book. Then, we put all the books on display and tried to guess who the characters were.
I purchased the paper mache books online from Discount School Supply. They call them “Papier-Mache “Secret” Books.” A set of 12 books costs $13.99.
My favorite part of this project is the creativity and diversity of the books. Even if two kids chose the same character, it’s interesting to see the different elements they decide to include. Some even took on non-fiction “characters!”
Ancient Greek God Apollo (above photo shows both the cover of the book and the interior)
Percy Jackson (recognize one of our Mythomagic cards in there?)
Taylor Swift (non-fiction biography…nice!)
Kate Wetherall (if you want your own red bucket with all the equipment, look here)
Jimmy Gownley (as depicted in The Dumbest Idea Ever, his graphic novel and memoir!).
Annabeth Chase (a Camp Half Blood map is drawn on the back cover of the book!)