School playground photographs of kids in the shape of a bicycle, worm and cupcake.

Make-A-Book Project

An artist-in-residence program

Nominate your organization or elementary school to co-create and illustrate a children’s chapter book with Scott and friends. Together, we can make a book about any subject that inspires your community; for example, environmental issues, inspiration & motivation, social change, or any of the stories below. I’m not exaggerating when I say the make-a-book project is guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime and inspire thousands. Interested in starting your own project? Contact us for more details. It is never too early to begin watching your ideas come to life.

Mirabella the Monarch's Magical Migration book front cover

What’s new?

Two projects are in process.

  • New. 2017-05-24. The new book is here. And the celebration was a smashing success.
  • 2017-03-17.The book is almost ready to go to the printer. Unfortunately, the school photograph has been canceled twice. I’m looking for some creative solutions now.
  • 2017-1-26. Drawings are almost finished. I spent over a week in school with 26 classes and over 500 students.
  • The Character Creation and Naming Contests are finished.
  • The new Make-A-Book Project at Parker Woods Montessori will be about monarch butterflies and the greatest migration on Earth. Thanks to the Greater Cincinnati Foundation for funding this project.
  • We’re slowly working on Honeynester the Bee at Happen Inc. But it is hard to get enough kids in the room at the same time. I need about 100 good drawings. If you’d like to submit a drawing about honeybees, contact us. Every child that submits a drawing receives a free book.
  • More project updates >>>
Ruby the Red Worms' Dirty Job from the make-a-book project

Kids shared Ruby the Red Worm so often that we heard many stories of families and friends of friends that started kitchen composting.

As featured in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Wisconsin Public Radio.

That was AWESOME! It is an experience that will last the kids a lifetime…. This book project is what the STEM Academy is all about…. it is great having [Scott] as a part of this school. ~ Principal Ryan Krohn, Stem Acadmey

I’m from Waukesha Saratoga Stem Academy. When I was in 2nd grade (I’m now in 8th) Scott Stoll came to our school and made a book of pure amazement. Ruby the Red Worm was awesome. [My drawing wasn’t] in the book, but I didn’t care. I never said thanks for coming to our school. So here it is — Thanks for coming to Randall in 2010. it was so much fun, you’ve given me so many ideas since then… Since meeting your I’ve wanted to learn more about species and how they help the world. I found out my passions, I wanted to be a marine biologist, and a football player. ~ Anonymous, reprinted with permission but name hidden for privacy.

About the book project

Having cycled around the world, I never thought I’d find an incredible adventure at home. But after sharing my story about living dreams with thousands of kids, I realized it was missing something — the step of action. So with the help of inspirational teachers, like Kate Krzysik, we created the Make-A-Book Project; and, I’ve been honoured to work with many schools as the Author-In-Residence and together we create dreams and turn them into educational, inspirational and entertaining books.

One of my proudest achievements was working with the US Dept. of State as the Cultural Ambassador to Argentina to create the Spanish edition of Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life. It was a cultural exchange program that involved over a dozen schools and thousands of people, bringing the real-world of inspiration into the classroom, and creating dreams, memories and real-life experiences to last generations. We gave away over 2000 books, for many children it was the first book they owned. And this project continues to expand to other schools and countries with books about living a life of passion.

Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life. Free online e-book edition.
Read my favorite kid’s book online for free.

Purpose & benefits of this project:

I think of the book project as more like planting the seeds of dreams, not only in the participants, but everyone who might read the books. In fact, I don’t think of myself as an author; I think of myself more like a farmer and my books are my tools. Here are a few highlights of what I feel we are really creating when we make a book.

  • Developing a love to read books: It is increasingly difficult to get kids to read anything; however, kids love to read and share their own book. This project will also teach by example that books are still the best way to truly let your imagination fly, and to feel a flavor of adventure that can’t be felt in any other form.
  • Participating in a real-world project: these books will be on bookshelves everywhere and create memories to last a lifetime!
  • Passion: Teaching kids that the end product (such as passing a test or winning an award or learning some magical formula) is not the solution to life, but that participating in life (including getting your hands dirty and making mistakes) is the solution, in other words: showing students how to find their inner passion, taking a step of action and building wholesome communities.
  • Dreaming dreams and turning them into tangible realities: not only the book itself but the ideas within the book, such as inspiring communities to ride bicycles, plant gardens or compost waste.
  • Creating miracles: Someone somewhere will be inspired by a student’s drawing and that person will think twice about their path through life and rather than do what they feel they have to do, will instead do what they love to do, perhaps becoming a Nobel Laureate or even a cupcake baker and touching the lives of millions more with the passion of a dream.
  • Promoting your values: This is the number one value for sponsors. This project and my story has been featured in hundreds of places, including The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle and more. This means the media is hungry for stories of hope and inspiration, and that we have the experience to promote a story that features your values and goals, such as: environmental issues, or whatever your passion may be.

Project overview:

Below is a very brief summary. For a more complete description of the creative process, you have to read about how the book is made. It explains everything below in much more detail.

  • Slideshow: As a fun introduction, Scott will present his inspirational slideshow about his journey around the world on a bicycle and how it taught him the value of community and that the key to happiness is on the inside.
  • Author-in-residence: Scott will attend 1-2 weeks of classes, as an artist-in-residence, to help guide and inspire the students drawings. Ideally Scott would also be in class for another week to help co-create the story about a subject relevant to your school and community, including: theme, characters, plot and more.
  • Artistic school photograph: We can organize an artistic school photograph similar to the ones above. A 12×18″ framed photo is hanging in the school offices. Read about the making of the school photos.
  • Backyard Adventures and collateral school projects: As the book is being created, it is highly recommended that teachers organize complimentary classroom activities; for example, the STEM Academy started vermicomposting lunchroom scraps to compliment the red worm book.
  • Acknowledgements and honors: Perhaps the most important step is the school book signing celebration where every student signs their drawing in the book for friends and family. This is amazing!
  • Promotion: This is also a project that the local media loves and it would create a great opportunity to promote your school and your philosophy of learning as well as the issues in the book: for example, the book Ruby the Red Worm has inspired many people to begin composting. Examples: WPR and The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and dozens more throughout the Americas.
  • Fundraising: Potential social awareness and fundraiser opportunities for selling books to the community and helping to spread your message.
  • Seeing the dreams come true: One of the most fulfilling aspects of the project is watching the ideas within the book come true; for example, kids telling me years later about how they’re actually living, working or studying their dream. It’s amazing!
  • The sky’s the limit: The only limitation to the possibilities is finding passionate team members committed and capable of hurdling small buildings. Interested in participating?

Bicycle touring in the school gym.

A fun intro to Scott’s trip around the world and the Make-A-Book Project.

US Department of State sealThe making of the Spanish edition of
“Falling Uphill: The Secret of Life”.

Update: My trip to Argentina as the Cultural Ambassador with the U.S. Department of State was a smashing success. It was another adventure of a lifetime! The U.S. Embassy gave away 2000 free copies of our book to the teachers and students of the 13 schools that participated. Most of these kids have never owned a book, much less had an opportunity to talk about their dreams.

More about the trip to Argentina >>>

See even more movies of the book project >>>

Some story ideas that might interest your school:

Here is a handful of my favorite ideas, but remember we can create any book that inspires your school and community. For example, a Germantown school wanted to create awareness, and therefore change, about the overflowing landfill; so, we have been discussing ideas about a book that explores where garbage goes and what happens to it. This book will be called A trashy love story, which I think will turn upside down the idea that garbage is not good for anything.

  • Walter the Water Drop. Like Ruby the Red Worm’s Dirty Job, this story personifies an eco-friendly theme. Through the eyes of Walter we explore the life cycle of water from a rain drop to a glass of water, and how to conserve this valuable resource. If you would like to bring this project to your school, I have a potential sponsor for this project, or a similar conservation idea like recycling, for school districts in Waukesha County.
  • The Pelican’t. A Story about self-esteem and learning to become a pelican.
  • How to be Bullied by the Biggest, the Baddest and the Ugliest. “Are you feeling left out at school? Are you jealous that your friends get bullied more than you? This guide will show you in ten easy steps how to be the most bullied kid in school. Soon, you’ll be earning everyone’s attention.” This book takes the reverse angle on one of the modern challenges of being a kid, and weaves in subtle themes of how to take the wind out of the sails of a real bully.
  • The Weather Book. A fun book based on the Weather Stone seen across the world. “If this book is wet, it is raining.” “If this book is underwater, there has been a flood.” “If this book flew away like a bird, it’s windy.”
  • 100 Lessons We Learned From Animals. After the first book I learned that kids love animals and love to draw animals, thus this fun book with life-lessons like, how to think like an elephant or forgive and forget like a goldfish.
  • If You Could Do Anything, What Would You Do? This is the magical question that started my journey around the world on a bicycle. This book would showcase the imaginative drawings of elementary students along with some practical steps to making dreams a reality.

I guarantee this project will create memories to last a lifetime and inspire thousands. ~ Scott Stoll

How do we start?

The cost of producing a book is high, and school budgets are low; nonetheless, I am so passionate about spreading stories of inspiration and education that I donated my first project to the school, which included funding and working full-time for 3 months. Why? You might ask. I love sowing seeds of ideas and opportunities in my community and watching them grow in marvelous ways. Practically speaking, with a few more books on my shelf, I hope to reach a critical mass and the project will become self-sustainable.

If you are a community leader and interested in championing this project at your school and turning more dreams into reality, please don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about how we can create the best project for your students. A great place to start is to download the Promotional Flier (PDF) and distribute this to your local school, parent-teacher association or non-profit organization, and test whether your group has the passion to make this dream a reality. If so, I can send you a complete project overview, including: costs, funding ideas, timeline and much more. And I can visit your group to give a slideshow about the project and answer any questions.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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