Sticker Books For All Ages Offer Multiple Benefits And Fun
Newtown resident David Plaue led the first of two Lunch & Learn programs last week at Newtown Senior Center that will invite members to take a trip back to their youth.
Mr Plaue is the creator of a series of sticker books that are meant to educate while entertaining their users.
They are available to the public, but he is most excited at the idea of the books being used in group settings, he said recently.
The books were launched early last year. The idea for the book, Mr Plaue told The Newtown Bee a few weeks before the July 13 event at the senior center, sprouted about four years ago, during the 2014 World Cup.
"We were living in Germany," he said, "and my kids were doing a World Cup sticker book." His children were not necessarily huge fans of the international sporting event, he said, but there was something about the books, and reading clues to match stickers and trading the books back and forth, that struck something with their father.
"They loved them," Mr Plaue said.
Since that time, Mr Plaue has developed four different sticker books that offer readers pages with openings for four stickers. Each sticker features a photo of the person that needs to be matched to their biography. The stickers come with the book and will fill all available spaces once the reader is finished matching them.
"One thing I updated was to make sure all books have all stickers," Mr Plaue said. "Many other sticker books have pages with duplicate stickers, or missing stickers, so you have to buy another sheet of stickers or the whole collection."
Color coded backgrounds help readers match stickers to the appropriate biography. Hints about each person are also printed in a box next to where each sticker will find a home. A QR code within each biography can be scanned for additional information about each person.
Three years after his brainstorm, Mr Plaue has been joined by longtime friend, and now business partner, Chris Beirne. The two met while both were attending Syracuse University. Their company, now based in Danbury, is called Icons LLC (dba Sticker Book Publishing).
As of March, four collections had been published: African Americans, Icons, Saints, and Women. Future releases will include US History, People Of STEM, On Kindness, Hispanic/Latino, Music, Comedy, People of the 1940s-60s, and Heroes and Military.
The senior center program last week featured the Icons collection; the August program will be using the Women title, according to Mr Plaue.
While the books can be done independently, Mr Plaue loves the dynamic that appears when people work together.
"I really believe these are best done in group settings and after school activities," he said. The books have been designed and written to tie in to subject matter and reading comprehension of second through seventh grade students.
The books offer recreational therapy, he said.
"They stimulate discussion," he pointed out. "With senior citizens, it would be great for cross-generational stuff. Seniors can talk about their memories, and students can then keep the book after hearing personal stories about the people in them."
The collections are stimulating for the mind and body, and they provide Alzheimer's patients and those with dementia with an intellectually stimulating activity.
He is hoping, he said, to get copies of the books into hospitals and other extended care facilities.
"It would be a non-electronics offering," said Mr Plaue, who is also looking to become involved with local houses of worship, lower Fairfield County YMCAs, and regional after school programs.
Finding Historic Icons
At Newtown Senior Center last week, about 16 people showed up for the program. Some worked in groups or pairs or on their own. Some used the QR codes embedded with each biography and their smartphones to extract additional clues, while others relied only on what they were reading to match stickers to their biographies.
The group last week works with the Icons book. That initial collection features some of history's biggest political figures, military leaders and warriors, philosophical and spiritual leaders, inventors and scientists, business leaders and entrepreneurs, authors and playwrights, explorers, entertainers, and other categories.
Senior Center Director Marilyn Place was thrilled with the program.
"It's like adult trivia for them," she said, looking around the room. "It's a very positive program. They're all talking, they're working together, and they're having fun."
She was also pleased at the idea that the books were going to go home after Friday's program.
"After today," she told the group, "you can take the book home and finish the stickers and reread the book. You can share it with your children and grandchildren and friends."
At one table, Kay Egan got a good laugh.
"'The Queen of All Media?'" she read, chuckling. "Oh, that's gotta be Oprah. Definitely Oprah.
"And I did that without my smartphone!" she announced.
Nearby, Pat Schubert and Bob Sharpe were going page by page through Icons, carefully matching stickers to their biographies as they went.
The two admitted they were happy to learn that the stickers could be pulled off a page without ruining the book or the sticker and reapplied elsewhere, in case it was initially put down over an incorrect space.
Learning about the colors matching between the background of the stickers and the pages in the book also made "a big difference," Ms Schubert said. They, too, were working without the benefit of a Smart phone and QR codes.
At still another table, a group of women flipped through pages of stickers, looking back and forth between those sheets and the pages in the books in front of them.
While calling the project challenging, Terry Curry was also smiling a lot.
"This is terrific," she said, matching another sticker to the appropriate biography. "Wonderful, really fun."
Additional information about Icons and its publications is available at stickerbookpublishing.com. The books can be purchased through that website.
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