Friendship book quite the journey

Grace Andrews hopes people will have fun using her friendship book, and learn more about their loved ones too.

A Cambridge teenager is already setting foot on her career path after releasing a creative book for children.

Grace Andrews’ Friendship Book is an interactive text book of sorts for children to share with their friends and family, designed to make them learn more about their loved ones – from what makes them laugh to their favourite colour, place, food and so on.

The scrap-style book has been a favourite of Grace’s since a young age, when she made her own friendship book using a pen and notebook. “I still have that,” the 15-year-old explained. “I got my grandparents, parents and friends to fill it out, and it’s so interesting to look back at it and see what my friends and I liked back then, and remembering all of those things.”

Last year Grace decided to materialize the childhood hobby into a hardcopy book, and already she’s selling copies at Paper Plus Cambridge and other stores in Hamilton.

“I had one as a kid, my mum had one as a kid, and people that saw them thought they were cool but never really made one, I guess because they weren’t sure how or what to do, and so I thought okay, I can give it a try. If it doesn’t work out that’s okay, but if it does then that’s even better.”

Pages in the book were designed and hand drawn by Grace, which were then reformatted and printed by Fusion Print in Hamilton.

“No one in my family has ever published a book, no one knows what they’re doing when it comes to that, so I kind of went in there and was like, ‘Hey, this is what I want to happen’, and they helped me,” said Grace. “I’m so happy with how it turned out.”

After leaving school the year before, Grace explained that she “wanted to do something different”, and went on quite the journey as she described it, in making the book. “It’s changed a lot, it’s taken a while, but it’s just what I wanted,” she said.

Grace incorporated other fun childhood stuff as well, like how to make a friendship bracelet, and pull-out origami pages. But her favourite aspect of the book is how it encourages people to learn more about their friends and family.

“You find out lots of things about people that you wouldn’t usually ask, so it’s really helpful when it comes to getting people gifts and things,” she said. “I hope it’s something that people can keep and use to remember people by, especially when someone dies.

“It’s like a keepsake in a more fun way, I guess, for kids.”

Grace has other projects on the go too, like making jewellery under the name “Hazel and Grace”, sold in Cambridge at Comins and Levin, and volunteering for New Lives Animal Rescue.

Having decided against her original childhood idea of becoming a dentist, turned off after three years of braces, Grace said she’s not sure exactly what she wants to do in the future, but has a good idea of the direction she’s headed. “I’ve been asked a lot what I want to do, and I don’t know,” she said. “But I know I want to do something creative, and I know I want to do something that I enjoy.”

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