Sometimes, a book is just a book, but when it comes to these four Star Wars titles, they’re so much more. Disney-Lucasfilm Press has published a variety of Star Wars books recently that not only provide knowledge of the galaxy far, far away and enhance the imagination, but they can also be used for do-it-yourself craft and writing projects.
Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe
Description: Learn about all of the various planets of the Star Wars universe with Galactic Maps! With detailed maps showing the different worlds and characters, this is the perfect book for any avid Star Wars reader. Fans will be delighted to find a spread introducing them to the planet and characters featured in Rogue One!
Thoughts: I’ll warn you now that this book will suck away any free time you have because you’ll spend hours going through it! On top of the beautiful illustrations, Galactic Maps also includes brief character profiles and a timeline of events as well as other important tidbits that come in handy. That said, it’s not comprehensive, so it won’t have every single detail, but it’ll give you just enough that it acts as a refresher. It’s also great to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels in the mix. (Lothal, Mortis, and Mandalore are some of my favorite pages!) It is disappointing, however, that there aren’t many Rogue One locations. For example, Scarif is missing and that was an important location for the film and one that was used extensively throughout the marketing. Regardless, this is a beautiful book to own and display. I sincerely hope they publish a second edition with updated content from the animated shows, the written material (such as the novels and comic books), and the stories that unfold on the big screen.
Fun DIY Things To Do: Buying a second copy always comes in handy, especially for those who love to create DIY projects. Just like how you can take an old atlas or a stack of maps and transform the pages into statement pieces, you can do the same thing with Galactic Maps! Here are some ideas for repurposing the pages of a second copy:
- Decoupage the maps onto a piece of furniture, such as the inside/exterior of a drawer, nightstand, wooden table with a glass top, or lampshade. The possibilities are endless!
- Transform a plain journal into one that looks like it’s owned by a traveler from a galaxy far, far away….
- Take sections from your favorite pages and hang them up to make your own map gallery with a 9-piece square frame set.
- Create a galactic map matte board and bring life to your framed photos. All you have to do is cover your matte board with a map.
- Create miniature galactic map magnets by picking out a set magnetic frames that match your décor and cut out sections from your favorite pages to decorate your fridge.
Art of Coloring Star Wars: Rogue One
Description: A coloring book for young adults and adults that includes scenes and characters from Rogue One.
Thoughts: If you think coloring books aren’t for you, think again. Adult coloring books are totally on trend right now, but besides their popularity, they’re also great for the mind. There’s something about disconnecting from the world around you and applying a colored pencil to paper that really soothes the mind, soul, and body. While coloring in the Rogue One book, I noticed that I often lost myself in the process and found the activity to be healing, creative, and rewarding. It helps that the art itself is amazing and captures so much detail. That said, I wish two things were done differently with this book: I wish the pages were thicker and that each page was blank on the back. Unfortunately, you can’t use markers on these pages because they’ll bleed through, so colored pencils are your best option. On the plus side, the pages are perforated, which makes it easier to detach and frame up your best work!
Fun DIY Things To Do: When it comes to most coloring books, especially with such detailed illustrations, buying two copies is a must! That’s due to the fact that, most of the time, coloring books will have an illustration on the front and back of the pages. This makes it difficult to frame and display your favorite pieces of work, especially if they’re two halves of the same page. Here are some ideas for transforming you coloring pages into true pieces of art:
- Take your favorite pages and hang them up with a 9-piece square frame set.
- Have your coloring pages come to life by adding a bit of light with flameless candles!
- Create a scarf with your coloring page! By using DesingYourSilk, you can color in your page, take a picture of it with your phone, and send it to DesignYourSilk, where they’ll print your art onto silk and send it back to you.
Star Wars: Rogue One – Rebel Dossier
Description: An in-world guide of info, intel, schematics & top secret transmissions from Rogue One.
Thoughts: The Rebel Dossier does a great job at providing background and context from an in-universe perspective and giving the younger audience an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the characters seen in Rogue One. Personally, it made me feel like I stumbled upon a secret archive of information and had all-access to the thoughts, concerns, and the difficult decisions made by military leaders, such as Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, regarding the state of the Rebellion and the Empire as well as the galaxy. My favorite transmission was when Mon Mothma, in response to General Draven’s message, mentioned Cassian Andor and Hera Syndulla in the same sentence. It helps reinforce the fact that everything is connected, especially to younger children who watch Star Wars Rebels on a weekly basis. Speaking of which, while the book can technically be read by anyone, it’s primarily aimed at children between ages 8-12 (grades 3-7). Rogue One, however, is rated PG-13 due to extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action. (In other words, some movie scenes may be unsuitable or inappropriate for children younger than 13.) If you do intend to get this book for a child younger than that, keep in mind that it’s not a retelling of the movie and that it merely provides background for the first half of the film. That said, given the nature of the book and the fact that it’s aimed at young independent readers, I really would have liked to have seen more interactive features, such as flaps, fold-outs, and pull tabs. (Similar to what we’ve seen before in Studio Fun’s Star Wars Rebels: Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook and Star Wars Rebels: Rebel Journal by Ezra Bridger.) Overall, I found it to be a great tie-in to the movie and a valuable educational tool, since it’s a fun way to explain the difference between primary and secondary sources for historical research.
Fun DIY Things To Do: I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What DIY project could you possibly do with a book of this nature?” Easy. Become your favorite character and write your own transmissions. Better yet, take inspiration from this book and create your own dossier with your own original characters. As someone who loves to create her own Star Wars characters, relationships, and worlds in her own mind, I can assure you that this is a fun project! You’d be immersing yourself further into the story while creating your own details. Grab a journal, decorate it as you see fit, and start writing!
Star Wars: Original Trilogy Graphic Novel
Description: Everyone’s favorite tale of good versus evil takes on a whole new look in this graphic novel! Join Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and the rest of the heroes and villains from a galaxy far, far away in this graphic novel collection that retells the original three Star Wars films: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. You’ll experience the saga in a way you never have before!
Thoughts: In general, graphic novels are a popular and great way of retelling a story. As someone who had difficulty with comprehension skills growing up, graphic novels and comic books were essential. The illustrations often helped me understand what was being said between the characters and helped me visualize the story in ways that I couldn’t do myself. Although this graphic novel won’t really benefit adults, I think it’ll be a great resource and learning tool for younger children, especially those suffering from the same issues I once had. Also, let’s face it, there’s a generation of children out there who think that the original trilogy are just plain old (my younger cousins are proof of that), so in order to modernize the story and have them connect with it, this graphic novel is the way to do it. Personally, I really adore the cartoon-like approach because that helped in making it more kid-friendly. I also imagine this book would be perfect for parents and children, especially during story time prior to going to sleep. Although some lines and scenes were removed, that allows the parents (and one’s own mind) to fill in the gaps, so I didn’t see it as a problem. Finally, I love it when books inspire me to write and draw, and this graphic novel definitely did that. I can’t wait to get the version featuring the prequel films, since it’d be great to have a graphic novel retelling that story and having it complement this one.
Supplemental Reading: Dan Brooks interviewed the various creators behind the graphic novel over at StarWars.com.
Fun DIY Things To Do: Want to do something fun with your graphic novel in addition to reading it and reliving the story? Try some of these ideas.
- Cut out your favorite panels and make a collage for your wall!
- Along that same note, you can also cut our your favorite panel and frame it.
- Take some card stock and create a bookmark using your favorite panel and carry it wherever you go.
- Have a button maker? Make buttons out of your favorite lines and/or characters and pin them onto your clothes and accessories.
Many thanks to Disney-Lucasfilm Press, an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide, for providing review copies. That said, these reviews are honest assessments of the products.
What are your thoughts on these books and DIY projects? Share them in the comments section below.
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