YA Classics – School Daze: 1984

One of the most read novels in high school is George Orwell’s 1984. Some schools use it for the lower grades while others reserve it for those students about to graduate. Either way, it is definitely a school YA classic. While it is not the original dystopian novel, it certainly set the stage for their popularity throughout the 20th century. Many of the modern dystopian works actually take some of the traditional ideas from 1984 into account as well—like Hunger Games and Matched.

The fact that dystopian worlds are so popular in current YA novels makes 1984 a school assignment that many teens actually want to read. I know I did at least as did many of my classmates. Some present teachers could probably even use the modern fascination with the theme to heighten the fun of the older novel. The book can also related to current events where words like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Orwellian’ have become popular in the vernacular. Overall, the novel is a great introduction to many of the modern classics and popular YA lit that has fascinated the imaginations of millions of young adults and adults who love the literature!


Bring It to Life (BITL)!

Make a pamphlet stitch folio diary.

Winston’s diary in the first part of the book is a major symbol and represents his first steps toward rebellion against his established government and society. Celebrate this symbol by making one of your own and practice simple bookbinding skills!

What you’ll need:

  • Paper for pages (simple printer paper does fine)
  • A cover for the book (cardstock is best as it can come in a variety of designs and colors)
  • Strong needle
  • Lightweight thread like a strand of embroidery thread or real bookbinding thread (needs to be around three times the length of the spine you intend to make)
  • Scissors
  • Piercing tool (something sharp to poke a small hole through several pages)
  • Flat straight-edge (preferably a ruler)
  • Paperclips (to hold pages in place while sewing)
  • Pencil

What to do:

  1. Assemble the pages

Fold the pages of printer paper in half from top to bottom. NOT lengthwise. Make sure the crease is very defined and strong. You can use the ruler or your fingernail to form this crease. Nest the folded sheets inside each other to form a folio. You can make the book as long as you want but it’s best to keep it small for your first bookbinding attempt. Therefore, nest six folded pieces of paper into each other to make twelve pages in total. Then, fold the cardstock cover to make it match the folio. Put the folio into the folded cover, making sure the cover is evenly aligned.

2.  Binding

Open the book at the center. Put a paperclip at the middle top and middle bottom on the left side then do the same on the right side to hold the pages and cover in place. Along the crease-line place three pencil dots—one in the very center of the crease then one slightly above this center dot and one below. Using the piercing tool, punch holes completely through these dots (all the way to the outside of the cover).


Thread the needle with a knot toward the end, leaving two inches of free thread at the bottom. Push the needle through the center hole (B), beginning on the inside of the book and going toward the outside. Pull the thread tight so that the knot presses against the hole. Bring the needle back inside the book through the top hole (A) then go back out again through B. Pull tight once more. Go back inside the book through the bottom hole (C). Pull tight. Then, go outside again through B. Go back in again through A then out through the bottom hole C in order to come back in through B. Once inside B, pull tight to make sure the stitches are firm. Remove the needle. Tie what is left of the thread to the free thread available below the original knot. Cut off any access thread.




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