What is the largest book ever published? Honors for creating that book belong to a group of schoolchildren from Texas, who, with some help from adults, created the largest published book ever. Finding even an elephant folio too bulky to be of much practical use, I don't think anyone is going to be reading a book many times that size. Nevertheless, you have to give these kids a lot of credit for their accomplishment. The book is a staggering 7 feet 2 inches tall by 11 feet 1 inch wide (when opened). It contains 400 pages and weighs 496 pounds. It took six people just to move it. This is carrying the concept of coffee table book a bit too far.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it was a challenge just to find a large enough printer or paper sufficiently wide. A table large enough to accommodate it had to be built, and much of the normal work done by machine had to be done by hand. Paint rollers were used to glue the end sheets. The entire process took eight months.
The obvious question here is... why? The answer is to promote a good cause. The project was the work of a partnership between iWRITE, the Bryan Museum, and Ordinary People Change the World. Sponsors from the corporate world also helped to make this project happen. iWRITE, located in Houston, was founded by Melissa Williams Murphy in 2009. She has published 12 children's books. We are all familiar with groups who promote reading but she took it a step further. She believes children's self-confidence can be increased by encouraging them to write. iWRITE has been doing just that by publishing their works. The writers are children, many from less-than affluent backgrounds. The Bryan Museum is located in Galveston and their mission is to promote Texas history. Ordinary People Change The World is both a book series and an organization designed to help children build character in a world that seems to idolize celebrity more than good values.
As large as the book is, one thing that could not fit on the cover was the authors' names. I don't know if this too is a record, but there were 1,000 young writers who contributed to it. Eighty school districts participated. The title of the book, fittingly for the biggest of something, is I Am Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. The kids contributed stories, poetry and artwork. To qualify for the title of largest published book, Guinness required that the publisher pay for the book and that it be sold. I Am Texas qualifies as copies were printed and offered for sale. However, that edition was scaled back to more normal dimensions. The largest book ever was created in Dubai and measured 16.40 feet by 26.44 feet and weighed a little over 3,300 pounds, but it was not published.
Once completed, the book went out on tour. The I Am Texas Big Book Tour has or will hit numerous places in Texas, including the State Capitol in Austin, sponsor Phillip 66 Headquarters and The Galleria in Houston, Schreiner University in Kerrville, the Stark Museum in Beaumont, the Dallas Historical Society, and the ultimate Texas icon, the Alamo in San Antonio. When the tour is over, it will take up residence at the Bryan Museum. Meanwhile, a new group of kids are working on their compositions for the 2024 iWRITE Writing and Art Contest. The theme this time is Fantasy, and the deadline for submissions is April 30, 2024. It is open to kids in grades 3-12 from anywhere, not just Texas. However, don't expect their next book to be quite so large.