Aphrodite the Diva Book Trailer

I love creativity! To me, creativity is the inside shining out. When students are creative, we see a different side to them that may not come out during everyday classroom assignments. Recently one girl and her actor  demonstrated their creativity in their quarterly class book report.

Students can chose how they want to report out on the book they read. In this case this student decided to make a live action book trailer with a few of her friends. When I saw it, I immediately asked all parents if I could publish the book trailer. It’s creative and fun. It’s a fabulous advertisement for Aphrodite and the Diva by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. The book trailer will convince some students to read this book.

After I published the trailer, I tweeted out the link and look who responded!

This just goes to show that students can have their voice heard with really positive results.

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Advertising Books Thru Media

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Since 2012, my 4th grade students have created book trailers for favorite novels.  In the past four years these student trailers have had thousands of views. Video is an amazing way to promote reading and advertise fabulous books to other students.

We’ve also had the ability to connect with students around the world. For the past two years, we’ve partnered with Angels Soriano in Valencia, Spain. This year her students made hand-drawn book trailers of local fairy tales in their native Catalan language. You can view them here.

Here are the latest book trailers we have published. The students made them on Photostory3, which is a Windows 7 program for the PC. I hope they inspire you to go to your local library this summer and check out these books for some fun summer reading!

Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne

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City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

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People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

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Wonder by RJ Palacio

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Nest by Esther Ehrlich

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A Dog’s Way Home  by Bobbie Pyron

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If you would like to read more about the trailers we have completed in the past with Angels Soriano, this Sway showcases our program in the 2014-15 school year. You can also find our complete list of book trailers at the top of this website on the Book Trailers tab.

 

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A Night Divided

 

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Gerta went to bed Saturday night, but woke up the next morning with a grim sight outside her window. A barbed wire wall divided her city in half. The realization stunned her as she remembered her father and brother were on the other side of the wall. How would they come home to Gerta, her mom and brother? Why would anyone want to build a wall in the middle of her beloved city? What was going to happen to her family?

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The Berlin Wall is the topic of Jennifer Nielsen’s new middle grade historical fiction book, A Night Divided. The story is set in 1961 when the city of Berlin was separated in half by a wall that would last for the next 28 years. This concrete wall is considered by many to be the symbol of the Cold stemming the mass defection of citizens from communist East Germany to the west.

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The book is well researched and brought back memories of one of the most frightening days of my life.  I was 18 years old and an American Field Service exchange student visiting Berlin with other members in my group. West Berlin was a vibrant city with museums, shopping and discos. Bright neon lights lit the downtown at night. We didn’t have a bored moment as we tried to experience all that West Berlin offered. This video shows what life was like in West Berlin at that time.

The organizers of our trip also wanted us to experience the other side of Berlin behind the huge wall that divided the city. Being the naïve and self-absorbed teenagers we were, few of us realized the history lesson we were about to learn.

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We crossed at Checkpoint Charlie, the main crossing area for westerners. It was a particularly intimidating experience as we had to give up our passports, sit in a room and then wait for our number to be called. These were the days before modern airport security checks, so being so screened with such severity was frightening to us. The freedom I took for granted as an American suddenly had new meaning.

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Entering East Berlin was like stepping back 30 years into postwar Germany. I’ll never forget the images of gray that permeated the city. Gray concrete buildings. Gray streets. Gray cars. Drab clothing on people who seemed to carry defeat on their shoulders. It was common to see World War II bombed buildings still empty and never re-built. It was like going from technicolor to black and white.

Courtesy Britannica Images

Courtesy Britannica Images

All of us had the opportunity to have lunch with an East German family. Mine shared how their family had been divided by the wall and they had no idea when they would see their loved ones again. After being nearly hit by a car who tried to hit me and a friend as we walked on the sidewalk, I wanted out…..now! It took some convincing, but we postponed our return a couple hours and went to an East German play. I appreciated seeing communism hadn’t completely squelched the arts. Still, like the rest of the group, I couldn’t leave fast enough. We made it back before the midnight deadline and embraced the freedom afforded to us because we were American.

A Night Divided brought back all of these memories. After hearing Jennifer Nielsen talk her process in bringing this part of history to life, I felt compelled to make a trailer for her book. The images and words were bubbling inside me needing to be released. In the weeks since, my students and I have had many lively conversations about the wall and this part of history few westerners talk about anymore. Usually historical fiction is not the genre students clamor to read. Yet the 20 hold slips of students who want to check out this book from our library tell me that Jennifer got it right. Find A Night Divided at your local library or favorite bookstore. Recommended for ages 9+ Visit Jennifer Nielsen’s website and find out more about this and other books she has written.

 

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A Skype Visit with Dan Gemeinhart

coverWe are huge fans of the Wenatchee, Washington based author and school librarian Dan Gemeinhart and his first novel The Honest Truth. In late February Josa and his Mom gave me a copy of The Honest Truth with the message,“You have to read it Julie. Josa and I loved it. We think you will too.” So, I took it home and put it to the top of my book pile.

That was the beginning of our love fest with this book. I wrote a review and published it in early March. I couldn’t put the story out of my mind and it didn’t take long until I made a book trailer to show my students. It never gets old when an author tells you they like a book trailer you have made for them. He even embedded it on his website . Now our four copies are always checked out with a long list of fans waiting not-so-patiently for their turn. It’s become the norm to hear the students talking about the book and discussing their favorite parts. So say we are avid fans is probably an understatement.

When I asked Dan if he could Skype with us,  he willingly agreed. The students wrote down their questions on the white board so they could reference them during our Skype session. We had about a dozen students give up their recess to talk with Dan virtually.

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We learned that The Honest Truth is not a true story, but he did know someone who had cancer and that influenced his story.  He dreamed of being an author from second grade, but it’s only been in the last eight or nine years that he got serious about writing. He wrote four books before this one, but was rejected 99 times! The Honest Truth was his 100th submission to a publisher and it was accepted immediately. Thank you Scholastic Publishing! Apparently 100 is his lucky number. He emphasized that you have to keep trying to achieve your goals, and not stop because you fail once or twice. Use what you learned and move forward. Don’t give up and believe in yourself.

He and the students talked about their favorite characters. He did share that Beau and Wesley are his favorites in. He spoke about the importance of naming characters in a story and how the name Beau (the dog) came to him immediately. It’s not always like that, and right now he’s wondering if he has found the right name for the horse in his next book.

His new book Some Kind of Courage is coming out next winter, but it is not a sequel to The Honest Truth. The book is set in Washington again, but in the late 1890’s. It sounds like it’s a mixture of western realism, historical fiction and adventure.

Twenty minutes flew by in record time. After we finished the call, the students were so excited about their visit. They couldn’t believe they had just had the chance to talk virtually with a REAL author! Many told me they prefer Skype author visits over large in-person author visits because they are  so much more personal. The conversation evolves naturally and is controlled primarily by the students. I love how technology can bring the world into our library! Thank you Dan!

 

 

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A Must Read – The Honest Truth

 

coverOh wow! You know when you read a book and you get goosebumps because it’s so great? When you stay up WAY later than you should because you can’t put it down? The Honest Truth is that kind of book! It has star power. This book has that elusive it quality. From page one, I knew deep inside that this book was something truly special. 

I felt this way when I read The One and Only Ivan. I felt it again when I read Wonder and again when I read The Fault in Our Stars (YA novel). This book was a gift that came to me one ordinary afternoon. Judy brought it to me and said, “You have to read it Julie. Josa and I loved it. We think you will too.” So, I took it home and put it to the top of my book pile.

As soon as I had a chance I picked it up and started in. It was love on page one. Mark, the main character, lives in Wenatchee, Washington. He is 12 and has been fighting cancer for a large part of his life. When he finds out that his cancer is back which will most likely mean he will die, he makes the decision to take life into his own hands. He packs a backpack, gets his dog Beau, and runs away to Seattle. This begins a life or death journey for Mark to climb Mt. Rainier with his dog….alone. It’s a quest filled with danger and problems at every turn. I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely had to know what was going to happen to Mark and his dog Beau.

This book spoke to me and pulled me back into the book trailer creative mode. My husband and I even took a drive to Mt. Rainier to take some photos and footage of the mountain. Here is the trailer, made with iMovie.

 

Earlier today, I shared the trailer link with Dan, crossing my fingers that he would like it. I was pretty thrilled when I read that he does! Whew!

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If you love realistic middle grade novels with a heavy dose of action and adventure, then this is a good match for you. Pick it up at your local school/public library or at your favorite bookstore. Dan Gemeinhart, the author, is a teacher-librarian who lives in Wenatchee, Washington. This is his first novel. I sure hope it’s not his last!

 

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The One and Only Ivan Review

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You HAVE to read this book!

I tell my 3-5th grade students every year. You HAVE to read this book! It is the BEST book in our library, it won the Newbery Award and kids who have never liked reading chapter books before, LOVE this book.  I show them the book trailer I made, and then I watch all four copies fly off the shelf and the reserve slips stack up.

I did it again this year, and Thyna took the book home and then brought me this review!

The book that I read is called The One and Only Ivan. My favorite part was when Ivan was in a long time, but he got to go to a zoo. This book is about a mighty silverback, which is a type of gorilla. His name is Ivan. He was raised by a guy named Mack, until Mack decided for Ivan to go in a cage at a mall where Mack worked.

Ivan had friends like Stella the elephant and Bob the stray dog that came in the crack in the window. Ivan has been at the Big Top Mall for a very long time, but he is sad even if he does have friends. There is a guy name George and he works at the mall also. George has a daughter named Julia and she gives Ivan some paper and crayons so he can make art. Eventually Mack finds the paintings and sells them at the gift shop.

Then there is a new elephant named Ruby and she does shows at the mall. One time Stella asked Ivan to keep a promise. The promise was to get Ruby safe at a zoo. Lastly, Ivan got Ruby to a zoo. Ruby and Ivan were happy and Bob the dog lived with Julia happily.

Thank you Thyna for your awesome review! It sounds like you are a fan too! The other great news is that a picture book version will be published on October 7th. It’s called Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla It will be available for check out as soon as we get a copy!

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Katherine Applegate came to our school a couple years ago for a visit. You can read more here. This is the book trailer I show to my classes to advertise her unbelievably amazing book.

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A Gift from Australia

Do you like surprises? I do! Especially AirMail packages!

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Look what came in the mail this week from our school librarian friend in Australia! She sent us a package with the brand new book  The 52 Storey Treehouse by the Australian children’s author Andy Griffiths. Here’s the note she sent inside the package.

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This is our third Treehouse book Miss Yeomans has sent us. As you can read in the card, this time she had to wait in line for a two hours to get it signed for us.

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On her LRC blog, Miss Y published a post about her visit to meet Andy Griffiths. I hope you will click over to her website and get all the details. She shared a photo she took of Andy Griffiths signing our books. This is used with Miss Y’s permission.

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Andy signed books from 4:30 until 9:00 when the store closed, but he couldn’t stop. He kept signing books until 11:30 at night! That’s 7 HOURS of signing his name! Can you imagine doing that for SEVEN hours?

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 The treehouse series is not the only series he has written, and if you come into the library, I will show you others you can find by Andy Griffiths. He writes very funny books. Look what happened earlier this month!

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Are you wondering yet what a treehouse story might be about? Wait for it…… a TREEHOUSE! But not your regular kind of boring treehouse. If you do an internet search with your family, you will find kids love this book so much, they have even created Minecraft treehouses, based on the book.  Here is a book trailer about the 26 Storey Treehouse, narrated by Andy Griffiths himself. It will give you a clue and then you can come to the library and read all three books! If you make your own Minecraft or Lego treehouse, take a photo so we can see it here on the blog!

 

 

 

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Duke Book Trailer Debut

How much do you love your dog?

Are you brave enough to give him away?

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I originally wrote this post in November 2013 after Kirby Larson’s book launch for Duke. Recently I had the chance to create a book trailer for her book, so I decided to update and repost the article. I took the majority of the photographs myself in Seattle. Using the PhotoStudio iPhone app, I artificially aged the photos to make them look old. I also used Creative Common photos, where people give permission for you to use the photo. I did obtain permission from the artist of one photograph and received another from Kirby herself. I wonder if you will know which picture is of Kirby’s dad?  Usually I make book trailers using Photostory3, Windows MovieMaker or Animoto, however, this time I decided to try out the iMovie app on my iPhone. There is a book trailer template available, and within an hour or so, I had the rough draft of my book trailer made. Really, anyone with a little patience, some photos and love for a book can make a book trailer! Here is the original post, with the book trailer at the end.

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The poster in his classroom seems to be screaming at him. Are YOU doing all you can?  Hobie struggles inside. Is he really doing everything he can to help his dad? He’s saving all his dimes to buy war stamps. He’s helping his Uncle Tryg and trying to be the man of the house for his mom.

Is it enough? Hobie hears about the Dogs for Defense program where people with well trained dogs can donate them to help the war movement. Hobie has spent hours training Duke and the military could use him to sniff out mines or help patrol borders. It is important work and Duke would be a great defense dog.

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http://www.nww2m.com

From the moment Hobie says yes, and watches Duke leave, he regrets his decision. What if Duke doesn’t come home? What if his Dad doesn’t come home? Does Hobie have what is takes to be this brave? You will have to read Duke and find out!

Kirby had a book launch party at Third Place Books in the fall of 2013. She talked about her love of history, the research about Dogs for Defense and the backstory she used from her own family that developed into the book. You can also watch an interview with Kirby talking about her book.

Duke launch collage

Kirby is a serious dog lover and a portion of the proceeds went to Reading with Rover, a local reading organization where children read to dogs and practice their reading in a fun and non-stressful way. Along with some other Reading with Rover teams, Reese and I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Duke at Third Place Books.

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If you would like to learn more, visit Kirby Larson’s website and find out about other books she has written. Update: April 2014 – Reese has now retired from  Reading with Rover. At almost 7, he is  considered an old dog in the Bernese Mountain Dog breed.  He really likes his naps and occasional walk around the block. The Duke launch was his last official outing and I’m thrilled it was to promote a book featuring a fabulous dog!

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Real Boy Book Trailer Debut

Have you read The Real Boy yet?

Imagine a story that combines fantasy + fairy tales +cats +adventure + wizards + magic + friendship into one magical  middle grade fantasy novel by Anne Ursu. Like a favorite wool cloak, Real Boy will wrap you inside a wondrous tale of magic and friendship. It is a joyful, amazing story that will surprise you over and over by the author of Breadcrumbs.

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Since early October blogs around the kidlitosphere have been celebrating THE REAL BOY with reviews, giveaways, interviews, and posts from author Anne Ursu, illustrator Erin McGuire and editor Jordan Brown. In this last stop of the blog tour, we debut our book trailer THE REAL BOY.


 
This post is a part of The Real Boy blog tour hosted by Walden Press Books. If you would like to read previous blog posts, check out the itinerary below.
THE REAL BOY BLOG TOUR:

Monday, 9/30 – Maria’s Melange – Maria’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Tuesday, 10/1 – There’s a Book – Danielle’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Wednesday, 10/2 – sharpread – Colby Interviews Anne
Thursday, 10/3 – Novel Sounds – Elena’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Friday, 10/4 – Word Spelunking – Aeicha Interviews Anne
Saturday, 10/5 – The Hiding Spot – Sara’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Sunday, 10/6 – The Brain Lair – Kathy’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Monday, 10/7 – Read, Write, Reflect – Anne Talks Oscar with Katherine
Tuesday, 10/8 – Librarian’s Quest – Margie’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Wednesday, 10/9 – Buried in Books – Heather’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Thursday, 10/10 – The Book Monsters – Kristen’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Friday, 10/11 – Cari’s Book Blog – Cari’s Take on The Real Boy + An Interview with Anne
Saturday, 10/12 – Unleashing Readers – Kellee Interviews Illustrator Erin McGuire
Sunday, 10/13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Gina’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Monday, 10/14 – Heise Reads and Recommends – Editor Jordan Brown Interviews Anne
Tuesday, 10/15 – Bulldog Readers Blog – The Bulldog Readers Debut Their Book Trailer
 
And here are all the blogs featuring exclusive artwork from THE REAL BOY.
 
EXCLUSIVE ARTWORK REVEALS
 
You can find THE REAL BOY at your local school,  public library, or your favorite book store today!

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Judging a Book by Its Cover

Did you know that book covers vary by country for the exact same book?

Copyright All rights reserved by demonkeeper

Copyright All rights reserved by demonkeeper

Last fall at a presentation at WLMA, Royce Buckingham, author of Dead Boys, a 2014 Sasquatch nominee showed photos of the different covers to his books. They varied by country, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot. I thought that was fascinating. Why would a publisher change the cover? Is there that much difference in reading audience expectations in regards to book covers? Apparently, the answer is yes. Look at the differences in the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows covers.

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 These book cover differences amuse me. Why are they so different?  Who makes these decisions? I just did a post about The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise and as I looked for book cover images, I discovered that there are quite a variety. Geoff Rodkey talks about this topic on his website too. So I thought we could have a poll and you could vote for your favorite book cover. Here are the options first to help you decide which cover you like the best.

Option A: USA

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Option B: United Kingdom

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Option C: Spain

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Option D: France

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Option E: Germany

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Option F: Italy, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand

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So what do you think? Enter your opinion here on our poll!


You might also we interested in viewing the book trailer for the book. There’s even a TV ad in Turkish available to view. Check out Geoff Rodkey’s website.

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