Kid Lit Movies

Have you ever been to the movies and watched the previews for upcoming attractions? If you are like me, you have seen lots and lots of them!

Those previews for movies got me thinking.  What if we took that same idea and applied it to books? We could have previews for awesome books in the library! And…..what if instead of me making them like the one I made for The One and Only Ivan, the STUDENTS made them? How awesome would that be? That’s how our book trailer project got started!

After watching the ‘Ivan” trailer, some 4th grade students asked if they could make one too. A new technology and literacy project was born!

To start,  we watched some other book trailers in our 4th grade library classes to get ideas. Then we watched some book trailers that I made. The One and Only Ivan trailer is the one that Katherine Applegate saw and asked to come to our school and meet us! You can see them here on my book trailer page on our blog.

Then next step was to form cooperative groups. Each group could choose it’s own members and then they had to pick a book for their project.

Once a book was selected, it was time for the storyboard plan. Here students were required to figure out what parts of the plot was important to include, how that could be transformed into a visual, and what text needed to be included to get previewers interested in the book.


The purpose of a book trailer is very different than the purpose of a book report. In the typical book report, you write about what happened in the book. In a book trailer, you are selling the book, to make other people want to check it out and read it! The tricky part is to share some goodies, without giving away too much of the book!

Once the storyboards were complete, groups moved to the computer were they used MS One Note to record their storyboard notes and begin importing creative commons photos for their trailers.

One huge advantage of using OneNote its the linked note component, that allows you to import photos and keep the link to the original source. This is especially helpful when it’s time to write the credits slide. Flickr also allows you to save photos with the original link in galleries, but Flickr is not available for student use at our school.

Photo by Steren Giannini Used w/CC permission

Finding Creative Commons photos was hard work! You have to think of the words to search for, and if those words don’t bring up the images you are looking for, you have to try again with other term or synonym. The students discovered that a lot of Creative Commons images are available via Community Clips on the Microsoft online site. That made it a lot easier for some groups. Once all the photos were found, it was time to load them into MS Live MovieMaker!

After a 10 minute “how-to” demo, students were on their own as they imported photos, added words, transitions and animations to create visual interest in their books.

The next to last step was finding the perfect music for the trailer. Some students experimented with creating music using Songsmith. Ultimately all teams decided to use royalty free music. I had already created a Digital Kit of royalty free music from Kevin MacLeod at  He shares his music for free for others to use as long as you give him credit. The resource is AMAZING! The students had fun listening to different songs and figuring out which music would give the correct mood to the trailer.

Once the Credits slide was completed, the book trailers were complete and ready to be rendered into a movie! Each was uploaded to our SchoolTube account and our blog where others can view them. I also created QR codes linking the book trailer to the book and placed them on the covers of our library books and on a special bulletin board! Each student received their own QR code on an index card to take home and share or hang on their refrigerator doors for everyone to see!


The biggest question is, “Do book trailers work as good advertisements?”  The answer is “YES!”  Our books are being checked out and read at home! I couldn’t ask for anything better! Try it sometime! Book trailers are a lot of fun to create! Who knows…maybe someday one of our students will be the next Hollywood movie director!



Have you ever made a book trailer?
What book would you choose?
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

14 thoughts on “Kid Lit Movies

  1. Thank you so much! I have been looking forward to reading this! I am so excited to try it out with students next year. We don’t have movie maker, but I assume we can use iMovie?

    Thank you for the tips about the images and music. Those are hard!

    What do your students use to “read” the QR codes?

    Thank you for all your ideas and especially for sharing!

    Jenny Lussier
    Teacher Librarian
    Durham/Middlefield, CT

    • Dear Ms. Lussier,
      Since we are a PC school, I don’t have any experience with MACs and iMovie, but I imagine the process is very similar.

      If your school can use Flickr, I would highly recommend using it for finding photos. You can save photos to a gallery and it’s so easy to find the information for the credits slide at the end.

      We have one PC set up with a QR code reading station, but the kids take them home. Then if family members have a mobile device, they can use their readers to access the movie.

      The Kevin MacLeod music is amazing and you will be thrilled. I put some in folders and the students picked from there.

      Have fun!
      Mrs. Hembree

  2. Dear Mrs.Hembree,
    I have made a trailer but not alone just with a partner. If
    I had another trailer I make it about Star wars.

  3. Dear Mrs Hembree,

    What a great project for your students. I feel it’s a great way for children to work together with collaborating ideas and formats to produce an awesome book trailer WOW!

    Well done to all the children for taking and working together I must say with awesome results.
    I have never attempted a book trailer but I really don’t feel I am brave enough to do so.
    However if I could the book trailer which I would love to do would be ” To Kill a Mocking Bird”.
    Great post Mrs Hembree! Love it

    From your friend,

    • Dear AA,
      I think To Kill a Mockingbird would be such an interesting book for a book trailer! Just the thought of it gets my mind wondering and thinking! I wonder what music would be perfect for it.
      I know there is a wonderful movie, but I haven’t seen it in years and years.

      The students are so proud of their efforts and so am I! It was a huge project with three – 4th grade classes! I know the books are being checked out more now because of the trailers. Who knows? Maybe one of those students will continue on with making movies as they continue with school!
      How did BB like The One and Only Ivan? Did she finish it?

      From your Seattle friend,
      Mrs. Hembree

  4. Dear Mrs Hembree,
    Awesome post. Like you asked AA Mrs Hembree I have finished the book “The One and Only Ivan”, it was a bit sad but then at the end it was amazing.

    If I had to do a book trailer it would be about Geronimo Stilton because he has a very interesting lifestyle.

    I actually have not made a book trailer but I would like to.

    You make awesome book trailers Mrs Hembree I really loved the one you made about Ivan it really makes you what to read the book.
    Oh yeh before I go my teachers is reading The One and Only Ivan and so far my class is really loving it. 🙂

    From your pal,

    • Dear BB,
      You always make me smile! I am so pleased that your teacher is reading The One and Only Ivan to your class. Even better is to hear that the class loves it too! I is one of my favorite books I have read this school year.
      I really enjoy making book trailers. I would make more, but they take up a lot of time. Idon’t have a lot of extra time right now. Our school year is coming to a close in a month, and I have many tasks to do before then. Luckily I don’t have to pack up all the books again this year. Our new school isn’t built yet, but next spring I will be packing everything up again.
      I think a Geronimo Stilton book trailer would be a very funny one!

      Your pal,
      Mrs. Hembree

  5. Wow, wow, WOW!!!! What a wonderful project! I can imagine how much work everyone put in to it but look at the results!!! I am so impressed! Yay Bulldog 4th graders!!!!

  6. Pingback: A Time to Celebrate

  7. Pingback: Librarian Bloggers To Look Up To « SLM508SEB

  8. Pingback: On the Road to Prague!

  9. Pingback: Edublog Award Nominations : Mr. Avery's Classroom Blog

    • Thanks Beverly! We have Destiny and I’m going to see if I can’t get our trailers on our Destiny catalog. Thanks so much for the advice.
      Mrs. Hembree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *