Thursday, November 11, 2010

Watch the Book!

Book trailers are popping up everywhere and the best of them are going viral before the book even comes out.

The goal is to launch a book. But along the way, book videos have become entertainment in themselves and, in some cases, are as anticipated as the book itself.

One of my favorites, originally titled Stokebird: The Invention, went on to win the Chicago International Children's Film Festival for best animated short.

It's based on Wouter Van Reek's picture book, Coppernickel: The Invention, about two best friends who try to invent a machine for picking high-hanging berries.

Book trailers appeal to publishers because they spread themselves -- anyone can stop by YouTube and embed them on their web page -- and a number of educators find they spur some reluctant readers to crack a book.

Consider this trailer for National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson's fourth book in the adventure series, Pals in Peril: Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware.
A boy technonaut Jasper and his friends try to stop a crime spree in the state of Delaware, which has been cut off from the civilized world by prohibitive interstate tolls. (Simon & Schuster)

Today book trailers flood not only YouTube, but MySpace and iFilm, vying for our attention. The best of them grab us in the first scene, and within one to three minutes, motivate us to race out and read more.

They not only summarize the story but connect us with the emotion of what's going on.

One of the most popular formats is to move illustrated pages across the screen or have them fade in and out, as music plays in the background or a narrator summarizes the story.

In this video, Newbery Medalist Neil Gaiman reads from his 2010 picture book Instructions, and you just want to play it over and over.

His gentle voice inspires everything he says, as magical pictures by Charles Vess sail across the screen. (HarperCollins

Other trailers feel almost cinematic. Take the trailer for Margie Palatini and Barry Mouser's Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes.

It's not even animated, yet you have the sense you're sitting in a theater watching a movie preview. (Simon & Schuster)

Some trailers make you want to snuggle in for story time.

Turn on the trailer for D. B. Johnson's picture book Palazzo Inverso and watch your kids scramble up to sit criss-cross apple sauce. (Houghton Mifflin)

Often the most creative trailers are done in stop-motion.

Maggie Stiefvater's trailer for Linger, the sequel to Shiver, her popular supernatural romance novel about werewolves, shows off Stiefvater talents in art and music as well. (Scholastic)

For more children's book trailers, visit publisher websites, YouTube or Circle of Seven Productions here.


  1. I wish I could tell stories with Neal Gaiman's accent -- even reading the yellow pages out loud would sound fantastic. These remind me of Saturday morning cartoons when I was young -- they would be fun to make and a great alternative for those of us who can't write! Cast a vote for Fairview, and I can't wait to see the holiday gift guide!

  2. what a simple and interesting story for both adults and children...
    please cast a vote for FIRESIDE....

  3. Very interesting, I need to see others.

  4. I loved this.
    please cast a vote for FIRESIDE....