AKR is a true picture book talent. And her memoir has just been put on MY wish list! Add a Comment
Cynthia Leitich Smith
The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras - just out this month - looks like a teen romance - right?
Stranger Things, I credit you with this finally happening.
Let’s think about doing a Girl With the Silver Eyes film next! Thanks to Liz Burns for the link.
Now when I heard that Nieman Marcus was offering 36 Caldecott Award winning picture books for $10,000 . . . *checks notes* I’m sorry. I typed the wrong number there. I’ll begin again.
When I heard that Nieman Marcus was offering 36 Caldecott Award winning picture books for $100,000 (that’s better) I was a bit baffled. Perhaps these would be books that were all signed by their authors and illustrators? Well, they are first printings, or early editions, yes. But one can assume that you could purchase 36 such similar titles for far less money. This is part of Nieman Marcus’s “Fantasy Gifts” collection, and the idea is that they’ll donate $10,000 to their own charity if you buy this collection.
Now the collection of 36 has been curated by Johnnycake Books and E.M. Maurice Books. Here is the video that accompanies it. See if you see what I saw. Click on the image below:
Did you notice the books chosen to appear on this list? I am a librarian, so my take on curation is going to be different from that of a bookseller. That said, I have to wonder how many booksellers today would hand a child a stack of Caldecott books that included problematic titles like They Were Strong and Good. This is not to say that I think the book should be removed from library or bookstore shelves or anything like that. But if you’re looking for books that speak to kids today, then for the love of all that is good and holy switch that book out for something with some contemporary gravitas like Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse. My two cents. Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
Oo! This is neat. Matthew Reinhart goes in-depth on pop-up books.
Interesting that he cites Transformers toys as being so influential on him. Sorry, Autobots. Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
This is neat. Kidlit TV created a livestream of the Bank Street Bookfest this year, and now the full series of events is available in full. Would that the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Award ceremonies were done in the same way. I dare to dream!
I know some of you out there harbor unkind thoughts about Amanda Palmer. That’s fine. But she apparently has an album out with her dad, Jack Palmer, who has a pleasant Leonard Cohenish quality to his voice, and one of their songs was turned into an animated video akin to the Brothers Quay. I just like the song:
And if you prefer, you could watch this one with the world’s GREATEST sleeping baby. Seriously. He wakes up ONCE in the course of this film (if you don’t count the end). I don’t think that’s a trick. Plus it was filmed with the cast of Welcome to Night Vale. So. Right there.
In terms of this latest Series of Unfortunate Events trailer, my thoughts are that they get two points for including Klaus’s glasses (thereby already improving upon the film) but one point is deducted for Violet’s hair ribbons, or lack thereof. Interesting that they made her SO much older. Not that I wanted a 12-year-old mock-married to Olaf. Ugh.
Zut! I wish I’d seen this next book trailer before Halloween! It would have tied in so beautifully. I tell you, it is hard to come up with an original trailer for picture books in this day and age. Perl knocks it out of the park.
As for our off-topic review of the day, this one’s a no-brainer. There really isn’t a connection to children’s books here, and I should probably save it for Christmas but . . . aw, I just can’t. For the Stranger Things fans out there:
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Some people are lucky. I received an ARC of this book several months ago. I will never part with it. Melissa Sweet has put together a masterpiece about a masterful writer, E. B. White.
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Good morning, my fine and frisky young denizens of this sphere upon which we make our homes. I’m particularly chipper today as I’ve just returned from a lovely trip to Boston where I attended the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards and managed NOT to lose my glasses in the process. More on that tomorrow, but today I’ve a whole heaping helpful of fun videos for your perusal.
First up, I’m happy to announce that last weekend I conducted a Literary Salon with James Kennedy and Eti Berland on the subject of 90-Second Newbery. The fun doesn’t really get started until the five minute mark, but that’s the wonders of live streaming for you. A million thanks to James for figuring out how to get the new YouTube streaming feature to work on his computer at all. Phew!
Now we’ve a very cool video up next. Do you like John Steptoe? Do you like Sesame Street? Then behold this very early Sesame Street when Gordon-with-hair read Stevie to the viewers. This is something I’d love for current day Sesame Street to pick up again. Wouldn’t it be great if Chris (you can see that I’m hip to the current cast) read Last Stop on Market Street to Telly? It could happen.
In other news, we’ve an election coming up. Or didn’t you know? Well I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Aaron Reynolds for a new little show I’m participating in called LadyBird & Friends. If you want to bypass the whole Betsy talking element to the proceedings, skip to the 18:20 mark where Aaron reads aloud President Squid. It will be the funniest damn thing you see all day. The man is a natural performer.
And speaking of natural performers, how did I miss this promotional video for Robo-Sauce when it first came out? My bad.
Now welcome to New Zealand, where librarians have more fun. Don’t believe me? This synchronized . . . I’m sorry. This synchronised shelving proves it. Thanks to Jean Reagan for the link.
And for our final off-topic video today . . . AUGHHH!!!!!
Does the clownfish remind anyone else of the Goldfish from Mars Evacuees? Anyone? Anyone? No?
Just me then.Add a Comment
STEM, STEAM and girls who do experiments - hearken! A new scientist is on the block.
August and September went by in a blur! What I thought was the beginning of another school year has turned into fall, meaning Halloween (coincidentally, also birthday) is around the corner! With that said, it's time to find some some fiendishly scary YA reads to display!
For me, horror fiction for young adults seemed to wane in a time where werewolves and vampires were having illicit romantic affairs. But it began to rear its scary head in recent years, and there have been some AWESOME horror novels for teens published in the last few years.
A frequently asked question, is what is the definition of YA horror? And to me, it's anything terrifying that happens to you in real life or on a paranormal level. Of course, this opens the playing field to a LOT of perspectives, so this list of 10 definitely is more paranormal heavy. But I couldn't help putting in two terrifying novels that are VERY reminiscent of horror in the real world.
** watch only if you dare...movie trailers may not be suitable to all audiences
There are in no particular order....
Aww. Didja miss these? It’s not like I see as many videos these days, y’know. Not for lack of interest. They just don’t float in front my nose the way they used to. Fortunately there are a couple that I’ve collected in my travels and I’m featuring them here today. They may be a bit old. You may have seen them 100 times before. But what the hey, right? Life is short.
First up, ALSC released the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder reaction videos. Grab your popcorn and enjoy:
I just saw this next trailer online (thank you, Monica!) and I cannot convey to you the avarice I hold for anyone who has already seen this. It’s Matt Phelan’s latest. And it’s gorgeous:
Another trailer to follow. True, the violin brings to mind a kind of Ken Burns-y feel. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
A couple months ago young Marley Dias put out the call for middle grade black girl books. I missed the fact that she appeared on Ellen. Problem alleviated!
Thanks to Rita Williams-Garcia for the link.
I do not wish to take away from Travis Jonker his drop dead amazing compilation of peculiar I WANT MY HAT BACK videos he compiled. So I will just put one here and tell you to go to his site to see the rest.
This does my little 1984 heart good.
It’s summer. Everyone’s making summer reading videos. This is my library’s. My superintendent is sitting on a slide (at Penny Park, clearly). It gives me great respect for the man. Plus, check out that logo at the end. I hate to say it, guys, but I think my library hosts the most attractive summer reading t-shirt this year.
Hm. That would make a good blog post. . . .
And just to round this all out in a nice way, here’s the book trailer for Evan Turk’s The Storyteller (one of the most beautiful picture books of the year):
Happy 4th of July!Display Comments Add a Comment
Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. So MUCH very very good stuff to show you today. Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. Hrm. Howzabout we begin with one of my favorite tropes: things that parody other things that you’ve never seen. It was Dana Sheridan who directed my attention to this video about The Queen of Hearts from an Alice ballet. A lot of time is spent explaining how one of her dances parodies a very specific dance from Sleeping Beauty. All I know is that we need more funny ballets in this world. Preferably based on children’s books in some manner.
Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the link.
In the book trailer world I came across this little trailer for Hilo. I liked Hilo quite a bit and the animated portions of this video simple sweeten the pot.
And well . . . come on. It’s the viral video of the week. You don’t think I’d let this one go, do you? It’s practically the whole reason I’m doing a Video Sunday today. What I like to do is look at the book covers the kid’s being read. Lots of Margaret Wise Brown in there, but a nice shot of Global Babies and other beloved contemporary favs as well. Bravo, parents!
Me stuff and it’s audio, not video, but eh. Life’s short. I was asked to speak with Chicago’s radio station WGN on Friday evening, so I did so about pretty much all things children’s literature. Now I’ll admit right now that I should have made a better point about how picture books have a higher reading level than easy books and that reading them as an older kid is totally legitimate. That’s the problem with live radio. It just goes too fast. But Justin Kaufmann was an awesome host and we had a great time with the yakkety yak. In case you’re curious, the link is here.
So full credit where credit is due to Travis Jonker for locating this remarkable Wall Street Journal interview with Brian Selznick about how his drawings become a book like The Marvels. Brief it may be, but worth your time and attention.
Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
Okay. The off-topic video. I want to pay tribute to my new town. And what better way to do so than to show you this truly dated and WONDERFUL history of Evanston, IL. For fun, just skip to the section on “Evanston Today” at 12:10, sit back, and just soak it in. Soak. It. In.Display Comments Add a Comment
So, fun fact. I read a serious 2017 Newbery contender a couple months ago and it looks like they may release it in the nearish future (February 2nd). I’m calling 2016 as The Year of the Fox, by the way, since both Sara Pennypacker and Kathi Appelt have fox related middle grades on the horizon. This is a particularly nice little book trailer for the Pennypacker book, and not just because they get my current workplace correct. It’s a classy little number.
Betcha bottom dollar you’ll need to read it.
You know, when I hear about librarian parody videos, I naturally assume that they’re done of the latest, hottest song. It’s almost a relief to see one of, of all things, Bohemian Rhapsody. What’s next? Eye of the Tiger? Cause I’ll take it!
Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.
As you may have heard, the internet being what it is, there’s a new illustrator of Harry Potter in town and his name is Jim Kay. A whole host of new images were released the other day, and that was swell, but sometimes it’s nice to hear from the artist himself.
You know, I thought I’d posted this video before but it appears I somehow didn’t. Ah well. It isn’t a Video Sunday without at least one 80s style toy ad. Such as it is.
Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the link!
And for today’s Off-Topic Video I’m going to say, “YES! I KNOW HE DOESN’T HIT THE BRICKS WITH HIS HEAD BUT WITH HIS FIST! THIS IS STILL FUNNY, CONSARN IT!” Phew! Had to get that out there.Add a Comment
Using a website called Mindomo (makes some great infographics and mind maps!) I made an infographic of what recommendations for YA novels. There are 13 genres represented and comes with book trailers when available.
Woot! I’ve scraped and saved and slavered and after a couple weeks have culled together enough videos to constitute a truly lovely Video Sunday. And since Halloween is near upon us (a holiday I will, strangely enough, be spending at an outside wedding in Maine) why not begin with the king of frightening children’s literature himself, Stephen Gammell. Mental Floss recently released a post called 14 Terrifying Facts About Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Fine and good but the link to the documentary caught my particular eye . . .
As did the video they linked to showing how illustrator Stephen Gammell does his art. Pretty amazing to see in process.
This next one’s a hoot. Author Steve Sheinkin, when he isn’t creating a comic styled interview series or writing National Book Award short list nominees is, apparently, doing some killer LEGO book trailers as well. Check this out. And since it features Nixon, yes indeed there is some slightly salty language.
Another book trailer, and this time for a book that I certainly hope will be getting some awards soon. The Martin Scorsese blurb is a nice touch.
That tune just slays me.
This next one is timed nicely with the Alice in Wonderland 150th anniversary. It discusses Alice Hargreaves (the real Alice)’s trip to Columbia University in the 30s and has some very nice interviews with some of today’s Alice experts. It mentions things like a picture of Alice that was published in Punch before the book was officially published. Be sure to get to the part where you can hear the real Alice’s voice.
For more information, just go here.
Writing parodies come. Writing parodies go. But writing parodies where the singer is thoroughly easy on the ears and parodies one of my favorite songs? That’s just gravy. As such . . .
Thanks to Watch. Connect. Read. for the link.
And our off-topic video today features the son of a friend of mine (some of you may recognize his voice). His kiddo, I should say his very small kiddo, has memorized all the literary ladies on his mommy’s mug. The way he pronounces Sylvia Plath? Priceless.
I’ve been meaning to write a detailed blog post about how to make a book trailer for years now, since I made one for my first novel, Fair Coin. So that was back in… 2012. Yikes!
This isn’t that post—not quite. Consider this more of an introductory overview of the process, and if people are interested, I will break the process down further in a series of subsequent posts to make a more comprehensive guide on tools and techniques and other resources.
So, you want a book trailer. The first question you have to ask yourself is: Do you need one? Opinions are split on whether they actually encourage people to buy books, even among marketing professionals; it’s difficult to measure those outcomes. Then again, it’s hard to say how much film trailers encourage (or discourage) people from heading to the theater. For a while it seemed like every book had a trailer, just because, but you certainly don’t need one to sell books, and you aren’t necessarily at a disadvantage without one. Schools and libraries sometimes show trailers to their teens, or help them make trailers for their favorite books, so there could be some value in making people aware that your book exists. And the very slick, very professional trailer that my current publisher, Adaptive Books, produced for The Silence of Six was shared widely, and many people commented that it made them want the book.
Maybe you just want a trailer because trailers are cool, or you have a neat idea for one, or you have time and money in excess. For me, the thought process was:
But you’ve decided, yes, there will be a book trailer. The next thing you should do is talk to your publicist to see what they might have planned. Some publishers will handle all that for the author, others will cheerfully wish you luck.
If you’re on your own, your next decision is a big one: Do you hire a professional to make your trailer, or do you make it yourself? You can make a trailer yourself even if you have zero video production experience, but if you want something lavish, something cinematic perhaps, you will probably need to get more people involved. A basic trailer could run you several hundred dollars, but if you’re planning to film this from scratch with actors and costumes and special effects, expect to spend much more than that. For now, let’s assume you have practically no budget, because you’re a writer, and you still have to buy swag (which should be a separate blog post). Would you believe you can make a decent trailer for $20 or less?
Here’s the basic stuff you may need in your book trailer, with some examples from the Fair Coin trailer, embedded below:
Do you want your trailer to have actors or video footage or a slideshow of images set to text or music? Personally, I don’t like trailers that have actors or even narration dramatizing scenes or passages from the book; I prefer getting a sense of the book’s tone and plot, which trailers are excellent at conveying. Fortunately those are much cheaper to produce as well.
Because Fair Coin is about a coin that grants wishes, I wanted to show someone flipping a coin. That should be easy, right?
To make a video, you need assets: video clips, images, sound clips, music, etc. You can find a lot of this for free, usually through a Creative Commons license or for a licensing fee, or you can of course record your own (which then requires, at minimum, a smartphone and at best, a video camera). Licensing fees can vary from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. In a future post, I’ll point out some great places to get free or cheap music and stock photos.
It turns out that to capture a coin flip, you really need a high-speed camera, which is expensive — even to rent one for a couple of hours. High quality stock footage runs a few hundred dollars for just a thirty-second clip. But I lucked out: I found a perfect clip on YouTube and wrote to the creators for permission to use it. Since it was something they shot just to test their camera, they were happy to give it to me for free, and sent me high quality source video. I still had to tweak the color to what I wanted, but it cost me nothing! I got permission from Sam Weber, the artist who painted the cover for Fair Coin, to use it in the trailer and bookmarks, and he also sent me a high resolution file to work with, which I also tweaked subtly. (Check out Jenna’s eyes.) I couldn’t get permission for the music I wanted, but I found royalty-free music that I liked and paid $20 to license it. I got the sound effects for free. Total cost for assets: $20.
Even a very simple trailer, like a slideshow, requires editing software. I’ve made trailers in Windows Movie Maker, and there are some things it does very well, like filters, so I’ve returned to it even when I have access to fancier programs. So free software like Movie Maker and iMovie on Macs are very much an option, and you can use Audacity for easy audio mixing. I primarily use Adobe Premiere Elements, which is very affordable and offers a robust set of professional features, but you could also spring for Avid or Final Cut if you have the cash and a computer that can run them. I already had Adobe Premiere, so I’m calling that cost zero as well.
You’ll see a few simple visual effects in my trailer. The one I really wanted — the ripple effect — didn’t come with the version I owned, and it was kind of expensive to buy it so I ran a trial version on the clips that I wanted and saved them separately. Tricky, but free!
Total Cost: $20.
To oversimplify things, you use the editing software to put all your assets together, then you output a video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo or Facebook, or however you want to share it. In reality, even though I wasn’t paying someone to do the work for me, it did cost me around two days of my own time, which is also valuable. If I had been paying myself to work on the video at my usual freelance rates, I couldn’t have afforded it! But basically, I ended up with this:
When the sequel, Quantum Coin, came out, I was pretty sure I didn’t need a trailer, but I made one just on principle, and for the symmetry of it, and the process was very similar.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like to know more about making book trailers, and if you have any questions. Also, please share some of your favorite book trailers! Two of my favorites, which are fairly straightforward, are for A Wrinkle in Time (50th Anniversary) by Madeline L’Engle and Tempest by Julie Cross.Add a Comment
Ack! Too many good videos, too little time! We’ve an embarrassment of riches today. The only question really is where to start. And the only natural answer is with Obama’s nominee for the Librarian of Congress. Not much of a question there, really.
Next up, there is beginning to be a bit of a tradition of authors and illustrators recording videos of how they got “the call” when they won the Caldecott or Newbery (I almost wrote and/or Newbery, which is an interesting near flub). Last year we had Dan Santat’s video. This year, Sophie Blackall’s:
At this rate it may behoove us to just give the medals to people who are good at making videos. And the Newbery Medal goes to . . . Tyler Oakley!
Now let’s get down to brass tacks. People, there are awards out there that go beyond the mere borders of this great nation of ours. And the Hans Christian Andersen Award is the greatest of these (though the Astrid Lindgren Award gives it a run for its money). Now they’ve made a video for us that goes through the 2016 nominees. I adore this. I just want to meet all these people. Suzy Lee!!! Now, weirdly, I want her to adopt me. And Iran! How cool is that?
This next book trailer seemingly has an international flavor to it, but is homegrown Americana through and through. It may also be the most beautiful trailer of 2016 thus far.
Thanks to educating alice for the link.
Earlier this week, Phil Nel posted a killer post called Seuss on Film. The piece is “a brief (but far from complete) collection of Seuss on film!” Turns out, it was somewhat tricky getting Mr. Geisel on the old camera. Phil’s a trooper, though. He found newsreel after newsreel and has posted them on YouTube for our collective enjoyment. You should really read his posting yourself. In fact, I insist upon it. And just to whet your whistle, here’s a jaw-dropping 1964 discussion with Seuss in New Zealand where he improvises answers to kids’ questions.
As for our Off-Topic Video of the week, I give this to you because I love you. Really, truly, deeply love you.Display Comments Add a Comment
Teaching faith and values to pre-schoolers is not always easy. So, books like this one are helpful for extolling the wonderfulness of the world - and the Maker. And the trailer is pretty just the way it is. Add a Comment
Hooray for my first official book trailer! LATER, GATOR doesn't publish 'til July 19th, but I'm excited to start sharing it around :) And much thanks to my daughter for the lovely sound track!
It's Monday. It's raining. So, here's a book trailer from Owl Books in Canada. Add a Comment
I just read a review of the book Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell and put it on my to-read list. (That list is so long, I will need a prolonged convalescence to ever get through it all - or possibly a life of leisure.) And then I find this!!!
Please, love this clever book trailer about How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex was made. Add a Comment