Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Booktrailers Mashed Up, Re-Done, and Upgraded!

This year, I was fortunate to have a presentation approved for the 2017 Texas Library Association Conference.  What I'm going to present on are different ways book trailers can be made by thinking outside the box.  So, I've been experimenting and one type of video I absolutely LOVE are Common Craft Videos.  And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to take something I really enjoy and create a book trailer designed like it.  The process will be part of the presentation, but here is my first attempt at booktrailering alternate ways:

I still have four more different ways to work with!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Connecting the Real World with YA Books

Nothing says "I want to read that" more than making connections between teens and books.  It's kind of like have to put something they can relate to into a booktalk to make that connection. And when that happens, you better stand back and let the stampede begin!
When I booktalk I always try to make sure there's a personal connection to the book that's interesting or even anecdotal.  And you can do this many ways...through a picture, a video, a story, interesting facts...anything.

So here are some books I've booktalked and how I tried to connect them to teens:

The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine.  I LOVED that this novel had a main character who was don't see that much in YA lit.

Connector: mention the movie Me Before You...enough said.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Luakvics.  You can't have an October booktalk without having a book about a creepy house, can you?

Connector: Ever dangled your foot beside your bed at night?  Especially after watching a horror movie?

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielsen: slaves, soldiers, and ceasars.  Mix them up and put them in a fantasy Roman Empire, and you have got their attention.

Connector: Let them show off their knowledge by asking them who the most famous Ceasar was of all time.  Then mention a salad was named after him followed by the true story of the ceasar salad. Corny joke, but that's how I roll

Book trailer

The Novice by Taran Matharu: An orphan at birth, the main character has more power than he knows what to do with, until he meets up with some very interesting characters.

Connector: What exactly are Pokemon? No, they aren't cute card characters, they are deadly WEAPONS!  (this plays nicely into the "demons" the characters can manipulate)

Book trailer 

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas: small town and one horrible murder leads to eyewitnesses who aren't sure if they saw what they did or were persuaded to see what they did...

Connector: Give them the history of unsolved murders like the Black Dahlia (but not too much detail).

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco: nothing gets creepier than Japanese folktales come to life.  Especially if they seek revenge in the most ghoulish of ways.

Connector: Because I'm half-Asian, I tell them some folktales my mother told me and my sisters like the Peach Boy.  And I also ask them if they've ever seen The Ring or The Grudge...

Book trailer

Everything Everything: over ten year never stepping outside, never having friends, never falling in love.  Well, that's what happens to the main character until a family moves in next door.

Connector: Ask people who do NOT have allergies to raise their hands.  Then ask those who do and ask if anyone has an unusual allergy

Book trailer

With Malice by Eileen Cook: two best friends on a tour of Italy (and not the Olive Garden variety) end up in a car crash.  One died, one survived but can't remember because of a concussion.  Then the Italian police arrive to extradite her for murder.

Connector: tell them the story about Amanda Knox.  Make sure they know this is a true story.

A Storm Too Strong by Michael. Tougias: Talk about the ride of a lifetime.  Who wouldn't want to ride 80 foot waves in winds over 60 miles an hour on a rubber life raft in the middle of the night?  Now multiply that by 100 and you have Hurricane Andrea meets Survivors

Connector: I start this one out by saying this is a story about two men who have witnessed and seen something no other man has lived to tell about.  Then I show them what real waves look like via Youtube because the kids are a bunch of landlubber North Texans and don't understand life by the sea.

Show this video first                  Show this video second (just first 10 secs)

Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee: this is by far the most colorful (literally and figuratively) memoir I've read in a long long time.  A comic book memoir by the king of all comic book characters!

Connector: do you really have to ask?  The cover itself is enough to catch their attention...or at least the attention of comic book and Marvel fans! Comic books aren't just for nerds, and regardless, we will embrace our nerdiness anyway :)

book trailer

film clips of Stan in Marvel movies (start at 12:48)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Webtools That Are Too "Suite" to Pass Up!

The amount of webtools out there are astounding, sometimes to the point of being overwhelmed.  In an area filled to the brim and overflowing with sites, sometimes all we need is a few sips.  There are two suites online that I ABSOLUTELY love. Why?
1. there's only one web address to type
2. the options are there to choose from instead of only have one tool, one choice
3. the built-in functions for each tool has so many options that doesn't limit personal style or creativity.

So let's get to it!

The best part about this suite?  It is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FREE!  You don't have any hidden premiums that will bum you out and put a damper on your creativity mindset.  All you do is go in and start creating!  The pure simplistic approach to creating a digital project is what makes this tool my go-to.  The only downside is because of its simplicity, projects can tend to look the same unless the user really goes the extra mile to create and upload images, text, and audio that's been self-created.  The three tools within Spark are:

Spark Post (social media and online banners and posters)
Spark Page (webpage creator)
Spark Video (online video creator)

With a little practice anyone can make an amazing digital project.  What helped me a lot was watching what others created and mixing and folding them to create something different.  What's even better is that once you create something, you can use the link to put it into a different Spark project.  App smashing WITHIN in an that's different!!

Visme is free to use and have very intuitive tools that are easy to manipulate, edit and create.  That is what makes Visme a site students enjoy.  You have the option of creating from scratch or creating from a template.  The user needs to be aware that this is not a completely free site and there are certain areas (such a graphics, music uploads etc) that are premium and can only be used with a paid monthly subscription.  But educators, rejoice!  Visme works with non-profit entities to provide a discount, so look into that as well.  The three tools in Visme are:

1. Presentation
2. Infographic
3. Banner (to make a free one use the custom design dimensions)

Some options allow for advanced creativity, which is nice for those who want to build a more tailored project, but the simplicity of using any of the tools is great for all users.  The infographic tool is a great addition to any suite, and this one has some meat on its bones.  Even the blank template has parameters beginning users will find helpful.  Once done, you are given a link to share, an embed code AND a download.