We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Even in our own profession…there are some things that we are better at than others. I found out pretty quickly my first year that one of my weaker strengths (like how I worded that for my ego) is doing a book talk. I have a lot of information floating around up there but for some reason when it comes time to put it all together it doesn’t work as well as it should. I believe it runs in the family because my father has the same problem. He either doesn’t remember a thing or remembers too much. I practice, I really do but the way my information is stored doesn’t relate well to giving a fascinating book talk. Luckily for me I live in the age of technology. With the help of some well made book trailers by publishers, authors, librarians, teachers, and students I’m able to combat one of my lower developed skills to make sure that I get my kids interested in the titles we have to offer at our schools. There truly are some wonderful book trailers out there to help struggling book talkers like myself persuade kids to find books that interest them. Don’t get me wrong …there are some bad trailers too. With the help of my students evaluating the effectiveness of the book trailer, can you say media literacy skills lesson opportunity here, I have come up with what WE think are the best high school book trailers out there in terms of grabbing a perspective readers interest. The influx of reserves I have for these books after the book trailer session also lends itself to the effectiveness of the trailers. Without further adieu here is our top eight list in no particular order. (Yep, eight, because everyone else is doing ten)
1. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
CREEPY! To me it sounds like a lot of books out there so the book trailer does an excellent job of making it stand out. I usually have a couple of names wanting to check it out after showing the clip. I even want read it now.
2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Every time I show this one I have at least half, if not more, of each class wanting to check it out. The trailer is just that good. I personally would like to see these actors used in the movie if one is ever created.
3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
At first this isn’t one of the students picks for best book trailers but after we evaluate it and we talk about some of the techniques used to persuade the audience the students pick it as one of the best. Great book trailer to use to teach media literacy skills! Why the silence and what does it do to the audience? Why use green as a color for the slides? What about the wording? Just a really good book trailer for evaluating and figuring out the purpose.
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I try to sell this book to students who like this kind of stuff all the time but have minimal success. As soon as those same students see the trailer they go for it. I don’t get it? Maybe it could be that Neil Gaiman has one of the most intriguing narrator voices I can think of. Well, I imagine it doesn’t hurt.
5. Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
This one is sort of a unique selection. I really don’t think its so much the trailer as it is the premise of the book and the part where a zombie gruesomely latches on to a unicorn and I instinctively scream at the top of my lungs in the library when it happens. You should see how many of the students jump after that one. Watch the trailer. You’ll know what I’m talking about. Feel free to steal my weirdness.
6. Num8ers by Rachel Ward
Another one that I couldn’t get in the hands of the students as fast as I thought it should with such an interesting plotline. Not an amazing piece of cinematography but great questions asked by the producers to put the audience in the shoes of the character in the book.
7. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
This one gets the female students all up in a tizzy. Fallen angels, forbidden love, and a shirtless, toned angel falling from the sky. Another great opportunity to hit up some media literacy skills and talk about how the media will often use scenes such as this to invoke interest in their product.
8. Fallen by Lauren Kate
I can see why this was a book video award finalist. Does a great job of telling what the book is about but at the same time leaving the audience asking “What is this book really about?” with quick images of different things that only someone who has read the book would understand.
Bonus Picks! (And you thought I was really going to do a top eight list…sheesh!)
One might say that I added these two because I am infatuated with Lauren Oliver. After meeting her at last year’s OELMA conference one would have a strong argument towards that but honestly that is not the case.
9. Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
This book is geared towards younger students but it does have a unique feature to it that is worth mentioning in this post. The song used in this trailer was apparently created for the trailer, which I find extremely interesting and a possible trend we might see in the future. The song and video are awesome and the lyrics appear to do a decent job of telling what the book is about. I sometimes serenade to my wife this song when we go on road trips. She loves it. ☺
10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Maybe its just Lauren, because she’s awesome, but here again we have a unique feature to a book trailer for one of her titles. This book is about Love being a disease and society wanting to rid themselves of it. Interesting premise to say the least. The book trailer though takes it a step further to entice its viewers. At the end of the trailer it asks the audience whether or not they would take a cure for love if it was available. The audience then has the option to click on Yes or No. From there it takes you to the final part of the trailer based on what you choose. If that doesn’t pique some interest I don’t know what will.
If you have some of these books in your library I definitely advise you to show the students the book trailers for them. If you are a BYOT school or have mobile devices in your library maybe you can even attach QR codes to the back of the books for the trailers so that the students can watch them at their leisure. There really are some good book trailers to get students reading what you have on your shelves. Or even go double your money as I have by incorporating some media literacy skills in your showing. Either way take advantage of what technology and Al Gore has brought to us. Your 21st century kids will love you for it!