January 30, 2013

What I Learned at ALA Midwinter

I recently had the opportunity to attend the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting held in Seattle, Washington. I had a great time and learned so much. Here is a summary of my take-away’s from the experience. Hopefully this will encourage others to attend in the future, and allow you to participate with a little more experience under your belt than I had going into it!

*The ALA has two major gatherings each year: The Midwinter Meeting, and the Annual Conference, (which is held in the summer).  Midwinter attracts fewer vendors and participants than the conference (but it’s still HUGE). I was told over and over again that midwinter is a less overwhelming introduction to ALA than the conference. Midwinter is stocked full of committee meetings (i.e. this is where esteemed librarians meet in closed-door meetings to hash out decisions re: the Newbery, Caldecott, and other prestigious youth media awards), but there are MANY other meetings (typically called “round tables”), about a myriad of library-related topics (many of which are also relevant to those of us in the kid lit community). Most of these round tables are “open meetings” that you can sit in on. There are also “Book Buzz” meetings where publishers share brief promos about their upcoming books. Sometimes these are delivered by the sales team, sometimes by the editor, and sometimes by the author (as a guest of their publisher). There were so many different things going on at one time that it was difficult to choose what to do when, but each choice offered valuable information and networking opportunities. Next time I will do a better job of reviewing these opportunities ahead of time, and use the ALA’s available “scheduling tool” to build an electronic schedule for myself (with three or four options selected for each time frame, so I can make quick adjustments on the fly).

*You can register for the full meeting, single day, or just exhibit hall access. Honestly, the exhibit hall was an experience unto itself, and would have been well worth my $35, had I not been there for a book signing with my publisher, the wonderful ABDO Publishing Group. I used my time in the exhibit hall to visit publisher’s booths to get a really good sense (or at least a better sense) of the unique look/feel of each publisher’s list. I took lots of notes and engaged the sales reps to learn more about the publisher. It was very enlightening to have so many publishers represented under one roof. Although I do a lot of research in bookstores, libraries and online, it was helpful to see the books organized “by publisher” so I could get a feel for each publisher’s vibe. I could also ask the reps to give me their elevator speech re: who they are in the marketplace, so I could take good notes and then consider if I had something in my inventory of ready work that was a good fit for them. Although I have additional educational projects that are suitable for my existing publisher, I have other work that is geared for the trade market. Since I have several diverse projects that are submission-ready, it was helpful that I had taken the time prior to the conference to closely review my inventory. Next time I might carry a clipboard and create some type of a spreadsheet to note my projects, to enable me to easily check boxes and make notes to document which publishers are a good fit for each mss, and why.

*For smaller publishers, it was not uncommon that the publisher, key editors, or other top decision makers staffed the booth, or at least were in the booth from time to time. I let people know that I was an author using the opportunity to research the market to more effectively target my future submissions, and people seemed generally pleased that I was making that sort of an effort.  Some booth staff were more friendly than others, but that too gave me insight into the “feel” of the operation. (There was one guy who immediately took out his phone and made a call as soon as I introduced myself . . . I suspect he and I won’t be working together in the near future. In contrast, there were several people who engaged me in conversation about what I types of books I write, and even gave me cards/contact info for their colleagues back at the office). It did help, I think, to have name familiarity with some of the staff at the publishing houses on my watch list (i.e. “I met your colleague, editor XYZ, at the SCBWI conference a couple of years ago and she and I have corresponded about my mss ZYX…I wanted to look at your current list to see if any of my projects are more in alignment with what you’re doing…”). This often led to conversations such as, “Oh, what are you working on now…” or, “XYZ is not with us anymore, but so and so took her place. Here, let me give you so and so’s contact info…” So, although it was not a time or place to formally pitch manuscripts, I did open several doors for future submissions, particularly at the smaller houses. Also, there were many top editors and agents milling about the exhibit hall, particularly on Sunday and Monday (re: they were there to hear the award announcements, meet with their authors/illustrators, meet with other editors/agents, etc).

*Another big part of the midwinter meeting is for publishers to unveil their forthcoming lists, and they do this by hosting book signings, giving away ARCs, inviting people to sign up for give-aways, etc. As a result, I was able to pick up ARCs for several forthcoming books that interested me. NOTE: My back is still sore from carrying things around (and I did not pick up very much as compared to most of the librarians!). More experienced attendees carried empty backpacks (that they filled along the way), and some even rolled small suitcases around (I will bring a backpack next time, even if it is less attractive than my leather handbag). Also, I did try to be respectful about taking ARCs re: librarians need these early/pre-releases to help them make purchasing decisions. But as I talked with publishers, I realized they want the ARCs to get in the hands of a variety of book fans to help create buzz around their new books. My plan is to read the ARCs (and invite my kids to read them), and then pass them along to my librarian friends here at home, that may not have been able to attend the ALA meeting.

*I was so glad I printed a large supply of bookmarks to take with me to ALA. My intent was to give those away at my book signing, but I also kept a stack of them at my publisher’s booth before/after the book signing (re: although my publisher has their own marketing materials, my bookmarks have my contact information on them, in addition to my publisher’s contact information, which ideally brings traffic to my own website and blog). I routinely use my bookmarks as business cards, and there were many opportunities to give them out, so I was glad to have an ample supply. For example, there were several occasions when I was walking between meetings, or eating a meal when another attendee struck up a conversation (i.e. “What library are you from...”). That gave me the opportunity to say I was not a librarian, but an author, which typically resulted in questions about the books I’ve written. It was helpful to be able to quickly hand someone a bookmark to give them a visual reference about my books (and I can’t tell you how much fun it was when different librarians said, “Oh, I know your books…,” or “The kids in our school love your books,” or  even, “Oh I can’t wait to see your books. What booth number is your publisher exhibiting?).   NOTE to self: Learn your publisher’s booth number right away, and have a pen handy to jot that number down on your bookmark/card, etc.  Most of these, “I know your books” ah ha moments were due to the visual recall from the wonderful cover art on my bookmarks (thank you, Stephanie Bauer!), however, bookmarks are more awkward to carry around than business cards (for both me and for the person I’m handing them too). In the future, I plan to bring business cards and bookmarks (and I will likely have two sets of business cards—one with cover art worked into the design, and one that’s more generic). There were some occasions when I wanted to leave my contact information with someone (for example, an editor), and I wanted that moment to be connected to a future submission we had discussed, vs. my past work. I also like the idea of being able to stow my business cards in the back of my name tag holder (vs. fishing them out of my purse or pocket).

Available at ABDO Publishing Group
*I also learned that even if your publisher will be at the event, and even if they will have a supply of your books at the event, it is beneficial to have a few copies of your own books on hand. My book signing was very well attended. Every last book went out the door—including the display copies my publisher intended to remain in the booth. Oops. That meant that after my signing was over, there was not a single copy of any of my 16 books anywhere on site. Big Bummer. In the future I will always pack a few copies of my books along with me; just in case.  

*This conference really cemented for me the importance of having a solid elevator speech / pitch on the tip of your tongue for each of your ready projects. When I sat in on the “Book Buzz” presentations by the various publishers, the quick blurbs given for each of their forthcoming books were essentially pitches/elevator speeches. When I eavesdropped on agents pitching books to editors (yes, this happened within my ear shot several times), it was the pitch/elevator speech. When I heard editors talking amongst themselves (publishing house to publishing house) bragging about their current list or what they were working on now, again, the pitch/elevator speech. When I heard sales reps talking to librarians about the books on their new list, it was, you guessed it, the pitch/elevator speech. And, when I was asked what I was working on, I needed to have a quick pitch/elevator speech on the ready (re: even those interested in what you are doing have time to listen beyond a sentence or two). Although I’ve got a pretty good one or two line summary for each of my works down on paper, next time I will practice saying those words out loud several times before I arrive at the conference so it feels easy and natural. Also, I’m going to re-evaluate each of these pitches/elevator speeches in light of how I saw them used at so many levels during the process, to make sure I have mine down just right. And, I’m going to suggest that this is something my critique group practices out loud with each other at some of our meetings, so we routinely critique each others’ pitches/elevator speeches in addition to our manuscripts, synopses, queries, and cover letters.  

* I noticed how much more intrigued I was about different authors’ current or forthcoming projects based on the level of enthusiasm in their own voices when they told me about their books (i.e. some folks were crazy excited about their books, and their enthusiasm was contagious; others were more shy and low key, which made it harder to jump on the band wagon). This conference also conveyed to me how excited publishers are about the books (and authors/illustrators) on their lists, and how excited librarians are about the work that we all do. Seriously, sales reps and editors gushed to librarians about their books. Editors gushed to each other about how proud they were of their lists. Agents gushed to editors about new projects they were marketing for their clients and about how great the finished products by their clients looked on the shelves. Librarians cheered for books that won awards, and mourned the books that were overlooked. I got to hear from my own publisher’s reps how excited they continued to be about my books, and people who came to my book signing each had stories to tell about how they loved my earlier books and/or how they couldn’t wait to share my books with the kids in their schools and libraries. This was repeated for many others in attendance, in booth after booth, signing after signing. It was such a positive, high-energy experience to be a part of.

*I made new friends at the conference and I caught up with old friends. I was glad I had taken the time to reach out to old friends ahead of time so I had the comfort of having some friendly meet-ups planned, and I was glad that I joined in on some of the “newbie” programs and casual social gatherings with librarians. I also very much enjoyed attending the kidlit meet up hosted by the SCBWI-WA folks the first night I was in town. I now have several new kidlit friends from the SCBWI-WA chapter. There are also advantages to choosing housing associated with the conference to maximize informal networking opportunities, and next time I think it would be fun to room and/or coordinate transportation with a buddy (or future buddy).

*One last tip that was really useful for me is that prior to attending ALA I made a list of things I wanted to learn, and things I wanted to convey while I was at the conference. I had questions in mind to ask librarians when I had the opportunity to chat with them at length. I also had questions in mind for my publisher’s rep that I was able to ask when we had dinner together. Lastly, I had questions in mind for the publishers’ reps I met in the exhibit hall, and I had talking points in mind with respect to my current books and the manuscripts I’m currently marketing. This advanced prep helped me focus my attention and efforts to make the very most of the conference experience.

I’m so glad I went to ALA, and would encourage other writers and illustrators to make this event a priority when it takes place in a town that is convenient for you—no matter what stage you are in your career. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions. 

January 23, 2013

Start to Finish Story Time: See the Colors

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This week I begin a new series of posts that I've had in mind for quite some time. I'm calling it "Start to Finish Story Time," with the idea being that with each new post, I will provide a "start to finish" lesson plan for a sign language story time program for each of the themes covered in my "Story Time with Signs & Rhymes" books. This week's post provides a lesson plan for the theme "colors," using the book, "See the Colors."

My aim is to build each lesson plan in a pick-and-choose/modular format, meaning that you can apply the elements that work for your environment, age group(s) and personal interests, and skip the rest.

Each lesson plan incorporates ideas that are suitable for infant/toddler, preschool and/or school age audiences and each program incorporates activities that promote literacy/early literacy and one or more of the six keys skills recommended by the National Research Council for preparing children to become readers when they enter school. Programs can last from 20 - 45 minutes, depending on what you include and who your audience is.

I welcome your feedback on these posts, as I will consider and apply your suggestions and ideas into future lesson plans and posts. I hope you will share your additional ideas/experiences after trying out the lesson plans, allowing others to benefit from your input. Here is the lesson plan:

SEE THE COLORS: Sign Language for Colors


*Include one or more of the following to enrich the learning environment:

-Colored mats (or carpet squares/scarves/fabric samples) for children to sit on
-Colored hats for a playful hide and find song/game (described below)
-Colored scarves for dancing or playing hide and find games
-Colorful blanket
-Felt board and felt pieces for story retellings
-Colored balls/blocks/ for free play
-Paper, colored markers, and other basic art supplies

Sing an Opening Song to Practice/Introduce Signs:

*I Often Sing, "This is the Way We Sign for Yellow/Green/Brown/Pink/Etc" to the tune of "Here We Go "Round the Mulberry Bush," but any opening song that incorporates words/signs for the colors introduced in the book will work.

*I find that it is more fun to introduce the signs by singing vs. simply showing the signs and asking participants to sign along/practice with you. (Click here for links to a series of past posts where I delve into the topic of singing and signing).

*Don't feel obligated to introduce/incorporate all of the color signs included in the book the first time you share it for a story time. Let your comfort level be your guide.   At a minimum, introduce the primary colors, yellow, red, and blue. There is a signing glossary at the back of "See the Colors," or you can download the glossary from my publisher by clicking here (scroll down past the Star Wars Event info).

Read (or sing) the "Story Time with Signs & Rhymes" Story: "See the Colors," by Dawn Babb Prochovnic, Illustrated by Stephanie Bauer.

*Before you begin reading, invite children (and/or their grown ups) to:

1) Sing/chant the repeating phrases at the beginning of each page spread along with you (i.e. "See the yellow, see the yellow, see the yellow little one . . .)
2) Sign "baby" or "child" each time they hear the repeating phrase, "Little One."
3) Sign each color word when they hear it.

NOTE: "See the Colors" can be sung to the tune of "Oh My Darlin' Clementine." See my rendition here.

Sing, Dance, and Sign Along with Some Music:

*Play music that incorporates colors/signs for colors.  I like to use the song, "Do You Know the Colors of the Rainbow," from the Signing Time Songs Volume 2 CD, but any song/music that incorporates some of the colors that you've featured in your story time will work. (Click here for a post all about music made for signers.)

*Invite kids and their grown-ups to get up and dance to the music and do the signs for the colors when they hear the words for colors in the lyrics (and when they see you signing).

*Bring out the colorful scarves if you want to add this to your dancing (though it's harder to sign along if you're waving a scarf around!)

Round Out the Remainder of Your Story Time by Adding Some Quieter/Listening Activities and Some Active/Movement Activities: 

*Choose one or several of the options below to fit your participant age/attention span and program time available.

*In classroom or homeschool settings, these learning activities can be incorporated at different times during the day or even over several days.

*In library settings, different activities can be incorporated for different age groups of participants (i.e. All groups start with the basics above, but for the infant/toddler group, add another song or two and wrap it up; for the preschool group, add another story, some songs and/or music, and a game or a craft; for the school aged group, add a couple more stories, some songs and/or music, a game or two, some fun facts, and a craft).

Invite a Retelling of "See the Colors":

*Retell "See the Colors" using a homemade felt board and felt pieces (I cut basic shapes out of colored felt to match the story, i.e. a round yellow sun, a strip of brown dirt, a blue bird, a pink flower, a red apple, etc.). I let the kids help me retell the story and/or add each new felt shape. To encourage signing, my rule is to be a helper, you have to be a signer!

Read and Sign Along with Additional Stories:

*Two good (and very familiar) stories for incorporating the color signs are:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? and Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.

Sing Songs:

NOTE: For any of these songs you can add props like hats, scarves, balls, blocks, etc. to help cement the color connection. I've listed a couple of examples where scarves or hats are explicitly used, but props can be incorporated into any of the songs.

*"If You Sign and You Know it, Show Me Red/Blue/Yellow, etc" sung to tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It." (i.e. "If you sign and you know, show me red. If you sign and you know it, show me red. If you sign and you know it, show me red. Really show it. If you sign and you know it, show me red.)

*"Do You Know the Sign For Blue?" sung to the tune of "London Bridge." (i.e. "Do you know the sign for blue, sign for blue, sign for blue? Do you know the sign for blue? Show me blue.")

*Find a Blue Scarf" sung to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin." Pass out colored scarves to participants, then sing and sign, "Find a blue scarf. Find a blue scarf." When the blue scarves have been "found," encourage participants to wave their "blue" scarf and sing the next portion of the verse, "I have blue. I have blue" (or "S/he has blue. S/he has blue."or "Sally has blue. Sally has blue.") Repeat this for several different rounds/colors based on the time/attention span available. This activity works well with infants/toddlers, too. The babies will enjoy the songs and the waving motion of the scarves, and the parents will learn the signs by singing and signing.

*"Where is the Red Hat?" sung to the tune of "The Farmer and the Dell." For this song, you'll need a bag full of colored hats. I sing and sign the beginning part of the verse for one of the colors I'm featuring, (i.e. "Where is the red hat? Where is the red hat?") then I fetch the related hat out of the bag and put it on my head and finish the verse ("Hi Ho the Derry O, I Found the Red Hat!"). Repeat this for several different colors based on time/attention span available. (An alternative that can be fun is to ask the children to close their eyes (they will peek...it's okay) and then "hide" the appropriate hat under a colorful blanket in the center of the circle. Preschoolers get an absolute thrill out of being able to anticipate and predict where the hat is "hidden" time and time again (and yes, I hide it in the same place each time--the kids can barely contain themselves by about the third time).

Play Signing Games:

*Have a colorful "cake walk." Set out a circle of colorful mats/carpet squares or other small props. Play music and instruct participants to move around the circle. When the music stops, each participant should stop near a colored mat or prop. Select a color that is represented in the circle and say (and/or show the sign for) that color. Anyone who is standing on/near that color (and who can make the correct sign for that color) wins a prize (or wins a chance to continue playing, while others sit out).

*Pass the colorful ball. I use a big ball I got at a science store in my hometown, but any colorful ball will do. Have participants sit in a circle. Start the ball moving around the circle by saying, "My name is ____ and I like the color _____" (using the color sign for the color word). Now, roll the ball to another player who says, "Thanks, ______. My name is _______, and I like the color ______," (again signing the color word). Play until everyone has had at least one chance, and/or until participants have learned each other's names.

*Sign Language Memory Game. Have participants stand in a circle. The first person begins by saying, "My name is _____ and I know the sign for the color ______" (using the color sign for the color word). The second person in the circle continues, "My name is ______ and I know the sign for the colors ______ and _______" (repeating the first color, and adding a new color, using the color signs for both). The third person continues, "My name is _____, and I know the sign for the colors ______, _______, and _______," (repeating the first two colors and adding a third, using the color signs for all of the color words), and so forth. A new round begins when someone cannot remember the string of colors in the right order.

*Sign Language Wiggle Buster: Have participants stand up. Call out for participants to engage in different movements based on the color of the clothing they are wearing. For example, "If your shirt is white, put your hand on your head." "If your shoes are brown, hop up and down three times." If you are wearing anything black, spin in a circle." "If your pants are blue, sit down." Use the signs for the colors you refer to during the game. This is a great game to get the wiggles out.

NOTE: Instructions for a wide variety signing games are included in each book in the "Story Time with Signs & Rhymes" series. Instructions for "Create a Deck of Cards," "Play Go Fish," and "Guess the Mystery Person" are offered on page 31 of "See the Colors."

Fun Facts:

*There are fun facts about ASL included on page 30 in each "Story Time with Signs & Rhymes" book.   Older kids particularly enjoy the fun facts, but even preschoolers, and the parents of infants/toddlers enjoy learning about ASL and/or Deaf Culture in addition to learning key signs.

*A fun fact I like to point out during the "colors" theme is that many of the signs for colors are signed using the handshape of the letter the color word begins with (i.e. the signs for blue and brown both use  "B hand." The sign for yellow uses the "Y hand," and the sign for green uses the "G hand.")

Craft Activities:

*Just about any crafty project can work into the "colors" theme; even a simple coloring sheet. To tie into the sign language story time, just ask participants to show you or a partner the signs for the different colors they've incorporated into their artwork.

*One craft activity I really like to use for this theme is to encourage participants to make their own "See the Colors" book. Give each participant 4 sheets of paper. Stack the paper, and fold in half to make a "book" that will be 8 pages. Offer art supplies and instructions to create one color-themed illustration per page. Encourage participants to read and sign their book to a partner.

Free Play Activities:

*Put out colorful blocks or balls and allow children to do what they do best; play. Encourage parents/caregivers to engage children with questions that invite the use of color signs in the conversation (i.e. "Will you hand me the red block?" "How many yellow balls can you find?")

Closing Song:

*I typically close each story time with a song that reviews the colors we've learned during the program. I usually sing this song AFTER I've given instructions for the craft and/or free play activities (if I have these elements planned for the program), but BEFORE I let participants transition to the craft and/or free play activities. I often sing the same song that I opened the program with (For example, "We Learned the Sign for Red/Blue/Green/Brown/Pink/Etc Today" to the tune of "Here We Go "Round the Mulberry Bush," but any closing song that incorporates words/signs for the colors introduced in the book will work).

That wraps up this week's "Start to Finish Story Time." I hope this has been helpful, and I look forward to your input and ideas, which I will incorporate into future posts. If you are planning your own Sign Language Story Time event, be sure to check out the great resources my publisher has developed to help you plan your own event (scroll down past the Star Wars Event Info).

If you love the ideas I've shared, but would prefer that I deliver the Sign Language Story Time to your students or patrons, invite me to your school or library, or ask me about Skype visits!

Happy Signing! Dawn

January 22, 2013

Six Key Skills to Prepare Children to Become Readers When they Enter School: Summary Post

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Back in March and April of 2012, I wrote a series of posts that summarized the six key skills recommended by the National Research Council for preparing children to become readers when they enter school, and I shared practical examples for incorporating these elements when reading the books in my Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series with children.

These six skills are routinely emphasized by the American Library Association and their member libraries. Since I'll be at the ALA Midwinter Conference this coming weekend, (January, 2013) and I'm asked about this series of posts fairly regularly, I thought I'd create a summary post to bring them all together! Here goes:

Print Motivation: Make Reading Fun

Yee Ha Hee Ha Ho! Ideas for Building Phonological Awareness

There's a Story In My Head: Developing Narrative Skills in Young Readers

Pusillanimous: Enrich Children's Vocabulary

Show Me a Sign (as in a street sign): Ideas for Building Print Awareness

It's All Greek to Me: Ideas for Developing Letter Knowledge

And . . . here is a link to related resources, including a great summary of books that are especially helpful in emphasizing the six early literacy skills. (This link will bring you to a page created by Melissa Depper, Youth Services Librarian at the Arapahoe Library District. There are many images on this page, so in my experience it takes awhile to load. Be patient. It's worth it!).

January 16, 2013

Capture That Story: Summary Post

For the past few weeks I've been writing about a self-directed student learning activity involving making book trailers. I'm thrilled to share a resulting film project that was produced by two fifth graders (using a flip camera to film and iMovie to edit). They did a creative re-telling of my book, "The Big Blue Bowl." This was their first-ever film project, and I think they did a wonderful job!

The full discussion/lesson plans took place over a series of three posts. You can find them here:

Introduction and Sample Book Trailers

Choose a Book and Plan Your Book Trailer

Film, Edit and Share Your Book Trailer

More Examples of Book Trailers Made by Students

I look forward to receiving more samples of student work inspired by this project and/or hearing about how you incorporated this project into your own learning environment.

Dec 6, 2013 Update: I just read this great article in School Library Journal about a school that held a student film festival as a way to raise money for technology at their school. When I read the article I thought it would be a great idea for a culminating event for schools/students doing other film-related projects, such as Book Trailers!

Let me know if you coordinate something like this at your school involving any book trailers for my books (re: I'd love to be involved in some way). 

January 14, 2013

Capture That Story (Film, Edit and Publish Your Book Trailer)

Greetings innovative teachers, librarians, home schoolers, scout troop leaders and readers interested in books and technology! Today's post offers parts five and six of my lesson plan for a hands-on, self-guided Book Trailer Project that you can incorporate into your own learning environment.

As I noted in an earlier post, I'm embarking on a quest to capture video footage of story time experiences  involving books in my Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series and/or book trailers for titles in my series. For a limited time, I will provide a complimentary Skype/Facetime or Email Author visit with any group that shares a video of this nature that is suitable and available for upload to YouTube.

So far I've Introduced the Project and Provided Sample Book Trailers and discussed Choosing a Book and Planning Your Book Trailer. This week's focus is on Filming, Editing and Publishing Your Book Trailer.

Part Five: Film and Edit Your Book Trailer

Film and edit your book trailer using the tips and guidelines described in this website (developed by Michelle Harclerode, a Teacher Librarian in Florida).

Additional Resources
*If you decide to include background music in your trailer, be sure to use royalty free music (or obtain the proper rights to the music).  Mrs. Hembree, a teacher in Seattle, Washington, who has done book trailer projects in her classroom suggests that students use the royalty free music from Kevin MacLeod on his website, Incompetech.com. He shares his music for free for others to use as long as you give him credit. 

If you want to use pictures or other images in your book trailer, it’s important that you find images that are “copyright friendly” (i.e. so you are not using someone else’s copyright protected files). If you use Google Advanced Image Search, at the very bottom of the screen, next to the option for “usage rights,” click on one of the “free to use” choices. This will filter your image search so that you only get images that are copyright friendly.  The Rochester High School website also has lots of links for other copyright friendly resources.   

Photo Credit: ABDO Publishing Group
*If you want jpegs of the book covers in the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series, or a picture of me, those resources can be found here.  

*If you want access to electronic/PDF files of any of the books in the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series (beyond what is available via the Google eBook previews ), please contact me, so I can put you in touch with my publisher.

Part Six: Publish and Announce Your Book Trailer

If you’d like to share your finished project with me, message me or let me know via comment, and we'll make arrangements so I can get a link to your video and plan for your complimentary author visit via Skype/Facetime or Email.  I can’t wait to see your work (and, if I have your permission, and the permission of those who have been filmed, I’ll share it with others). Even if you don't share your work with me, I hope you had fun and learned a lot and will share feedback about your experience with me.  

*Need inspiration? Here is a link to a video project produced by two fifth grade boys.  I think they did a great job, don't you agree?!

*If you really enjoyed this project, and/or you want to do something similar, (and you can finish your project before February 1, 2013), there is a fun, 90-Second Newbery Book Film Festival that you might want to participate in. The Multnomah County Library, in Portland, Oregon, my hometown, is one of the national screening locations. You can find out more about this project here and here.  

January 9, 2013

Capture That Story (Choose a Book and Plan Your Book Trailer)

Today's post is geared for innovative teachers and librarians, home schoolers, scout troop leaders and readers interested in books and technology! I'll continue with parts three and four of my lesson plan for a hands-on, self-guided Book Trailer Project that you can incorporate into your own learning environment.

As I noted in my last post, I'm embarking on a quest to capture video footage of story time experiences  involving books in my Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series and/or book trailers for titles in my series. For a limited time, I will provide a complimentary Skype/Facetime or Email Author visit with any group that shares a video of this nature that is suitable and available for upload to YouTube.

This week's focus is on Choosing a Book and Planning Your Book Trailer. (NOTE: The Voki video below may not be viewable with iPads or other devices that do not use Flash)

Part Three: Choose A Book

Now that you know what book trailers are, and you’ve seen some samples, I hope you will decide to make a book trailer. To get started, choose a book you’d like to feature in your book trailer.  

You can choose whatever book you like, but I HOPE you will consider one of my books from the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series (Set One or Set Two) because I would LOVE to feature your trailers on my websiteblog, and YouTube channel! If you choose one of my books, they are easy to find in libraries around the world using Worldcat. You can find eBook previews here.

Part Four: Plan Your Book Trailer

You can find an excellent resource for planning your book trailer here, (on the website of Michelle Harclerode, an innovative Teacher Librarian in Florida).

Some special things to consider if you are using a book from the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes Series:

*Learning and demonstrating a little bit of American Sign Language (ASL) will enhance your book trailer. You can find online sign language dictionaries here.  

*You can find downloadable glossaries and sign language activity ideas here (scroll down past the “Star Wars” info).

*Some of the books can be “sung” to the tune of familiar children’s songs. Read this blog post for a list of the songs that match up with some of my books.

*The books in this series are geared for three to eight year olds. Consider involving kids in this age group (siblings, neighbors, younger kids from your school) in your project.  Kids in this age group usually LOVE to sing and sign. (You will need to obtain appropriate releases to show other people on film.  Your teacher should have the appropriate release forms that will need to be signed by parents, but if not, feel free to contact me and I will send you a sample release form). 

*There are ASL Fun Facts and Activity Ideas in the back of each book. You can also find out more information by reading some recent interviews with me (scroll down past the Mike Thaler and Stan Lee interviews). 

In my next post I'll discuss filming and publishing your book trailer. In the meantime, please feel free to message me directly or via the comment section if you have questions or requests for additional information.

January 2, 2013

Capture That Story! (Introduction and Sample Book Trailers)

Calling all innovative teachers and librarians, home schoolers, scout troop leaders and readers interested in books and technology! I'm embarking on a quest to capture video footage of story time experiences  involving books in my Story Time with Signs and Rhymes series and/or book trailers for titles in my series. For a limited time, I will provide a complimentary Skype/Facetime or Email Author visit with any group that shares of video of this nature that is suitable and available for upload to YouTube. If you're in my local area, I will also donate a limited number of in-person visits for groups that are willing to capture my story time program on film so that I can upload the experience to YouTube.

As a fun extra, over the next several weeks I'll share my lesson plan for a hands-on, self-guided Book Trailer Project that you can incorporate into your own learning environment.  This week I'll introduce the project and provide sample book trailers.

Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions in the meantime (or if you have a need for the full lesson plan before I have posted all of it out to the blog).  (NOTE: The Voki video below may not be viewable with iPads or other devices that do not use Flash)

Part One: Introduction

Greetings! Thanks for stopping by the Book Trailer Project page. My name is Dawn Babb Prochovnic. I’m the author of 16 picture books in the Story Time with Signs & Rhymes series. None of my books have book trailers...yet. I’m hoping YOU will help me change that!

Most people are familiar with movie trailers. Those are the short movie previews that persuade people to watch a particular movie. A book trailer is a short movie that previews a particular book and persuades people to read that book.

Part Two: Sample Book Trailers

A book trailer can come in many different forms: 

It can be a preview of the book. Here is an animated example for the book, Ollie and Moon by Diane Kredensor, and here is an example with still shots from Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, by Robin Koontz. 

It can be an animated retelling of the book such as this example for the book, An Army of A’s by Robert Scott Kelly.

It can be an creative retelling, with still shots from the book. Check out this example for the book, A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker. 

It can be a demonstration of a unique element of the book. Here is YouTube video of me singing and signing along with my book, See the Colors.

It can be a series of filmed interviews or interactions with people (kids!) who have read the book. Here is an example for the book, Pete the Cat, by Eric Litwin.  

It can be audio interviews with people (kids!) who have read the book and funny film footage to go along with the audio. This is a great trailer for the book, Little Chicken’s Big Day, by Katie Davis.

It can be a book talk with one or more students sharing favorite parts or unique aspects of the book. Watch this book talk for the book, Song of the Water Boatman, by Joyce Sidman. 

It can be a staged reading of the book. Here is a YouTube video of me reading and signing along with my book, One Trick for One Treathere is an example of me reading Wear a Silly Hat to a group of children, and here is a really popular YouTube video of Eric Litwin and friends reading his book book, Pete the Cat, with a live audience. 

It can be an audio reading of the book with close ups and creative camera work of the book art. Here is an example for the book, The Little Mouse, The Red-Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood.

It can be a creative re-interpretation of the book, as shown in these examples for the book, Uh-Oh!, by Mary Newell DePalma and the book, Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle. 

The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! You can find more examples here, (on the website of Mrs. Hembree, a library teacher from Bell Elementary in the Seattle area) and here (on another author's blog post about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival). 

Stay tuned. Next week I'll discuss choosing your book and planning your book trailer.

(January 2014: Here is a fun update! Mrs. Hembree and I met at a library conference in October 2013. She recently started a "Book Trailer Club" at her school and some of the students in the club are going to work on book trailers for my books! Here is a sample book trailer Mrs. Hembree created for my book, Shape Detective. She created it during winter break . . . using iMovie on her iPhone! I LOVE it! Once Mrs. Hembree's students start sending me their book trailers, I will post them on this summary page).