Book Trailerzzz with Pizzazz

By Jenniffer Witherspoon


Book Trailerzzz with Pizzazz are exactly what they sound like! They are trailers, short, filmed advertisements, about books - with pizzazz. This slang terminology may appeal to the teen target audience. The pizzazz of these Book Trailerzzz comes from the teen's own creativity and from books that they are recommending.

Teens may have heard of similar short films being referred to as "book trailers" or "book teasers," but these terms are registered trademarks of Circle of Seven productions. In school and public libraries, Book Trailerzzz may be used to entice students to read recommended titles. They can be great fillers to use during book talks and can be used to introduce books.

In this program, teens will learn how to create a teaser for a book of their choice. Remind them that Book Trailerzzz are not full length movies of the book, but just commercials or teasers for the book. Book Trailerzzz are a great way for teens to express their creative side, but also help you, the librarian/teacher, increase literacy.

Content for book videos can be created in a number of ways. The most common book videos use digital photos that are either original or found on sites that offer copyright-free photographs and imported video clips. These file sharing sites include permission from the creators to use the work. These still and video clips are "storyboarded" into a short commercial teaser for the selected book. Motion is added to make the still photos move and transition. Text and music can be added to enhance the experience.

Although making book videos is complex and may sound complicated, it really is not that difficult for teens. Many upper elementary school, middle school, and high school classes use the technology to create short movies. Also staff members of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission field-tested the instructions and were able to create a book trailer in a short period of time.

This program provides details five general steps to making Book Trailerzzz.

  • Discuss credits and attributions for photos and music.
  • Find images on The Creative Commons.
  • Create the video using Photo Story of Movie Maker.
  • Find music on The Creative Commons, Freeplay Music, or Photo Story.
  • Save as a WMV file and share the video.

Length of Program

The time required for this program will depend on the level of the teens' computer literacy and the time they require to be creative. Experienced teens might create a simple 30 to 60 second Book Trailerzzz such as this example in 45 minutes to an hour. Teens learning the programs may require 6 to 8 hours to complete their Book Trailerzzz.

A recommended time allotment is five two-hour sessions, allowing teens to do some work at home. To save time or include more teens, allow teens who have read and enjoyed the same book to work in pairs.


Many teens will have some experience with the technology used in creating Book Trailerzzz, but experience is not a requirement. For the program, they will need computers with internet access, audio capabilities, (including headphones if the computers are in a public area), free downloadable programs such as Microsoft Windows Movie Maker or Microsoft Photo Story 3, and creativity. The computers can be provided by the library or teens can bring their own lap tops. "Mini" computers or netbooks may not be compatible with the program because of software issues and the amount of storage space required.

Some teens will find the planning period to be more tedious than the actual creating process. The actual searching of images to represent ideas, thoughts, and moods may take a good bit of time.

Several people can perform the actual presentation and coordination of the program's activities. If the librarian chooses to present the activity, it is advised that he or she first create their own Book Trailerzzz. This will help with the teaching portion of the activity because the librarian will be familiar with the issues that may come up within the activity. Alternatively, the librarian may invite members of a teen advisory board or teenage patrons who know how to create Book Trailerzzz to be presenters. Librarians may also invite special guests experienced with storyboarding skills, who are proficient with the software, or who can help teens with still or video cameras. The program can be as simple or intricate as desired.

Before the program, view examples of teen-created book videos on sites such as M2 Productions at, YouTube and Circle of Seven Productions at (A high school student who has developed her own business creating book videos created M2 Production.) On the Circle of Seven web site, click on the "videos" link to find all the "book trailers" that the company has created, or use the search function to find trailers for specific titles. On YouTube, search for book videos using the terms, "book trailer" and "book teaser," along with book titles. Be aware that the terms yield different results and the results may not all be relevant.

A contest could be a great incentive to get teens into the library to participate in creating book videos. You may sponsor a contest or tell the teens about existing contests and awards, such as The Kirkus Book Video Awards ( This competition challenges student filmmakers to create video trailers based on three upcoming young-adult novels to be published by Random House Children's Books.

Upload the teens' completed Book Trailerzzz to YouTube, add links to the library's web page, or display them on a television monitor or computer monitor in the library. Be sure that all of the images and music in the videos are copyright free and appropriately credited, and be sure that you have permission from the teens. Further discussion of copyright and credit/attribution is included in the Activities section below.

Books to Share

Share books such as these from the Lone Star and TAYSHAS reading lists that can serve as inspiration for the book videos the teens create.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

Books to Show or Booktalk

Show or Booktalk these titles with book trailers available at Circle of Seven Productions, Many more titles may be found on YouTube,

Dork Diaries by Rachel Russell
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Night World Series Book One: Secret Vampire; Daughters of Darkness; Spellbinder by L. J. Smith
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters
The Summoning and the Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Bulletin Board

Book Trailerzzz with Pizzazzz

To announce this program to teen patrons in the library, display flyers with times and brief descriptions of the program along with movie memorabilia. For example, display movie ticket stubs and book covers surrounded by a border made from an old film reel.


Begin the program by asking the teens if they have ever seen Book Trailerzzz. After hearing responses, introduce the teens to Book Trailerzzz and show some examples (see the Books to Show or Booktalk section for examples). If you know of teens who have created their own Book Trailerzzz, ask them to show theirs to the group.

Before the teens begin to produce their Book Trailerzzz, they should plan what they want it to look like. Planning is the key to timely Book Trailerzzz production. Planning will allow the teens to visualize an end product. Without planning, teens could spend all their time searching for images and revising their original ideas.

One way to begin is to ask the teens to write down a one or two sentence synopsis of the book. Then ask them to make a list of five emotions the characters felt and five moods the authors created. Next, have the teens think of images that help convey these emotions and moods. Images can be abstract or literal depending on the book and the teen's creativity.

Text for the Book Trailerzzz should be enticing and minimal. Let the teens know that the text on each screen shot should not be more than a few words or a single sentence and that too much text takes away from the image.

Copy and distribute the directions below to help teens create their Book Trailerzzz.

Step 1: Discuss Credit/Attribution for Photographs and Music
Credit/Attribution in Windows Movie Maker

Any easy way to credit/attribute photos and music in Windows Movie Maker is to create a text page for the music credits and a text page for the photo credits. Additional pages may be added if necessary. Here are the steps to creating the text pages.

  1. Look under "2. Edit Movie", and select Make Titles or Credits.
  2. Select one of the 'add title' options.
  3. Type your text in the text box.
  4. To change the font or color, select 'Change the Font and Color.'
  5. To change the transition of the slide, select 'Change the title animation.'
  6. When you are finished, select 'Done, add title to movie.'

Here is an alternate way to credit/attribute photos and music in Windows Movie Maker. The drawback of this method is that you have no control over the timing or spacing of the credits. Windows Movie Maker inserts multiple slides and scrolls them slowly, which is undesirable in a 30-second video.

  1. Look under "2. Edit Movie", and select Make Titles or Credits.
  2. Select one of the 'add title' options, or the select 'credits at the end of the movie' option. We recommend the 'add title' option, as this option is easier to navigate and space.
  3. In the 'add title' option, type your text in the text box.
  4. To change the font or color, select 'Change the Font and Color.'
  5. To change the transition of the slide, select 'Change the title animation.'
  6. When you are finished, select 'Done, add title to movie.'
Crediting/Attributing Music from Online Sources

When crediting/attributing music retrieved from online sources, include the following information.

  • Name of music
  • Composer (If available)
  • Performer (if available)
  • URL where the music was retrieved
  • URL of terms of use allowing you to use the music
Crediting/Attributing Photographs from Online Sources
  • When attributing photography retrieved from online sources, include the following information.
  • Name of photographer (when available)
  • If a name is not available, use any other identifying moniker (i.e. screen name, etc.).
  • URL of photo
Crediting/Attributing Photographs and Music from The Creative Commons

The Creative Commons ( licenses photographs, audio recordings, videos, images, text, and more. There are four basic types of Creative Commons licenses. Creators may choose a combination of these licenses.

Attribution Attribution (by) – You may copy, distribute, display, and perform the licensed, copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it —if you credit the original work in the way the creator requests.
Share Alike Share Alike (sa) – You may distribute derivative works under a Share Alike license identical to the license that governs the original work.
Noncommercial Non-Commercial (nc) – You may copy, distribute, display, and perform the licensed work – and derivative works based upon it — for non-commercial purposes only
No Derivative Works No Derivative Works (nd) – You may copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of the licensed work, not derivative works based upon it.

Note: Attribution is the most accommodating of the licenses offered. A best practice is for teens to use music and photos that merely require attribution.

Attribution-Share Alike is a common combination license.

Attribution Share Alike Attribution-Share Alike – A combination Attribution-Share Alike license ( allows remixing, tweaking, and building upon a work - even for commercial purposes - as long as credit is given to the original creator, and new creations are licensed under identical terms.

Here is an example of a Creative Commons Permission for The Postmen by The Postmen.

You can copy, distribute, advertise and play this album as long as you:
Attribution Give Credit to the artist
Noncommercial Don't use this album for commercial purposes
Share Alike Distribute all derivative works under the same license.

When using a photograph by rights of a Creative Commons Attribution License, teens will include the following information in the credit/attribution.

  • The name of the original creator
  • The name of the specific license
  • The URL of the license information

For example, when using a photograph by rights of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, teens will include the following information in the credit/attribution.

The name of the original creator
The URL of the original creation
A notice that that work is issued under The Creative Commons – the Attribution-ShareAlike license.

When using music by rights of a Creative Commons Attribution License, teens will include the following information in the credit/attribution.

  • Name of music
  • Composer (If available)
  • The name of the specific license
  • The URL of the license information
Step 2: Find Images on Creative Commons.

Follow these steps to finding images for the book video on Creative Commons.

  1. Open The Creative Commons,
  2. Click on the "Find" tab.
  3. On the screen that appears, make sure that the box "modify, adapt, or build upon" is checked at the top of the screen in the green-boxed area.
  4. Type in a search term for images in the search box and hit enter.
  5. On the next screen, which should be the results page, make sure that either Google "image" or Flickr "image" is highlighted. These results will be filtered for images. (To search for a new term it is imperative that the search term is typed in the search bar in the green box, otherwise the results might be for copyrighted material.)
  6. Right click on the desired image. Save the image to the desired location. (When saving the picture, tell teens to create a name for the image that includes the name of the person who uploaded the image. This will help teens keep track of images and their creators so that they can easily create a list of credits at the end of the video.) Also, tell the teens to make sure the image is marked "Share Alike" or "Creative Commons" so that they know that permission is extended for use of the image.
Step 3: Create the Book Video using Photo Story or Movie Maker.
  • Computers with access to free software photo editing software (i.e., Microsoft Photo Story 3) and Internet access.
  • Storage for digital content (USB storage devices, computer discs, or internally on the computer)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint.

Follow these steps to create a book video using Microsoft Photo Story.

  1. Open Photo Story.
  2. Choose begin a new story.
  3. Click next.
  4. Click "import pictures."
  5. Locate where image files are stored.
  6. Hold the "ctrl" key and click on the images and photos. Holding the "Crtl" key allows selection of more than one picture at a time.
  7. After selecting the pictures, click on "ok."
    1. If there are black borders around the images, teens can click on "remove black borders" for one or all of the photos.
  8. To change the order of photos, click and hold the picture and drag it to its new location.
  9. Open Microsoft PowerPoint.
    1. On one slide, create a credits page for all the images in the video and for any music other than that provided by Photo Story.
    2. Click "save as" and select save as a jpeg.
    3. Follow steps 4 through 7 to import the newly saved credits page into your video.
  10. Arrange the credits page to be the last page of the video.
  11. Once your pictures are in order, click on "next."
  12. On this page, you are able to add any text or wording that you would like.
    1. Type the text that you would like to put on the picture in the text box.
    2. After typing in your text, you can change the font, coloring, and alignment by clicking on the different smaller boxes above the text box.
      1. The box with the A is for the font.
      2. The next box with a bunch of lines in it adjusts the alignment of the text to the left, center, or right of the picture.
      3. The next box with two lines is for adjusting the placement of the text up, center, or down in the picture.
    3. You will have to adjust text for each image where you have text.
  13. Once you have all the text on all the images you want, click on "next."
  14. On this page, you can customize the image's motion.
    1. Click on "customize motion."
    2. Click on the box in front of "specify start and end position of motion."
    3. Place your mouse on the corners of the pictures until you see a two-sided diagonal arrow and not a four-sided one.
      1. Drag the arrows until you have the smaller border around where you want the image to start.
      2. With the four-sided arrow, you can click and drag the border to where you want it positioned.
      3. You can now do the same for the second box or leave it alone and have this as the final image.
      4. Click on "preview" to see how the motion will look.
    4. Now you can play with the transition of the current slide to the next slide.
      1. Click on the "transition" tab at the top of the screen.
      2. View the preview of what the transition looks like.
      3. When you are satisfied, click "save" and then "close."
    5. Repeat these steps for all your slides.
  15. On this page, you can also use a microphone to record your voice onto an image.
  16. When you finish customizing motion, transitions, and recordings, click "next."
  17. Now teens can add music to their images.
    1. Teens can upload their own music from CDs (remember to adhere to copyright laws).
    2. Alternatively, teens can "create music" using Photo Story's music.
      1. Click "create music" and a sample will play as you change the different settings.
        1. Choose the genre for your music.
        2. Choose style.
        3. Choose bands.
        4. Choose moods.
        5. Click and drag the pointer on the tempo bar.
        6. Choose the intensity.
      2. Click "ok" when you get the desired music.
  18. Click "preview" to see what your video will look like.
  19. If you like what you see, click "next." If you don't like what you see, click "back" and repeat steps 12-17 to make the changes to the images and/or audio.
  20. After you click "next," you will be asked how you want to save the file and where you want to save it.
    1. Click "Save your story for playback on your computer."
    2. Click on "browse" and select "desktop."
    3. Once the file is saved, you can either opt to "view your story" or "create another story" If you don't want to do either, click on "exit."
Book Trailerzzz Using Windows Movie Maker

This option is a little more intense and time consuming. If you have Windows on your computer, you should already have Windows Movie Maker. If it is not already loaded on the computer, it can be downloaded from Microsoft, The steps below are not for Windows Live Movie Maker which is used with the operating systems of Windows 7 and Vista. The steps are similar, but modifications will be needed.

  • Computers with access Microsoft Windows Movie Maker and the Internet
  • Storage for digital content (USB storage devices, computer discs, or internally on the computer)

Follow Steps 1 through 6 above to finding images for the book video on Creative Commons.

Step 4: Find Music

Teens may find music on The Creative Commons, FreePlay Music, or Photo Story. Instructions for locating music in Photo Story are provided in Step 3 above.

The Creative Commons

To find music through Creative Commons, click the "jamendo" tab and follow the same steps for searching for images. Download the music and save it to a file that can be imported into Movie Maker.

Freeplay Music

Freeplay Music is for personal and educational use only. Libraries may not upload teens' Book Trailerzzz that include music from Freeplay Music. According to the licensing agreement at, only personal and in-class education uses are allowed without a paid license.

Follow these steps to find music on Freeplay Music.

  1. Go to Freeplay Music,
  2. On the "Freeplay" music web site, scroll over to the right side of the page and locate the box labeled "feel." In this box, you will find a list of words that represent a mood. Scroll down the list until you find a mood that you want created in your movie. You can also search by style, keyword, and volume.
  3. Click on the mood that you desire.
  4. On the next screen, you will find a list of different songs. Note that highlighted in orange you will find various lengths of the music. You need to find music that will fit your video.
  5. Once you have found the music you want, right click on the time in the MP3 list. Choose "save target as" and save the file to your desired location.
  6. Before you leave the page, you need to write the credit information in a Word document. You need to record the title, creator, and the web site where you found this information for your credits page.
Step 5: Share Your Video

Follow these steps to create your movie:

  1. Open Movie Maker.
  2. Import pictures.
    1. In the pop up screen, locate where your pictures are stored.
    2. Hold the "ctrl" button and use the mouse to click on the pictures you want imported.
    3. Once all the pictures are chosen, click "import."
  3. Grab and drag the pictures from the collection area to the line area that says "video." You can move them in the order you want them in to the video area.
  4. Once your pictures are in order, begin adding "video effects."
    1. Click on "video effects."
    2. Grab and drag the effect to the picture you want.
    3. Do this for all the pictures where you want to have a "video effect."
  5. Now work on "video transitions."
    1. Click on "video transitions."
    2. Grab and drag the transition to the picture you want it to affect.
    3. Do this for all the pictures where you want to have a "video transition."
  6. Add text to the screen.
    1. Click on "make titles or credits."
    2. Choose where you want your text to appear.
    3. Type the text in the box.
    4. Click on "change the title animation."
      1. Choose how you want your text to appear in the picture.
    5. Click on "change the text font and color."
      1. Choose the color, size, and position of your text.
    6. Click "Done, add title to movie."
    7. Click on "make titles or credits."
    8. Choose "add credits at the end of the movie."
      1. Create a credits page for the images and music used in the movie.
  7. Add music to your movie.
    1. Click on "import audio or music."
    2. Locate where you music is stored.
    3. Select your audio file and click "import."
    4. Click on the audio file in the collection area and drag it to the audio/music bar area.
    5. At this point, your music may be either too long or not long enough.
      1. You can cut your music down by moving the black arrows on either side of the white box until it matches the length of the pictures above.
      2. You can click and drag more music into the music bar area until you get the amount of music that you need.
  8. When you have the music and the pictures where you want them, you will save the project. This is the third of Movie Maker three steps, located on the left side of the screen.
    1. Save your project
    2. File
    3. Save project
    4. Select location
    5. Save your movie file.
      1. Select either "File – Save Movie File" or "Step 3" on the menu at the left of the screen
      2. Choose "save to my computer."
      3. Give the movie a name.
      4. Click on "Browse."
      5. Click on a location to save the video (e.g. desktop, c drive, flash drive)
      6. Click "ok."
      7. Click "next."
      8. Click "next" once more.
  9. You will see the activity bar in this screen as it saves.
  10. Once the project is saved, the program will ask you if you want to view the video or exit the program.

Professional Resources

Web Site

Digital Booktalk
This University of Florida web site offers a database of book videos including many created by K-12 students.

Copyright Concerns

There is no clearly defined rule about using the images of book covers. If you or your teens plan to use the image of a book cover, it is suggested that you get permission from the publishing company. It is also suggested that permission be granted from the publisher before images from a picture book or graphic novel are reproduced in any book video. Most publishers include a contact point for rights and permissions on their web site. Additionally some publishers provide downloadable images of book jackets on their web site, at the same time granting permission for certain non-commercial uses.

Page last modified: August 15, 2011