Bookish website

Bookish is a new book recommendation and e-commerce site competing with the likes of GoodreadsLibrary thing and Amazon. Although some question the effectiveness of these sites, Bookish promises a different experience based on the resources and expertise available to publishers driving the project.

Bookish is a collaboration between a group of major publishers  claiming their recommendations engine, with input from real editors, is the best yet. With publishing heavyweights like Penguin, Random House and Scholastic on board, the site has already collected an impressive list of contributors, 400 000 author profiles and 1.2 million books in their catalogue.

At this stage, Bookish is leaving the social aspect of recommendations to established sites like Goodreads although they do link to Facebook. Their focus is editorial content – delivering magazine style essays, articles, news and reviews written by authors and professional editors.

Bookish represents an interesting commercial model for publishers to position themselves as an alternative to community based book recommendation sites. Whether Bookish stays impartial, only time will tell.

Free event with author of Brotherband, John Flanagan

On Sunday 23rd October, 2-3pm The Centre for Youth Literature will be hosting a free event at the State Library of Victoria with author John Flanagan, launching his new Viking series, Brotherband. John will be talking about the books and answering questions from the audience.

The event is free but bookings are essential. You can call 8664 7099, book online or via email, More information about the event is available on the Read Alert blog.

Keep an eye out for Vikings at the event!

Brotherband by John Flanagan

Teen book videos

St. Patrick’s College of Ballarat hosted its annual Immersion Week for the students in year 9.  This included students participating in two and three day elective units.  One of those units, ‘Teen Book Video Awards’, was created by the dynamic teaching team of Michael Goss and Julia Petrov.

The unit involved students using online tools to create book trailers and publishing them to the Library webpage. The students used Windows Movie Maker to construct the trailer, Jam Studio to create the music and Flickr images as well as their own photography.  The end result was impressive and the students are now keen to vote for their favourite trailer.

Here are two examples of student work:

Shutter Island by Lachy L and Joey S

Cirque du Freak by Lachlan K and Ash D

And here is the unit outline.


Digital Trailers


Everyone loves a good story, so why not share some of the stories you have loved with others? In this unit you will create a 90 second book trailer that will be entered into a competition. You will:

  • Choose a book from a set list and/or bring along two of your favourite books;
  • Become familiar with the film platform for recording your trailer;
  • Learn about how to persuade an audience; and,
  • Enter your trailer into a competition.

Digital storytelling requires a different way of thinking about how you might develop and present the information about your book/s. You can choose from a variety of digital platforms to develop and present your trailer.


At the conclusion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Create an engaging representation of a book in a well-structured multimodal text.
  • Participate in discussions and conversations about various strategies you will use to connect, organise and structure you text.
  • Use a digital platform to publish your trailer
  • Develop your skills as a writer.


The trailer will be assessed using a rubric including the following elements:

  • audience;
  • text structure;
  • ideas;
  • character/s and setting;
  • vocabulary;
  • cohesion;
  • conventions (spelling, sentences, paragraphs)


Teen Book Video Awards is a two-day unit.

Thanks to Ria Coffey for this guest post and to the students for sharing their work.

BTFA – Book Trailers For All

BTFA was created by Teresa Schauer, a district librarian in South Texas. Like many of us, Teresa began making book trailers with Windows Movie Maker, but soon discovered Animoto. Teresa also discovered there wasn’t really a place online to find and share other free book trailers, so decided to create BTFA.  


If you don’t have the time to make your own book trailers, have a look at some of the ones available at BTFA. You can search by year level and can also view ‘official trailers’. Below is an example of what you can find. It is a trailer for Something Rotten, by Alan Gratz and was created by Suzanne Severns of Arlington, Texas.

Book trailers are a great way to encourage reluctant readers to want to find out more about a story, and to give confident readers a taste of different genres. Book trailers can be a way to show literature circle groups the novels they can choose from; they can be shown in the library during lunchtimes (if your library has an IWB or tv monitor); they can be a way to encourage students to contribute reviews to review sites, and; book trailers can also be a form of assessment.

Animoto: A favourite of 2010

Animoto  changed the way we did things in the library at Mooroopna Secondary College in 2010. We used Animoto to create book trailers from photos, video clips, and music. Using the videos that animoto collated for us, we had a new way to connect to the students, one that far surpassed trying to talk to reluctant readers about a book that we thought they would like. Showing them a book trailer talks to them in ways we never could. Below is an example of a book trailer created by library staff in June 2010, for The Book of Lies by James Maloney:

We have found that many students connect with the book trailer format, as it is in the same vein as a movie trailer. Since using Animoto the library staff have presented book trailers to english literature circle classes to showcase novels (using the IWB). We have connected with authors, some of whom have kindly given us images to use in the book trailers of their books. Furthermore, we have been invited to go into the classrooms to show staff and students how to use this tool. The students, especially, like seeing each others completed Animotos. Currently, a media class is using Animoto to create cybersafety videos.

A question that is often asked is “how do we get our class signed up?”. One option I use is below:

* First sign up in Animoto for Education. This provides you with an education code to get Animoto Plus.

* Create a ‘fake’ account in gmail for your class, e.g.

* Sign yourself up to Animoto using this email address and the education code Animoto would have sent you via email.

Animoto sign-up

* Now, sign-up each of your students using your fake gmail account. To do this, you need to add a  ‘+1’, ‘+2’, ‘+3’ etc. to the email address for each student.  E.g. student 1’s email address would be:; student 2’s email address would be:; student 3’s email address would be, etc.. Don’t forget to include the education code when signing up.

* Don’t forget to write down the email address and password for each of your students.

* The benefit of having them all signed up like this is that each student’s Animoto video will go to the fake gmail account that you control. Therefore, you can monitor their use and assessing their work is made simpler.

I must admit, for large classes this is quite laborious, and if you could it would be easier to have each student sign themselves up using the email address (as above) that you assign them.

 Animoto is enjoyable to use, and at Mooroopna Secondary College we are now seeing students submit reviews for our review blog MSC’s licorice allsorts using this applicaiton (things were quite dry on that front!).

If you have a particularly favourite tool of 2010, please leave a comment and let us know.