November 30, 2022

Seven Top Trailers to Hook Kids on Books


By Karen Springen

Once upon a time, publishers promoted books with jacket blurbs, bookmarks, and author tours. Then six years ago, YouTube changed the rules of the game. Today publishers are spending as much as $20,000 a pop to create book trailers—30- to 90-second teasers, à la movie trailers, designed to generate virtual and word-of-mouth buzz and, of course, to sell titles. “Trailers are definitely a staple in our marketing,” says Diane Naughton, HarperCollins’s vice president of marketing. “Video is something kids have almost come to expect.”

Following are choice examples in the genre. For the rest of SLJ‘s feature story, see “The Big Tease: Trailers are a terrific way to hook kids on books.”

Chloe (Balzer & Bray, 2012) by Peter McCarty (K-Gr 2)

Kids ages two and up can see a charmingly illustrated teaser about a middle-child bunny from a large family in this tale by the Caldecott Honor–winning author of Henry in Love.

Charlotte’s Web, 60th anniversary edition (HarperCollins, 2012) by E. B. White

The video begins with “In 1952 the world fell in love with a terrific, radiant, humble pig” and shows some pages from the famous book, with some audio excerpts.

Curveball (Scholastic, 2012) by Jordan Sonnenblick (Gr 7-9)

In this conversational book trailer, the author sits in a library and chats with the viewer. His first sentence: “Warning: This book contains no vampires.” Instead, the main character is Peter, a high school freshman whose pitching career ends with a freakish injury. As the author tells viewers, “The hardest thing in life to do is to hit that curveball life throws at you.”

The Moon Over High Street (Scholastic, 2012) by Natalie Babbitt (Gr 4-7)

Rather than actors depicting scenes from this novel about a 12-year-old boy in the ’60s, this trailer is a homespun chat with author Natalie Babbitt, the author of Tuck Everlasting, as she sits by a fireplace in her living room. She also reads excerpts from her marked-up manuscript.

The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012) by Katherine Applegate (Gr 3-7)

Ivan, an easygoing gorilla who lives behind glass walls at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, rarely misses his life in the jungle. This trailer nudges potential readers of this book to find out what happens to Ivan when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family.

Partials (Balzer & Bray, 2012) by Dan Wells (Gr 9 & Up)

This intriguing YA trailer shows “archival” footage about “partials”—a half-century in the future—who are not quite 100 percent human.

The Raven Boys (Scholastic, September 2012) by Maggie Stiefvater (Ages 12 & Up)

The Printz Honor–winning and multitalented Stiefvater wrote the music and created the animation for this trailer about a girl named Blue, her clairvoyant mother, and the soon-to-be dead.



Author Information:

Freelancer Karen Springen’s last feature for SLJ was “What’s Right with This Picture?: Chicago’s YOUmedia reinvents the public library” (March 2011).



  1. Schools are noticing this trend so we’ve jumped on board and we’re teaching kids how to make their own trailers. The website above features close to 50 book trailers created by 4th and 5th graders in an upstate school district. They’re fantastic!!

  2. Click my name above to view the trailers. Or, use this link: