Category Archives: Uncategorised

How to Make a Book Trailer

Book trailers are creative short videos that tell students something about the book without giving away the ending, and convince them to read the book!  The video should be 2-3 minutes long and can include images, narration, sound, text and a variety of effects.

Research Other Book Trailers

Share one or more of these links with students so they can research student-created book trailers:

Create Your Book Trailer Script and Storyboard

Print out a book trailer planning template and storyboard  This will help students decide on the number of slides, captions, type of images needed, etc.  Here are some samples:

Search for and Download Images

  1. Students can use Pixabay  or the Creative Commons‘ new search engine to find images that have a creative commons / copyright free designation.
  2. Images that match the tone of the book can be saved to a thumb drive.

Choose Copyright Free Music

  1. Students can find and listen to one or more copyright free music tracks on one of the following sites:
  2. One or more sound files that reflect the mood of the book can be downloaded to a thumb drive.

Create Your Book Trailer

Students can use one of the following video tools to create a book trailer.  Their names, year made, image and audio sources should be added to the end of the trailer.

Adobe Spark Video App

Download the app. Open it and follow along with the YouTube video Using Adobe Spark Video for a Book Trailer YouTube video

Additional resources:

iMovie App

Download the app. Open it and follow along with this iMovie iOS Guide

Additional resources:

Sight Unseen

Sight Unseen by David Carroll
David Carroll’s Sight Unseen is an uncomfortable read on many levels. Since his diagnosis with the rare Stargardt disease, Finn is obsessively counting down the seconds to total blindness. His poor vision has already forced him to give up the mountain biking that he loves, and he’s lost many friends because of the protective walls he’s built around himself. He does have two friends; a loyal friend nicknamed Cheese who he’s invited along for the summer, and Tab, a girl he’s just met and to whom refuses to acknowledge his disability.
At his family cabin for the summer, Finn takes dangerous risks, such as canoeing alone and a heart stopping ride down the mountain in an attempt to feel like himself again. Adding to the stress level of this read is Finn’s compulsive list-making of things to do before “lights out”, which he plasters around his bedroom with a portent of doom. But in the ultimate “would you rather?” question, Finn discovers a mysterious island, where his vision is perfect and time stops in the rest of the world. But to stay on the island Finn must give up friends and family. This is a difficult read, it’s hard to see Finn lashing out and fighting the finality of his diagnosis, and the anxiety which he carries around every minute of the day. It’s a skillful author who can paint such an intimate and truthful portrait of a grim diagnosis, and leave Finn with hope for the future at the end.
This is David Carroll’s second nomination for Red Cedar; he was also nominated in 2014 for Ultra.
Reviewed by Katherine Parker

The Summer We Saved the Bees

The Summer We Saved the Bees, by Robin Stevenson

summerWhat do you do when your activist mom is so worried about the state of the environment and the future of the world that she forgets to consider the needs of her own kids first? That’s the dilemma 12-year-old Wolf faces when his mom uproots his family from their home on Vancouver Island to travel by van across Canada performing skits to warn people that the bees are dying: When the honeybees are gone, humans will die out, too. Of course, Wolf fears for his future, but he doesn’t want to stop his whole life to try to do something about it, especially when his mom insists the whole family wear those stupid-looking bee costumes!

Beautifully written and loaded with interesting facts about bees, The Summer We Saved the Bees is an important book that is not just about need for environmental activism to make the world a better place, it is also about family, friendship, love and tolerance of others who might be different, and shows the reader that there is usually more than one way to look at things.

The Summer We Saved the Bees is classed as middle-grade fiction, but can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Reviewed by Lori Shwydky

Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy

Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy, by Shaker N. Paleja

Comprehensive and clear, Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy breaks down the different img_6740types of renewable and nonrenewable energies on each oversized page. Fantastic visuals — including colourful infographics, charts, diagrams, and maps — provide an understanding of what energy is, the various types, and how it works. The strong illustrations clarify and bring to life many complex concepts. Questions like What is fracking?, How does hydroelectricity work?, and Can the oceans’ tides produce energy for us? are broken down and explained. Significant issues such as oil spills, new energy sources, and global demand are also presented in a manner which appeals to the visual learner. An excellent resource for research, Power Up! is also a fascinating read on its own.

-Reviewed by Johanna Ahn

Red Cedar Award Gala 2016!!

Red Cedar Book Awards — 2016 Winners & 2017 Nominees

The Red Cedar Awards Gala 2016 was a resounding success! More than 200 people attended the Gala in Vancouver, which featured presentations by young readers & nominees, door prizes donated by Kidsbooks, and a book signing after-party with official bookseller Kidsbooks. We also announced the 2016 winners!

There were so many wonderful Canadian books nominated for the 2016 Red Cedar Book Award in the fiction category. It was a close race, between cows, cats, campers, ghosts, gardeners, hockey players, guitar players, siblings, friends, and (of course) zombies.

But the young reader voters have spoken and chosen their favourite… And the winner of the 2015/2016 Red Cedar Fiction Award Winner is ….

2016 fiction winner

We also had some fantastic nominations in the information book category for the Red Cedar Award. We learned about history, the environment, animals, quirks of the human body, viruses and germs. Oh, so many germs…

The young readers of British Columbia have cast their ballots, and chosen their favourite… And the winner of the 2015/2016 Red Cedar Information Book Award Winner is….

2016 info winner

We also announced the 2016/2017 Red Cedar Nominees! And the nominees are…

Fiction Book Nominees

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford and Kelly Murphy
Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes
Seven Dead Pirates by Linda Bailey
Sight Unseen by David Carroll
Speechless by Jennifer Mook-Sang
Eco Warrior by Philip Roy
Connecting Dots by Sharon Jennings
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
Shot in the Dark by Janet M. Whyte
The Summer We Saved the Bees by Robin Stevenson

Information Book Nominees

Animal Hospital: Rescuing urban wildlife By Julia Coey
The Art of the Possible: An everyday guide to politics  by Edward Keenan, illustrations by Julie McLaughlin
Baseballogy: Supercool facts you never knew.  By Kevin Sylvester
Colossal Canada: 100 epic facts and feats By Elizabeth Macleod and Frieda Wishinsky
DNA Detective  By Tanya Lloyd Kyi, illustrations by Lil Crump
Elephant Journey: The true story of three zoo elephants and their rescue from captivity By Rob Laidlaw, art by Brian Deines
Friend or Foe: The whole truth about animals that people love to hate By Etta Kaner, illustrations by David Anderson
Give Me Wings: How a choir of former slaves took on the world By Kathy Lowinger
Power up!: A visual exploration of energy  By Shaker Paleja, art by Glenda Tse
Trash Talk: Moving toward a zero-waste world Written by Michelle Mulder
What’s the Buzz?: Keeping bees in flight By Merrie-Ellen Wilcox

A huge thank you to all of our amazing group leaders, passionate young readers, generous sponsors, talented authors, brilliant publishers and hard-working volunteers for another fantastic Red Cedar Award season!

Red Cedar Gala 2015

With the 2016 Red Cedar Gala just around the corner, we’re taking a look back at some of the highlights from the 2015 Red Cedar Gala! From fantastic guest speakers to yummy treats, last year’s gala had something for everybody. We can’t wait for this year’s gala!


Author Nikki Tate signs autographs for young fans!


The winners are announced!


Getting a book signed by author W. C. Mack!


Nothing like a yummy cupcake to keep everyone’s energy high!

Stay tuned to the Red Cedar blog for highlights from this year’s Gala!

Message from Deborah Ellis

We’ve got a great message from Deborah Ellis, author of Red Cedar Award nominee The Cat at the Wall.
Hi everyone!  I am sorry that my schedule does not permit me to be with you at the Gala – I have been to the Red Cedar celebration before, and it is the best party in the country.
Thank you to all the readers and teachers and librarians who put work and time into this program. You are all reading heros.
The Cat At The Wall takes place in an amazing part of the world – Israel and Palestine. I hope all of you will one day be able to visit there and meet the kind, good people who live there.
The cat in the book is a creature who is perplexed by what is going on around her, much like all of us from time to time.  We are all dropped into the world and we have to try to make sense of it and figure out what role we can play in it as we journey through life.
As you journey through your own life, remember the power you have in your choices.  Our choices define us, tell the world who we are, and our choices shape the future.  Be sure that your choices are shaping the future in the way that you would like it to go.
Thanks again, you brave, enthusiastic readers.  And Happy Red Cedar!


Meet the Red Cedar Review Team

For the past two years or so, Red Cedar’s dynamic volunteer duo, library technician Deepika Thaman, and librarian Sylvia Nurse, both based in the Lower Mainland, have enjoyed helping to review and publish reviews of Canadian nominated books from children across British Columbia. Students can read and review books in either the fiction or non-fiction category (or both if they’re really avid readers!) Deepika and Sylvia are delighted and amazed by the high volume of reviews received. To date, the results are absolutely fantastic as 200+ Red Cedar Award book reviews have been submitted so far. This definitely proves that in this high-tech digital age, children still love reading print books.

Have you checked out the reviews on our Red Cedar blog? The blog is a great activity to get students between grades 4 and 7 across the province excited about Canadian authors and books. A really neat touch to our website this year has been the posting of great interviews with authors like Charis Cotter and David Smith. A big thanks to all the teachers and teacher-librarians who shared their student’s thoughtful interviews with us.

Voting takes place in April, and once group leaders collect their group members’ votes they will be submitted through our website the week of April 18-22.

Stay tuned — the award winners will be announced at our Gala in early May! Is your reading group planning on coming to the Gala? Please RSVP at with the number of people that are planning to attend. More information about the Gala can be found on our website.

Interested in volunteering with Red Cedar? Check out our website for more information and to apply! We’re always happy to welcome enthusiastic volunteers,

Author Interview : Charis Cotter

This time we’ve got an interview with Charis Cotter, author of The Swallow. Ms. Cotter was interviewed by the kids at Garibaldi Highlands Elementary.

Charis_CotterDear Ms. Heikoop and Red Cedar students,

Thank you for writing to me and thank you for reading The Swallow. It’s very exciting for me to be on the east coast of Canada looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and thinking about children on the west coast of Canada, so many thousands of km away, reading my book. I get lots of good reading weather in Newfoundland too, and a rainy, windy day with the fire on is the best time to read a good book.

It is a great honour for my book to be chosen for the Red Cedar Awards program. I will do my best to answer your questions, below in red font.

Dear Charis,

Thank you so much for agreeing to take part in this interview with us. We were so excited to be linked up with you! Congratulations also on having your novel, The Swallow, in the Red Cedar Book Club. We have a keen group of grades 4-6 students who are reading through the club books. We attend Garibaldi Highlands Elementary School (K-6) in Gar. Hlds which is half way in between Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.. We have been having “perfect reading weather” – cold, wet and windy lately, and we are staying cozy with all of these great new books.

When you were our age, what was your favourite book? Out of your own books, which one is your favourite?

​When I was twelve, my favourite book was The Lord of the Rings. But I also loved all the Narnia books, The Secret Garden and The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery.

The Swallow is my favourite of all the books I’ve written so far. It was the most fun to write.​

What do you think makes your stories unique and what makes them such good stories?

​I think my stories are unique because I write about how children really feel and how life can be hard when you’re a kid, even if you have a regular family. I also think they’re unique because I write about ghosts as if they were really part of our world, not a fantasy.

​I hope my stories are good stories because they have lots of mysterious things happening and there’s lots of suspense. I like to keep readers wanting to find out what happens​ to the characters. I also like to think that my readers can relate to the experiences and feelings my characters have, and that makes a good story, if you can really imagine it all happening to you.

When you were young, did you and your family tell ghost stories at night? Do you still do it now?

​My family didn’t tell ghost stories, but I went to a camp and we used to lie awake at night in the dark when we were supposed​ to be asleep and tell really scary ghost stories, like the story of the Green Hand. It was fun to be scared, but we had all the other kids in the tent with us so it was deliciously scary but we thought maybe we would be saved by the other kids if the ghosts actually came. I still tell ghost stories to friends but I try not to do it too much at night because I scare myself.

​True! I’m a big chicken.

What project are you currently working on?

​I am working on two projects: one is my next novel, called The Painting, which is about a girl who can walk into paintings in Toronto and find herself in Newfoundland​. I’m just finishing that one up. I’m also starting my third novel, called The Ghost Road, which is about two cousins who find a mysterious road in Newfoundland that only they can see, and it leads them to discover a tragic curse that has been put on their family. The Painting will be published in 2017 and The Ghost Road in 2018.

What part of writing a book is the hardest for you?

​Once I get to the middle of a book, I often get stuck with the plot. It’s hard to figure out what will happen next that will lead me to the end of the book. I usually know the beginning and the end of the story, but the middle is challenging. I also have a hard time with the endings, making them just right. I rewrote the end of The Swallow five times. ​
Thanks again for your this wonderful opportunity!

​Thank you for all your thoughtful questions. I enjoyed answering them. Have a great spring and happy reading!


Thank you Ms. Cotter, Teacher-Librarian Sue Heikoop, and the kids at Garibaldi Highlands Elementary for this great interview!

Author Interview: David Smith

With Red Cedar voting just around the corner, and our amazing Gala coming up soon, we’ve got another great author interview to share with you today! The kids at Manoah Steves Elementary in Richmond interviewed If? author David Smith.

David_J_SmithCan you tell us about the other books that you have written?

I have 4 children’s books, and 1 book for teachers; the curriculum is called “Mapping the World By Heart”, and it helps teachers give their children the tools they need to create a usable mental map of the world for their own use. The other children’s books, besides “If”, the new one, are: “If the World Were A Village”, “If America Were A Village”, and “This Child Every Child” which is a look at children’s rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and which is endorsed by UNICEF.

Did you have a career before writing books and what was it/were they?

I taught grade 7 for 26 years, in Hawai’i, and then in the Boston area.

Where do you get your ideas from for your books?

Most of the ideas for my books come from my work with grade 7 students, and what I learned from them about the things that middle-school students want to know about.

When you write a book, do you get to choose who the illustrator(s) will be?

Yes and no; my publisher hires the illustrator, but I get to advise them.  For the first three books, my illustrator was Shelagh Armstrong; for “IF”, it was Steve Adams.  I haven’t been disappointed at all.

What made you want to or what inspired you to write this book?

“IF” grew out of several requests I have had since the release of “If the World Were A Village” to consider other things that can be scaled down, the way “If the World” scales down the world population of 7.2 billion into a village of 100.

Why did you name this book “iF”?

I thought it was fun and interesting and provocative.  My publisher added “A Mind-Bending New Way Of Looking At Big Ideas and Numbers”, and this hasn’t worked for some of the foreign publishers — the French edition is simply entitled “The World In Your Hand”, and the Catalan edition is called “The World Brought Down To Your Size”

Where and when did you get the inspiration to write a book like this?

This topic was one that my grade 7’s and I had fun with — how big is a hectare, how big is the universe, and so on.  For this book, I used some of the ideas I had my students play with, and also created new ones.

What was the best part of writing this book?

I had a truly brilliant editor, who was both incredibly supportive and a real task master, making sure every word I wrote was supportable by facts from several different sources.  Her name is Val Wyatt; She worked with Kids Can Press for many years, but retired after the publication of “If”, so she won’t be working with me on the next project.

Is there going to be an “iF” 2?

There probably should be, but the next project is about water and sanitation around the world — again, with the support and help of friends at UNICEF.

If you rewrote this book in 10 years, how would the population change?

“IF the World Were A Village” was first published in 2002, and at that point, the population of the world was 6.2 billion; now, 14 years later, it’s 7.3 billion; 10 years from now, I’d expect it to be around 8 billion, and India’s population will surpass that of China.

Why did you want to write about the events of the last 3000 years?

One thing people have trouble understanding, sometimes, is the order and timing of how and when things happen; today’s grade 7’s have never seen a rotary-dial telephone, and may never have seen a typewriter, and so I thought it would be helpful to take a look at when important tools and ideas and events really did happen.

If a person wanted to write a picture book, what advice would you give to that person?

First, go to a children’s book store and ask “do you have anything about…” your idea; see what else has been done on the same topic.  There are very few topics that haven’t been done by others, and you want to make sure your idea will add something new to the topic.  Note who the publishers are.

Then, prepare a table of contents and three or four pages, mark each with a copyright statement, and go to the library and refer to a copy of The Writer’s Market and get the names and addresses of editors at the publishing houses you want to try.  Send them a query letter with your materials, and with a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Don’t hold your breath; it may take weeks or months, and you may get nothing but rejection letters, but do not be discouraged — every successful author has a file of rejection letters from their first efforts.

And finally, join some of the authors’ organizations, such as CANSCAIP or SCBWI, and attend their programs.

A big thank-you to David Smith, Teacher-Librarian Lauren Craze, and the kids at Manoah Steves Elementary for this great interview!