Tips and Resources
Here we offer tips for creating and finding different media to use in your books. In addition to searching web sites offering copyright free media, consider searching for media with Creative Commons Licensing (www.creativecommons.com). Many media sites such as Google Images and Flikr have sections devoted to material with Creative Commons Licensing.
Create your own, or find public domain text on the web to use in your book. As you write or select text, consider how it will engage your audience.When you decide on text, make sure you can answer 'yes' to one or more of these questions:
- Is the text interesting?
- Is the text something your audience knows about or can relate to?
- Is the text written at the right level for your audience—not too hard, not too easy?
- Is there the right amount of text on each page for your audience—not too much, not too little?
Get tips for writing great stories
- Writing for Children, http://www.bethanyroberts.com/ForWriters.htm
- Story Writing Tips, http://www.coreygreen.com/storytips.html
Find other writing resources by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- story writing tips
- writing tips from authors
Free, public domain text sources
- University of Virginia Digital Text Collections: http://www.lib.virginia.edu/digital/collections/text/
- The Literature Network: http://www.online-literature.com/
- The Online Books Page: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/
- Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
- Bibliomania: http://www.bibliomania.com/
Find public domain text sources by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- public domain text
- public domain literature
You can record yourself reading the page, record or select sound effects, or use sound in other creative ways. When creating or choosing audio files for your book, think about how you want to represent your topic. Make sure the audio does not distract readers from understanding the book? Audio should support understanding or enhance the reading experience for engagement.When deciding on audio, make sure you can answer 'yes' to one or more of these questions:
- Is the audio used to enhance student understanding of the text?
- Is the audio another means of representing the text? Are you using sound to illustrate a point or highlight some critical features best represented by a sound, such as the sounds of an animal or the sound of children laughing? The sound that you record or choose should tie with the text as well as the intended audience.
Free Recording and Editing Software
- Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
- Free Sound Editor: http://www.free-sound-editor.com/
- Amadeus Pro (for Mac): http://www.hairersoft.com/AmadeusPro/AmadeusProDownload.html
- Audio Pal: http://www.audiopal.com/index.html
Find more free digital audio recording and editing software by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- free software digital audio recorder
- free digital audio editor
- Search the Web for Sounds: http://www.findsounds.com
- Sound Bible: http://soundbible.com/
- PacDV Free Sound Effects: http://www.pacdv.com/sounds/index.html
Find more free digital sound effects by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- free sound effects
- free mp3 sounds
- free sound clips
- Great Songs Free: http://greatsongsfree.com/
- Jamendo.com: http://www.jamendo.com/en/
Find more free digital music sources by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- free mp3 music clips
- free music download sites
- Librivox: Free audio of books in the public domain: http://librivox.org/
Find more free digital audio books by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- free mp3 audio
- free mp3 audio book downloads
Converting audio files to mp3 format
All audio files that you use in your book must be in .mp3 format. If you need to convert some or all of your audio files to this format, many audio recording programs offer options for saving in different formats.The following resources can also help:
- Switch Audio File Converter for Windows (Free Version)
- A list of MP3 Converter Software
When you choose video, think about what it adds to your book. An effective video adds to audience engagement and understanding of the text or topic. Avoid linking to video, or any other media, that distracts learners from your goal.When choosing video, make sure you can answer 'yes' to one or more of these questions:
- Is the video used to enhance student understanding of the text?
- Is the video another means of representing the text?
- Is the video at the right level for your particular audience?
- Does the video enhance the reading experience for your audience?
Sources for free video
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/
- Google Video: http://video.google.com/
- Yahoo Video: http://video.yahoo.com
- Vimeo Video: http://www.vimeo.com
Find many more free digital video sources by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- video sharing sites
Video search engines
- Blinkx Video Search Engine: http://www.blinkx.com/
- Truveo Video Search: http://www.truveo.com/
Find many more free digital video sources by searching on the Internet using the following search term:
- video search sites
- Stroome: http://www.stroome.com/
Create your own images and illustrations, or choose public domain images you find on the Internet. Use images that help represent your topic. Avoid images that distract your audience from the goal of your book.As you select images to use in your book, make sure you can answer 'yes' to one or more of these questions:
- Do the text and illustrations complement each other to increase readers' understanding?
- Is the image another way to represent the text?
- Do the images engage your audience?
- Are the images at the right level for your audience? For example, young children prefer bold colors, while older children tend to appreciate nuanced colors.
Sites with tips for illustrating books
- Illustrating Children's Books: http://www.underdown.org/illustrating-for-children.htm
- Drawing & Illustration Tips : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHQyvDdlpg4
Get more ideas for how to illustrate books by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- tips for illustrating books
- illustrating books
Sources for public domain images
- Pics4Learning: http://pics.tech4learning.com
- Creative Commons image search: http://search.creativecommons.org/
- morgueFile: http://www.morguefile.com/
- Library of Congress' American Memory Collection: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
- Free Clip art: http://www.pdclipart.org
- Open ClipArt Library: http://www.openclipart.org/
- Clker.com: http://www.clker.com/
- Free Photos: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
- Free online tools to create and save images in .jpg or .gif formats
- CoolText Graphics Generator: http://cooltext.com/
- My Paint Open Source Painting: http://mypaint.intilinux.com/?page_id=9
- HeliosPaint: http://www.heliospaint.com/download.html
- ToonDoo: http://www.toondoo.com/ (cartoon creation site)
Find more free digital drawing tools by searching on the Internet using the following search terms
- free drawing tools .jpg
- free drawing online software .jpg or .gif
Find more free digital images by searching on the Internet using the following search terms
- free public domain images
- free images
- free clipart
Free online Image editors
- Picnik: http://www.picnik.com/app
- Pixlr: http://www.pixlr.com/editor/
- Aviary: http://www.aviary.com/
Find more online image editors by searching on the Internet using the following search terms
- online image editor .jpg
- free image editor .jpg
You can use short animations that are saved as .gif files in your book. Make your own or select animations that add meaning, contribute to readers' understanding, or help readers engage with your book. Avoid animations that are off-point or that distract from your book's purpose.As you create or choose animations to use in your book, make sure you can answer 'yes' to one or more of these questions:
- Does the animation enhance student understanding of the text?
- Is the animation another way of representing important information?
- Does the animation enhance the reading experience for your audience?
- Is the animation at an appropriate level for this book and audience?
Free online animation tools
Sources for free public domain animations
- Amazing Animations: http://www.amazing-animations.com/
- AnimatedGif.net: http://www.animatedgif.net/
Find more online animation tools and sources by searching on the Internet using the following search terms:
- free online animations .gif
- public domain animated clipart