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Bring a Book to Life!

Bring a Book to Life!
Bring a Book to Life!
A bird appears when a book about birds is opened up.

How can you use code to play with characters from your favorite stories? By tinkering with the video sensing blocks in Scratch, you can create animations that respond to actions in the physical world — like opening a book!

This prompt builds on ideas we share on the Animate Your World page, so we recommend starting there to get set up. 


Getting Started

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1. Pick out a book.

Decide if there’s a particular scene or character that you’d like to highlight. In this example, inspired by the book Balance the Birds by Susie Ghahremani, a bird plays the starring role.

2. Decide what will happen.

This story features colorful illustrations of birds playfully balancing on a tree, so we wanted to make it look like the bird appeared when we opened up the book. 

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3. Code it!

The code is based on this idea: when there is enough motion, then something happens. In this case, when the book is opened, the sprite will appear, wait 2.5 seconds, and then disappear. It's up to your acting to tell the story! 

Here is a link to the example Scratch project if you want to see inside and make your own remix.

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4. Iterate and share.

Continue adding to and changing your project, or try animating another book in a new way. Some ideas for taking your projects further are below. Take screen shots or a screen recording as you go. 

Use the hashtag #AnimateYourWorld to share what you try out with us!  



Take it Further

How else could you bring a book to life? These two projects are inspiring examples of how to use color and sound to creatively interact with stories. 


Interactive Characters

Celeste Moreno, a PhD candidate in the Creative Communities research group at CU Boulder, developed this video sensing project that responds to the color of the book she holds up. Here is the code if you want to remix her project.  

"I wanted to bring my books to life! The blue square recognizes what book I'm reading (based on color of the cover) and populates my screen with some interactive characters." Celeste


Magic Bookcase

Play the video with sound to hear Eric Schilling's bookcase come to life! Eric, a Learning Resource Producer at Scratch, explains how it works:

"Video motion over a book (which is covered with invisible sprite) will trigger a sound to play. Remix ideas: there are many cool directions with selecting sounds — you could incorporate a quote from book, the summary of the book, a theme song, or the clue for a scavenger hunt." Eric



Why do we like this prompt?

When designing activities and prompts that involve technology, we keep the following ideas and goals in mind.

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Treat code as a material.

Using code to construct can feel different than building with physical materials. We try to design projects that allow learners to move seamlessly between physical and digital tools and to tinker with technology.  

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Support multiple pathways.

Bringing a book to life can go in a variety of directions based on a learner's imagination, like interacting with characters or adding sound. We value this prompt because it can lead to many different outcomes. 

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Make it meaningful. 

This prompt invites learners to share a story or character that is important to them in some way. It creates space for them to share ideas and favorite books in creative ways with others.