Learning how to read children’s books in the digital society. Book trailers as an educational tool in higher education


Rosa Tabernero-Sala * , Iris Orosia Campos-Bandrés , María Jesús Colón-Castillo ,
Daniel Laliena-Cantero

Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain)

Received October 2023

Accepted December 2023


The new multimodal reading ecosystem currently contributes to the proposal of forms of mediation that take into account the hybridization of digital and analog paradigms. In this context, illustrated books intended for children can constitute an area of interest, since their discursive and aesthetic codes contribute to the development of multimodal reading strategies and to the positioning of the child reader before the information, at the same time that they generate pleasant reading and knowledge-building experiences. Accordingly, today’s publishing market requires a learning process from the mediator in order to develop the corresponding strategies with which to approach children’s books. Previous research has focused on the book trailer as a virtual epitext for the promotion of publications, and it has analyzed the identity of this tool to demonstrate its effectiveness in the promotion of reading. Along these lines, and with the purpose of verifying how this tool behaves in the introduction of future teachers to children’s books, an intervention is proposed that is based on the creation of book trailers. A total of 860 students from the Early Childhood and Primary Education teaching degree programs participated in the intervention. It included qualitative research that analyzed the documents/epitexts created by the students, written reflections within the framework of this project and the discourse collected a posteriori in interviews and discussion groups on the experience. The results reveal the potential that creating book trailers has for introducing teacher trainees to illustrated children’s books within the framework of the digital society.


Keywords – Book trailer, Higher education, Virtual epitexts, Reader education, Illustrated books, Digital society.

To cite this article:

Tabernero-Sala, R., Campos-Bandrés, I.O., Colón-Castillo, M.J., & Laliena-Cantero, D. (2024). Learning how to read children’s books in the digital society: Book trailers as an educational tool in higher education. Journal of Technology and Science Education, 14(1), 224-243. https://doi.org/10.3926/jotse.2530



    1. 1. Introduction

Educating readers is a complex task that is complicated even further today by the infinite number of publications within the framework of a society that also combines analog and digital texts in terms of promoting reading. The continuous reference to the liquid modernity, a term coined by Bauman (2016), as a construct that encompasses a reality in which instability is an unavoidable trait, constitutes the distinguishing feature of this time of change. In this sense, reading habits have turned into a new hybrid model between the analog and digital cultures, in which the metaphoric and cultural potential of the printed system is not in decline, rather it is moving in another direction that has yet to be determined (Cordón-García, 2018). Accordingly, for quite some time, studies have referred to a change in paradigm in communication and reading (Lluch, 2018) and a transformation in the way in which children and young people access information and knowledge. As several authors allege (Cordón-García, 2018; Cruces, 2017; García-Canclini, 2015; Lluch, 2010b, 2017, 2018; Martín-Barbero, 2010; Roncaglia, 2018; Zafra, 2017), there are several implications of this fact on reading mediation, in a process that is complicated to weight and control, due to its very nature and the multiplicity of proposals.

While a dialectical relationship has traditionally been presented between the digital and analog models as a process of displacement, in recent years a convergence has been sensed between the two different media (obviously bearing in mind that the medium conditions the contents and their distribution), thus generating modifications in the reading ecosystem. The devices and digital reading, paradoxically, have strengthened the print system (Cordón-García, 2018) and a feedback is occurring from both systems which, thanks to the competition to occupy spaces in a context of tension, have explored their differentiating traits in order to return a new discourse. Based on the analysis of the publishing production and the review of the specialized studies on books, reading and education, and given the creative tension between the aforementioned paradigms, the defense of the physical aspects of reading and books for children and young people would thus appear to be relevant (Pelachaud, 2010, 2016; Perrot, 1999; Tabernero-Sala, 2018a, 2019), both in the creation that engages the codes of imagery, word and media in what has been called an illustrated album (Bader, 1976; Nikolajeva, 2006; Nodelman, 2010; Salisbury & Styles, 2012; Sipe, 2008; Tabernero-Sala, 2005; Van der Linden, 2015) and in the reception from the sensory production implied by the manipulation at an early age (Bonnafé, 2008; Patte, 2015). In this manner, Littau (2009) insists on the fact that reading is an act not only of intellectual interpretation, but also one that represents actions that engage the body. In this way, books are, above all, material objects that condition modes and habits of reading and establish, on the other hand (based on the ideas of Chartier (1994)), the link between sensory construction and the material conditions of transmission and reception. Littau (2009) analyzes the transition of the “codex” to the reading of screens as a change in paradigm, given that the medium and the method of transmission change the conditions of production and reception, generating modifications in the text itself.

Furthermore, in the case of educating readers, the hypertextuality that typically arises when reading screens (Landow, 2009), in what refers to reader education, causes insecurity on the part of those who get lost in the vastness of the contents. Books, with their physicality, direct and train readers in this hypertextual reading, guiding them in such a way that the turn of a page, the sequentiality, the cover or the material elements, in short, perform the functions of an anchor in the interplay that is established between the different planes. As opposed to a screen reader on the social media (who acquires the designation as a prosumer, given that his or her decisions create contents during the reading process), books design an interactive reading conditioned by the material aspects. Meanwhile, the author recovers his or her function as a guide, establishing limits. However, this does not imply that the reader is less active than the Internet user (Senís, 2019; Tabernero-Sala, 2019).

Recent studies reinforce the discourse on the relevance of analog reading. Among these are the works by Roncaglia (2018), Salmerón and Delgado (2019) and Zafra (2017), who suggest the need to question the digital drift and its implications for the perception and knowledge acquisition by the so-called digital natives. Zafra (2017: page 91) refers to everyday reading on the Internet as a process that is sustained more “based on impressions than on concentration”, and more on the screen shot than on careful reflection, within a structure of horizontal and apparently de-hierarchized knowledge transmission in which excess results in saturation. At the same time that the speed and overabundance of contents on the web is called into question as an absolute and positive value, Zafra (2017: page 97) vindicates the notion of “time to think” as the only way to achieve autonomous and critical thought and to develop an alternative to the “world in tutorial mode”, with fragmented and facilitated knowledge, which is replacing experts.

Roncaglia (2018), in turn, discusses the notion of digital natives. Without denying the role the digital formats play today in the education of individuals, he advocates for reflection in this regard, starting with the premise that it is a means through which contents are reached, rather than content in itself. Along the same lines as hybridization of paradigms is the report by the European Union on the creation of a cultural plan (2015-2018), Promoting Reading in the digital Environment (European Commission, 2016). Similarly, reports on reading in Spain (Millán, 2017) present the need to reflect on this evidence, in light of research such as that by Marlasca and Sánchez-García (2015) and Yubero and Larrañaga (2015), which highlights, among other aspects, the difficulties in the development of the habit of reading that emerge with age, particularly with regard to the loss of motivation.

In light of this situation, Wolf (2020) advocates for overcoming the tension between the analog and digital contexts through the construction of a bi-literate brain that would be developed at an early age from the analog medium (given its priority for the development of in-depth reading strategies (Støle, 2020; Wolf, 2020)), in order to gradually shift to a hybrid model, where screens would be incorporated with the mediation of an adult, in addition to paper books.

In light of this above reality, illustrated books can prove to be an especially appropriate path for the development of reading competency at an early age, where reading on a physical medium would be a priority. The development of skills that are transferable to critical reading on screen would be addressed in parallel to this. Due to their constituent elements (Tabernero-Sala, 2005, 2022), this type of works, from both fictional and non-fictional parameters, emerge as useful tools to develop reading strategies in multimodal contexts and/or those aimed at developing skills of selection, critical assessment and organization of information.

Illustrated non-fiction books acquire an especially important role in today’s educational framework, in which the LOMLOE, Organic Law 3/2020, of 29 December, which modifies Organic Law 2/2006, of 3 May, on Education (España, Cortes Generales, 2020), emphasizes the need to develop digital competence and informational literacy, revealing a clear parallel commitment to the consolidation of the transformation of the educational system, under the assumptions of an education that establishes its pillars in the active construction of learning by students from interdisciplinary and globalized approaches. In this panorama, illustrated non-fiction books may be a key resource in non-linguistic areas, to the extent that they permit access to contents established by the curriculum in the form of basic knowledge in non-linguistic areas from a perspective focused on reflection, the search for and processing of information, promoting the development of reading and writing strategies of an immersive nature (Camps, 2003; Tolchinsky, 2008).

All of the above leads us to conclude that there is a need to train future Early Childhood and Primary Education teachers from a perspective that enables these professionals to meet the demands imposed by the new liquid ecosystem that is characteristic of the digital society. Here, the focus is on experimentation with reading education models that make it possible to overcome the traditional tension between the analog and digital cultures, while at the same time meeting the demands of a curricular framework that places the focus on the development of reading competence in a cross-curricular manner. This is in coherence with the principles of interdisciplinary and globalized instruction, in which informational literacy –subsumed in the term digital competence– constitutes one of the pillars.

This challenge includes the development among future teachers of critical analysis strategies in a publishing panorama characterized by the profuse publication of illustrated books targeting child readers, in the interest of selecting those that meet certain quality standards. In this sense, and in light of the previous research (Romero-Oliva, Heredia-Ponce & Sampériz-Hernández, 2019; Tabernero-Sala, 2015a, 2021), it is understood that the design of book trailers could constitute a valuable exercise in teacher training.

1.1. Book Trailers in Teacher Training

Book trailers are defined as an instrument to promote a book in video format, which uses techniques similar to those of a movie trailer, with the peculiarity that they are disseminated via the social media (Tabernero-Sala, 2015b, 2016). This promotional tool is in line with the characteristics of readers in the 21st century, who naturally engage with the social networks and receive information through multimedia formats that integrate words, images and sound in a hypertextual manner (Landow, 2009). Book trailers, given the purpose and the environment in which they are inserted, must be brief, suggestive, persuasive and very precise (Tabernero-Sala, 2016). In fact, as a tool to promote fictional works, they are constructed and identified with the short story modality. Therefore, as indicated by Zavala (2006), brevity, diversity, complicity, fractality, transience and virtuality are the notes that define flash fiction. These have been applied to the analysis of book trailers of illustrated fictional books in different studies conducted by Tabernero-Sala (2016, 2018a, 2018b, 2021), within a compendium of broader parameters and indicators that are set out in Table 1.



Parameter 1. Book information

Indicator 1.1 Authors, title, publisher, date

Parameter 2. Short stories

Indicator 2.1 Duration: between 30 seconds and two minutes

Indicator 2.2 Complicity: the narrator and the interpellation to the reader

Indicator 2.3 Suspension and ellipsis as the fundamentals of construction

Indicator 2.4 Hypertextuality and intertextuality

Indicator 2.5 Metafiction

Indicator 2.6 Objectual perspective of the book

Parameter 3. Cinematographic language

Indicator 3.1 Animation

Indicator 3.2 Music and pace of sequencing, action and temporal location

Indicator 3.3 Planar spaces

Indicator 3.4 Selection of main characters and spaces. Presence of zoom

Table 1. Parameters and indicators of the constituent elements of book trailers in illustrated
fictional works targeting child readers, according to Tabernero-Sala (2021)

With regard to illustrated non-fiction books, the study by Tabernero-Sala, Colón-Castillo, Sampériz‑Hernández and Campos-Bandrés (2022) reveals 21 characteristics that are grouped into six macrocategories as defining elements of this type of epitexts in the current panorama of children’s books, as shown in Table 2. In summary, these authors highlight the way in which these epitexts reflect a new reader model, which would be defined as a curious reader (Tabernero-Sala et al., 2022), by insisting on strategies that call for the active construction of knowledge from the manipulation of books as objects (art and materiality), the raising of questions (interactivity), the decision regarding reading itineraries (fragmentation), the construction of a personal and committed approach to the topics addressed (learning and awareness), and the interest in delving deeper into the reliability of the sources (solvency).

The appearance of these virtual epitexts is framed within a reading proposal according to the transmedia paradigm, which can potentially create a reader who moves naturally in both virtual and analog environments. However, beyond their role as a tool promoting reading on the social networks, they can also reach an important level as an instrument for training readers. Along these lines, authors like Basaraba (2016), Bilushchak, Radkovets and Syerov (2020), Dimova, Slavova-Petkova and Luchev (2018), Grøn (2014), Ballester and Ibarra (2017), Lebrun, Lacelle and Boutin (2018), Lluch, Tabernero-Sala and Calvo (2015), Romero-Oliva et al. (2019), Romero-Oliva, Heredia-Ponce and Trigo-Ibáñez (2020), Rovira (2013, 2015), Tabernero-Sala (2015a, 2015b, 2016, 2018b) and Tabernero-Sala and Calvo-Valios (2016) have examined in depth the possibilities offered by book trailers as a tool for developing reading-literary competence.




Art and materiality

Artistic component

Emphasis on the book as an object, on its physicality and artistic component

Design of an artistic book-trailer that emphasizes this component in the work

Intervention of the author to explain the creative process of developing the book

Aesthetic reading proposal

Books as objects


Process of creation


Content diversity

Presentation of diverse contents related to one another through a common nexus

Presence of informational elements that organize and fragment the contents

Reading guide to facilitate access to the book

Proposal for hierarchical and non-linear reading

Reading guide

Fragmented reading


Fictional component

Presence of fictional elements as a guide, nexus or assistance for the reading

Proposal for non-fictional reading based on fictional genres or formats

Hybrid, fictional, informational, aesthetic and efferent reading

Nostalgic appeal from the adult prescriber

Fictional genre + non-fictional reading

Cinematographic style

Art + knowledge



Recreational component

Interpellation to the reader with questions or games that challenge their curiosity and research skills

Participation of the readers

Recreational reading proposal

Reader participation




Specialized authority

Recognition of the authors due to their competence in the topic

Design of the book trailer as a documentary

Emphasis on scientific dissemination and on the accuracy of the information

Contents from reality

Documentary style

Reliable information


Learning and awareness

Appellation to the mediator

Presentation of the contents of the work

Reading guide for the mediator

Proposal for instructional or educational reading

Educational nature

Content emphasis


Table 2. Parameters and indicators of the constituent elements of book trailers in illustrated
non-fictional works targeting child readers, according to Tabernero-Sala et al. (2022)

2. Study Objectives

While academic programs stress the need to prepare future teachers as reading mediators with the criteria and competence to develop the reading-literary education in children, studies such as those by Felipe‑Morales (2015), Yubero and Larrañaga (2015) and San Martín-Sepúlveda (2023) warn about the shortcomings of university students in terms of their reading habits and competence. Faced with the challenge represented by the worrisome results of these studies, Álvarez-Álvarez and Pascual-Díez (2020) suggest, among other possible improvement actions, the need to assume a competence-based approach in university teaching. This is an active learning which, in the case of the subjects in the area of Language and Literature Instruction, would promote gratifying reading experiences and the possibility to apply the theoretical contents in practical exercises that encourage dialog and debate on the interpretation of the readings.

From these shared assumptions and taking into account the contributions of previous studies on book trailers as an instrument with educational possibilities (Gómez-Domingo & Bárcena-Toyos, 2022; Heredia-Ponce, Romero-Oliva & Parrado-Collantes, 2020; Romero-Oliva et al., 2019), a study was conducted in the context of higher education, with the aim of evaluating the potential of this tool in initial teacher training. In this sense, the aim was to find out how future teachers, immersed in the digital society, incorporated book trailers into the analysis of children’s works and to evaluate, based on the results, whether this practice, because of its proposal and the very characteristics of book trailers (Tabernero-Sala, 2016), was contributing to their training as teachers and reading mediators.

Therefore, the specific objectives were:

  1. 1.To understand how the creation of book trailers influences the way in which children’s books are read by teacher trainees.  

  2. 2.To identify the contributions of this type of educational experience in the training of reading mediators. 

3. Methodology

With this objective in mind, a study was carried out with a qualitative focus (Hernández-Sampieri & Mendoza, 2018), within the framework of the Children’s Literature and Literary Education course in the Early Childhood Education Teacher Training program on the Zaragoza and Huesca campuses and the Children’s and Young People’s Literature and Language and Literature courses in the Primary Education Teacher Training program on the Huesca Campus, all of which are courses linked to the College of Human Sciences and Education and the College of Education at the University of Zaragoza. As part of the research, the work of 860 students was monitored during the 2018-2019 and 2022-2023 academic years.

After dividing the students into small groups of 3 to 5 students, the proposed work consisted of, first of all, selecting an illustrated fictional or non-fictional book that had to be agreed upon by the members of each group. Secondly, they needed to create in a cooperative manner a book trailer on the selected book, using freely-chosen digital techniques and bearing in mind that the value of the task lied more in the process than in the final result. Certain guidelines were offered for their creation, according to those established by Lluch (2010a) and Tabernero-Sala (2013), in the case of fictional works, and those indicated by Tabernero-Sala (2022) and Tabernero-Sala et al. (2022) for non-fictional works. Thirdly, the groups were required to present their book trailer orally to the class, commenting on the selection criteria used to choose the work and the decisions made. Observations were also recorded by the instructors and a written reflection was requested in which the students were required to report on the interaction that occurred in the group during the creative process, from the selection of the work to the presentation of the book trailer. The intent was to gather, in this manner, the perception of the students on the matters that had generated the greatest amount of controversy, any difficulties and solutions adopted and, in short, the reading and interpretation of the selected book by the group during the creation of the virtual epitext. This task, in one way or another, involved their intervention in the work in order to reconstitute it in a digital format.

As a result of this preliminary data collection phase, the works and reflections were analyzed that corresponded to the creation of 146 book trailers. Next, in light of the results and the theoretical sampling carried out, 6 discussion groups were created and 12 interviews were conducted with the informants who expressed their interest in participating in a second phase of the study after the educational experience was concluded. The aim of this process was not to make a comparison of the groups or subjects to which the students belonged, rather the interest was focused on the “characteristics of idea creation, which in turn limit behavioral and attitudinal patterns” (Carrero, Soriano & Trinidad, 2006: page 27).

As a method to analyze the collected documents, a qualitative analysis of the contents was carried out (Ruiz-Olabuénaga, 2009) in an inductive, emergent and cyclical manner. This occurred in different stages of categorization (McMillan & Schumacher, 2005), until the categories were grouped into five macrocategories that were detected as being the most representative following a process of refining, saturation and interpretation of the initial categories (Table 3).

The adoption of a qualitative methodological design and the type of analysis that has been described was motivated by the need to approach the experience and the interactions (Rapley, 2014) that the proposed task had generated in the student participants. It is understood that the reflection expressed in both the written documents and in the interviews and discussion groups showed evidence of how the book trailer creation process was carried out from the perspective of the students themselves; for this reason, the direct testimony has a fundamental value in this research, in order to know, understand and assess the impact that the task generated on the training of the study participants.



From reading to re-writing

Assuming an active role

Selection of an aspect of the book that we wish to highlight

Contrast of formats: book/book trailer

Explicit re-creation of an aspect of the book

Seeking a response from the viewer

Positive assessment of the digital format

Shared construction of meaning

Structuring of the story of the process according to the decisions made in the group

Identification of a matter that is seen as controversial

Assessment of different options considered by the group

Reasoned discarding of an option

Reasoned defense of the selected option

Modification or change following a debate

Strengthening of the emotional component

Emotional reaction to an aspect attributed to the book

Emotional reaction to an aspect attributed to the book trailer

Explicit intention of emotionally involving the viewer through an aspect of the book trailer

Approach to the keys of book construction

Identification of ellipsis

Interpretive analysis of the role of ellipsis

Adaptation of ellipsis to the digital format

Identification of a metaphor

Interpretive analysis of the role of metaphors

Adaptation of a metaphor to the digital format

Identification of an aspect that sets the pace

Interpretive analysis of an aspect that sets the pace

Adaptation of an aspect that sets the pace in the digital format

Training of the reading mediator

Qualified selection criteria

Use of specialized discourse

Adopting a critical attitude to the literary work

Adopting a critical attitude to the book trailer that was created

Reflection on the learning process itself

Transfer of the knowledge acquired to the primary school classroom

Evoking the benefits of the book trailer for reader education

Table 3. Macrocategories and categories detected in the analysis

4. Results

From the analysis of the corpus of the data collected, the following results are inferred. In order to facilitate the interpretation of the discourse fragments from the students that are included as an example, certain data are included at the end, alluding to the source of the fragment (written reflection, discussion groups or interview), the title and author of the work that is the object of the reflection, and the course framework in which the task was completed (SLI: Spanish Language Instruction in the primary grades; CLLE: Children’s Literature and Literary Education; LCY: Literature for Children and Young People) and the academic year.

4.1. From Reading to Re-Writing

One of the most transcendental aspects is the way in which the creation of the book trailer constitutes an implicit exercise of re-writing in this creative task. In their reflections, the students reflect a complex exercise of decision-making which evidences an intuitive analysis triggered by the nature of the tool, which also denotes involvement with the work, in which the students assume an active role in their recreation. This recreation implies a need to analyze the discursive aspects of the work in order to comply with the parameters of the book trailer. Therefore, characteristics of this resource, such as virtuality, brevity, fragmentary suspension and its multimedia nature are identified according to the multimodality of the book trailer, with the aim of reflecting the essence of the work.

It is a book in which both pages are important in order to discover what happens in the story; however, we have focused particularly on the top part, which corresponds to the real world, and we have left the world of shadows to be discovered by the reader (Written reflection; Sombras by Suzy Lee; LCY; 2018-2019).

After the interpretation and summary of the album, we thought it was appropriate not to anticipate everything that the book was going to tell us. For this reason, it is important to emphasize some sequences in order to structure a book trailer in which, without any problems and without giving too much information, the reader can understand what the basis of the work is and from there, they can feel that they want to know more about it (Written reflection; Ser quinto by Ernst Jandl and Norman Junge; CLLE; 2022-2023)

In some cases, the need is inferred from the testimonies to update the discourse in the re-writing in order to bring the work closer to the reader and to adapt the discourses to the formats, discovering the essence of the work, as appropriate, from the different languages:

Those [images] have been selected that are most representative of situations that children can see in their surrounding environment and with which it is possible for them to feel identified with. These images are, in turn, closely related to the message that the author wishes to communicate, which encourages the child to generate hypotheses about what they are going to find when reading the work. Likewise, it should be emphasized that the selected images have a white background, in order to allow part of the book’s format to be discovered by reading it. The only colors that appear throughout the entire work are red, white, black and green, which in some manner indicates that color plays an important role in the work and will communicate a message. (…) The music that we have decided to use is La valse d’Amélie, from the soundtrack of the film Amélie. This song has a slow rhythm that encourages reflection, and a mysterious nature that helps the students pay attention throughout the entire video. In addition, it promotes the creation of an environment of curiosity (Written reflection; Las mujeres y los hombres by Lucy Gutiérrez and Equipo Plantel; SLI; 2021-2022).

Students therefore repeatedly allude from the re-writing required by the tool to an analytical and reflective reading method, the product of the determining factors that are proposed by the virtual epitext promoting the reading.

4.2. Shared Construction of Meaning

Closely linked to what is described above, another relevant aspect is the allusion to the way in which the proposal generates an opportunity for the shared construction of meaning in the reception of the book being analyzed. In this way, the zeal to corroborate the way in which the work has been interpreted is the product of the determining factors that are imposed by the creation of the book trailer. As mentioned earlier, the parameters of this epitext as a short story conveyed by the principles of cinematographic language promote a round-trip exercise with regard to the book being disseminated, which due to the group nature of the task, evolves into a comparison of the personal interpretation of the work:

(…) Before starting to create the book trailer, we decided to brainstorm those aspects that seemed to be the most important to us, and which we wanted to highlight no matter what in the video we were going to create (…) This practice has been one of the most complex ones, since we had to reach a consensus on how we wanted to focus it (…), as this is a work in an unusual sense, in which the readers themselves reflect on what is being told (Written reflection; Las mujeres y los hombres by Luci Gutiérrez and Equipo Plantel; SLI; 2021-2022).

The first aspect to be debated was which book-album we wanted to choose to create the book trailer. We finally chose El increíble niño comelibros, by Oliver Jeffers. This book seemed like the most attractive one to us for producing a book trailer, as it stood out for its humor and the spot-on accompaniment of its illustrations. The next step was to decide what aspects of the book we wanted to highlight: should we select a part of the book? Suspend the plot? Start from the beginning of the book or from the end? Should we include more text or more images? Should we use transitions or blend the images? This part took us the longest, since each of us provided different ideas and it was complicated to reach an agreement (Written reflection; El increíble niño comelibros by Oliver Jeffers; LCY; 2018-2019).

From the very beginning, we had a lot of doubts about which work to choose. Each member of the pair was perfectly acquainted with both works (El Secreto by Éric Battut and La Ola by Suzy Lee), and we had a positive view of both. In addition, we had both enjoyed the analysis process, which allowed us to have a better vision and the desire to delve deeper into them.

After observing and reading both works several times, it occurred to us to make a short draft of how we could produce each of the book trailers. We further explored both albums and the parts that might have the greatest interest when it came to making the video, and then we had a brainstorming session in which both members jotted down and suggested ideas that we later shared. We recorded the conclusions we gradually made about each of the albums (…) We finally decided on La Ola, by Suzy Lee. We chose this work as it seemed like a more unusual book, one that was more innovative to consider and show to our classmates. This made it perhaps more interesting to examine in greater detail. We also saw that it could be more attention-grabbing and the ideas provided in this book seemed more suggestive to us (Written reflection; La ola by Suzy Lee; CLLE; 2022-2023).

4.3. Strengthening of the Emotional Component

Another aspect that characterizes the way children’s books are read in association with the proposed task is the need to promote the emotional dimension of the discourse; some of the languages involved in the creation of the book trailer have to do with the sensations that the work generates in its reception. In this sense, it is the parameters of the book trailer (music, complicity with the reader, etc.) that promote a reading that pays closer attention to the emotional dimension, in order to evoke or suggest in the receiver the emotional reactions experienced by the mediator-in-training; in this case:

We decided that since the phrases had a lot of meaning in this book, we should give them an even more striking and sentimental connotation. In this way, we decided that we would get people around us to record one of the phrases in order to insert them in the video. (…) Once all of the images were together, we began to ask people around us (friends, fathers, mothers, grandparents, etc.) to record one of the phrases from the book in their own voice. We then uploaded the voices along with the corresponding phrase from the book and the background music to give it greater emotiveness and sentiment (Written reflection on El hilo de la vida by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch, LCY, 2018‑2019).

(…) I have chosen a book trailer format with a slight touch of a “horror story.” I want the children somehow to feel a certain danger, an uneasiness, even a threat (which is what dictatorships really are). I want them to have the feeling that they need to know more about a topic that could one day prove dangerous for them. In fact, this is what I felt when I read the book, and what I want to communicate. To transmit this sensation, I have chosen certain specific elements from the book that seemed most appropriate to me. (Written reflection; Así es la dictadura by Mikel Casal and Equipo Plantel; SLI; 2021‑2022).

We have used [...] the song ‘Benny Hill’ by the Edwin Davids Jazz Band [...] We were looking for a fun, lively melody and [one that] achieved that atmosphere of play, motivation and interaction, that the author used to manage to communicate with his work (Written reflection; Un libro by Hervé Tullet; CLLE; 2022-2023).

Furthermore, the music we have chosen divides the story into two different times: on the one hand, waiting, with the sound of a clock with a slow rhythm, symbolizing that the wait is slow for the characters and on the other hand, after the narrator asks the viewer the question, the actions that occurred, as well as the emotions of the characters, with a melody of anguish and desperation, with fast rhythms (Written reflection; Ser quinto by Ernst Jandl and Norman Junge; CLLE, 2022-2023).

As can be inferred from these testimonies, the emotional dimension is linked to the elements of cinematographic language from the transmedia nature facilitated by the tool to sounds, voices and music, thus promoting a direct discourse that engages the senses.

4.4. Approach to the Keys of Album Construction

One of the crucial aspects of the book trailer is the multimodal approach to the keys to the album construction. In this sense, the students’ reflections allow us to recognize the way in which the book trailer format itself, through its defining parameters, focuses on three key aspects: ellipsis, metaphors and pacing. Therefore, the parallelism between the constituent elements of the book trailer and the discursive codes of the album seems to impose itself on the completion of this task.

First of all, the exercise in multimedial synthesis, ellipsis and suspension that the book trailer proposes requires the students to engage in a conceptual analysis based on the idea of suggesting the essence of the work without revealing it in order to arouse curiosity on behalf of the reader about the analog discourse proposed by the work.

We felt it was interesting to create suspense in certain parts of the work in order to captivate the audience and thus create a certain curiosity about the plot of this book in the future reader of this work by Oliver Jeffers (Written reflection; El increíble niño comelibros by Oliver Jeffers; LCY; 2018-2019).

We have created an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty, which gradually builds as the story progresses. (…) We have decided to eliminate certain illustrations; in others, we have only included the image, without any type of text on it. For this reason, we can state that we have used resources such as ellipsis. In addition, we have made use of the fragmentation of that information from the story that we wanted to choose. Similarly, a suspension of the story occurs when a soldier finds Otto laying among the debris of a building (Written reflection; Otto by Tomi Ungerer; CLLE; 2022-2023).

By having to choose only certain scenes from the book to present it, I have realized how well structured it is, and how it threads together concepts regarding the lack of freedom, the violent power that is exercised in totalitarian societies and the consequences that this has on the population (Written reflection; Así es la dictadura by Mikel Casal and Equipo Plantel; SLI; 2021-2022).

With regard to metaphors, the reflections by the students show an appropriation of this resource as a reflection of its use in the work being analyzed, further supported by the need to establish the synthesis required by the tool:

The figure of Rosa Blanca is fundamental in the work, given that her presence appears constantly throughout the story, either explicitly or physically (in the illustrations), or implicitly through the use of visual metaphors (the last image of the book). (…) Metaphors are used to highlight that a change has occurred (the transition from the cold autumn-winter to spring). The exploration of a new place that carries with it the loss of innocence and finally the construction of a final metaphor related to death (through the white flowers as the liberation of the soul and symbol of rebirth (implicitly) (Written reflection; Rosa Blanca by Roberto Innocenti; LCY; 2018-2019).

We see the little details reflected on the red sheet that represents the little good things that pass unnoticed throughout the story, but that appears on each page and in the end forms a large red tree, using a metaphor that hopes to show that the little details in life come together, forming a great tree (Written reflection; El árbol rojo by Shuan Tan; CLLE; 2022-2023).

In this sense, it is precisely in the requirements imposed by the discourse of book trailers (such as brevity, for example) that some students encounter a barrier for the reflection of a discourse (that of the book being analyzed), the composition of which is based to a large extent on metaphors. In this way, it is once again the round trip between the analog reading and the digital re-writing that suggests an in-depth reflection, inspired by the parameters of the virtual epitext:

It is a story full of ellipsis and metaphors, which with the editing of the video itself, may superficially give rise to them, allowing the viewer to structure the story in their own way. The metaphor of the two dogs playing appears with the parallelism of the relationship between Mancha and Carlos and as the only constant in the story. The metaphor of the screaming trees also appears. Many more also appear that require a careful reading or watching the book trailer several times (Written reflection; Voces en el parque by Anthony Browne; LCY; 2018-2019).

Finally, the cinematographic language inherent in the book trailer proposes a reflection on the tempo with which the works are explained. Some reflections thus show the way in which the music and sequencing of the actions identify the pace of the work:

One of the keys that we have wished to highlight about the book is the reiteration that occurs in the text when each of the characters appears. The same process is repeated, with each animal climbing on the back of the previous one. With the appearance of each, the text also repeats a structure similar to what has already been seen (Written reflection; A qué sabe la luna by Michael Grejniec; CLLE; 2022‑2023).

While editing the book trailer, we realized that we had too many images in one minute of time; for this reason, we decided to eliminate some of them, and to make it simpler and slower. (…) The idea also arose to use the red hat feature as a common thread, having it jump from one image to another in the video. This idea was inspired by the original illustrations themselves, in each of which the hat appears in one way or another. (…) We thought about using one type of music for each voice, which would symbolize and reflect the mood of each character. It first occurred to us to use Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, since each character also symbolizes a season of the year. But we rejected this idea because it did not match the moods that we hoped it would. So, we changed our mind and considered the music by Yann Tiersen. His compositions follow the same common thread, since his music is very characteristic, and this time we were able to better select one song or another to match each character, although our selection may be quite subjective (Written reflection; Voces en el parque by Anthony Browne; LCY; 2018-2019).

All the videos [clips that make up the book trailer video we created] are sped up by 0.5, to give the sensation of activity, motivation and action (Written reflection; Un libro by H. Tullet; CLLE; 2022‑2023)

Along these lines, it is not surprising that the students experienced some difficulties in identifying the appropriate pace of the story and the matching of text and images:

We started by creating a storyboard to brainstorm some ideas and make a sketch of the images we wanted to introduce in the book trailer. However, this first storyboard was not the most appropriate; it contained a lot of text and few images, so we decided to create a new storyboard. Next, we started the second storyboard, in which we attempted to correct the errors that we made on the first one. However, by trying to correct the aforementioned errors, we ended up doing the same thing, but in the opposite sense, i.e., we developed a book trailer that contained a lot of images, but little text, which also failed to convince us. Finally, we created a third and final storyboard based on the previous two, taking the aspects we liked best from both the first and second versions (Written reflection; Este no es mi bombín by Jon Klassen; LCY; 2018-2019)

While editing the book trailer, we realized that we had too many images in one minute of time; for this reason, we decided to eliminate some of them, and to make it simpler and slower. (…) The idea also arose to use the red hat feature as a common thread, having it jump from one image to another in the video. This idea was inspired by the original illustrations themselves, in each of which the hat appears in one way or another. (…) We thought about using one type of music for each voice, which would symbolize and reflect the mood of each character. It first occurred to us to use Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, since each character also symbolizes a season of the year. But we rejected this idea because it did not match the moods that we hoped it would. So we changed our mind and considered the music by Yann Tiersen. His compositions follow the same common thread, since his music is very characteristic, and this time we were able to better select one song or another to match each character, although our selection may be quite subjective. (Written reflection; Voces en el parque by Anthony Browne; LCY; 2018-2019).

4.5. Mediator Training

Another of the emerging categories alludes to the way in which the book trailer contributes not only to a more analytical comparison of the work, but also to the understanding of the theoretical assumptions of reading-literary education, taught from the very beginning within the course framework. In this manner, the requested task allows the students to change the prejudices that they have acquired about children’s works over the course of their lives as readers and teacher trainees. In particular, the explicit didacticism is one of the characteristics that gives way in the selection to artistic concepts linked to aspects such as ellipsis and metaphors as tropes of construction. This result is evident in the interviews conducted with student participants and in the analysis of their own work, along with a reflection on the importance of reading in the construction of an individual’s identity in a democratic society.

In this manner, their training as readers and reading mediators seems to be reinforced. This is reflected in the use of a more specialized discourse in reference to their own creations, for example, in relation to the role of the different types of narrators in children’s books or in relation to paratexts:

It should be pointed out that there is a clear contrast between what the characters know and what the reader knows. The reader has more information than the characters themselves. The author plays with this information, and throughout the story, a contrast occurs between the images and the text, which is what gives meaning to the story. The text narrates one thing, but the images narrate another and this interplay is what creates the complexity within an apparently simple story. Furthermore, the narrator is a character, which makes him a homodiegetic narrator. This shows us that there is an internal focus. It is written in the first person, and the narrator is the main character and tells us how he personally perceives reality (Written reflection; Este no es mi bombín by Jon Klassen; LCY; 2018-2019).

Another key we want to stress through this book trailer is the focalization, which is a zero focalization in which the narrator is omniscient, in other words, he knows all aspects of the story, how the characters feel and how they will resolve the conflict. Therefore, through the text, we tell what is happening in the images just like an omniscient narrator would, but without getting involved in the course of the story (Written reflection; A qué sabe la luna by Michael Grejniec; CLLE; 2022-2023).

We wanted the narrator to be a little girl speaking in the third person, since in the book the narrator is focalized, because it is the little boy who tells the story and we never know the thoughts of the penguin, just the interpretations by the little boy (Written reflection; Perdido y encontrado by Oliver Jeffers; CLLE; 2022-2023).

The first thing we observe at the start of this book trailer is the title page [cover] of the book itself, on which we see a dog with a pleasant, yet naïve expression, and a look that leads us to believe that he is staring at something while he holds a red flower in his mouth. His body language reflects tranquility and happiness, which we can also observe in his little ears. Thanks to the setting where the dog is, an everyday setting, we might think that his personality is the same as this, a calm personality that would never get into mischief, but something gives us a clue that things are not this way; in this case, the flower plucked from a flower pot (Written reflection; ¿No! by M. Altés; CLLE; 2022-2023).

The students also show awareness that the creation of a book trailer would represent learning for primary students. In other words, the proposal also stimulates their thought as mediators. By evaluating what making a book trailer would mean for boys and girls, they express what the creation process has meant for themselves:

(…) [through the creation of the book trailer] we have gotten to know the book better and we have noticed all the details, such as at the start of the book are two pages with a white background and many illustrations that refer to the reading, for example. This is to say that they are elements that will appear throughout the work since each one refers to an expression (Written reflection; O nuestro charrar by Iris Campos and Delia Tello; SLI; 2022-2023).

In order to talk about the book Contar and explain how the idea came up that was ultimately materialized in the book trailer, we must point out that it was thanks to an in-depth, repeated and analytical reading of this book (Written reflection; Contar by Pep Bruno and Andrea Antinori; SLI; 2022-2023).

With the joint and agreed creation of a school book trailer, students manage to give meaning in a global sense to the strategies they have learned in different curricular areas. All of this can lead to positive interactions in a cooperative learning environment (…) This would be a more entertaining way for children to be able to delve deeper into a book. They would not just read it and that’s it, but rather they would talk among themselves about what they have read, they would study why the book is made that way and they would realize many more things than just some simple images and illustrations on a sheet of paper; in short it would be reading, in a literal sense, in a different way (Written reflection; Sombras by Suzy Lee; LCY; 2018-2019).

The creation of this book trailer has allowed us to understand that different methodologies can be used to practice reading (which is normally a task children reject) and to have students reflect on and become interested in the topic at hand (Written reflection; Lo que tú quieras by Ellen Duthie and Daniela Martagón; SLI; 2021-2022).

Another important benefit is the in-depth examination the book requires when creating a book trailer. This involves reading the book several times, with a different perception every time you finish it; a complex story like Voces en el parque requires continuous reading to understand all the aspects contained by the text and the illustrations (Written reflection; Voces en el parque by Anthony Browne; LCY; 2018‑2019).

This practice sets aside the traditional approaches and uses an innovative methodology in which the students are their own teachers, i.e., they decide what to do, how to do it and how to show it to their classmates. We could say that this is a practice that promotes student creativity and critical thinking (Written reflection; El ángel del abuelo by Jutta Bauer; LCY; 2018-2019).

In conclusion, the reading of the book and the creation of the book trailer has given us a more reflective vision about this type of work and resource. Before engaging in this practice, we were not very familiar with book trailers, but we have realized that they are an enjoyable, entertaining way to work with a book (Written reflection; Contar by Pep Bruno and Andrea Antonori; SLI; 2021-2022).

In order to create it, students must engage in an exhaustive study of the book, carefully analyzing it, reading it several times, learning from it and eventually discovering the underlying message. All of this allows the teacher to work in depth on a topic with his or her students and promote interest and curiosity in the book. This leads to active reading and participation by the individual. All of this translates into valuable literary education. (…) In other words, it is a dynamic way to present a book, which can awaken interest in students; their creation permits an in-depth study of the book. (Written reflection; Voces en el parque by Anthony Browne; LCY; 2018-2019).

From the students’ discourses we can conclude the relevance of this exercise involving “reading for re-writing on a digital medium” as an inspiring and attractive approach to the analysis of children’s works, an aspect that is coherent with the profile of students who function easily in a digital environment. In this manner, students show in their reflections during the interviews a positive appreciation for the digital format of the proposed task, and see book trailers not just as an interesting tool for the personal approach to the reflective reading of the analyzed work, rather also as a relevant instrument in reading-literary education from the teacher’s perspective.

S1: Yes. I believe that it stays with you much more than with just reading it. It’s as if you investigate it further, you get inside the story (...) Anyway, I think so.

S3: …And you have to search for the music; we looked for sad music; you have to narrate it, which S1 narrated in such a way so that they are not telling it as if “Oh, how great”... No, they are telling you it, making you see that it is a sad story. We looked for photos, for more information... And we compared them [the photos] to the illustrations. And you choose (…) Which is what I think makes you delve deeper into the background of the book.

S1: And it’s possible that it [the book] does not have the same effect on everyone. We interpreted it according to how it made us feel, but possibly another group, with the same book, would make a totally different book trailer, with more lively or slower music; an interpretation with a calmer or faster voice… you know? In order to evoke other emotions...

S3: I think that by creating the book trailer, among the three of us, little by little, we created our way of understanding the book, because maybe at the beginning each person went a little in their own direction, obviously, when we read each on our own. But later, talking…, of course, we had to do the final assignment, which was the book trailer… (Discussion group; Mexique. El nombre del barco by María José Ferrada and Ana Penyas; SLI; 2022-2023).

This exercise lead to a detailed reading of the work, which meant a necessary re-reading, which represented for many students a new approach to selecting children’s books:

Since it is a practice based on the selection of a non-fiction book and the creation of its book trailer, the reading process for its development follows a very different path from the normal method. It consists, then, of a repeated reading, since it is essential to know everything the book tells us. It is crucial to read it as many times as necessary in order to understand all its meaning, so that it is shown synthesized in the book trailer and intriguing the viewers about what they can find if they read the book (…). Using the book trailer tool to synthesize a work noticeably affects the way in which we conceive of and interpret it. The development of a book trailer based on a book requires the conscientious reading of it. Thus, it is a process that noticeably boosts its comprehension, since doing this through an in-depth reading or in a way that is different from how the work had been interpreted before completing the task helps us to understand the contents of the work more easily. Furthermore, in order to create the trailer, it is essential to abstractly consider the general and relevant characteristics that the book transmits to us and use them to tell the reader what they can find in the reading (Written reflection; Hay clases sociales, by Joan Negrescolor and Equipo Plantel; SLI; 2022-2023).

In conclusion, the connection between the results of the analysis of the album “Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante” and the decisions for creating a book trailer lies in the in-depth comprehension of the work and the capacity to transmit its essence in a visually attractive manner. The analysis of the album provides us with the key elements to highlight in the trailer, such as the plot, the characters, the themes and the style of illustration. By considering the target audience and making informed decisions about the narrative, visual and stylistic focus of the book trailer, it is possible to create an audiovisual work that captures the magic and charm of the ”Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante” and generates interest in the work (Written reflection; Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante de J. Brunhoff; CLLE; 2022‑2023).

In short, the decision to make a book trailer on the story “Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante” is supported by multiple reasons, such as the promotion of the book, reaching new audiences, communicating the essence of the story, generating emotion and emotional connection, reinforcing the brand recognition and taking advantage of the video marketing trend. By using the video format as an effective promotional tool, it is possible to increase the visibility and interest in this marvelous literary work, connecting with a broader audience and sharing its charm and message with the world. In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, the creation of a book trailer for the story “Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante” can help to provide a more complete and visually attractive experience for readers. While the book itself is based primarily on the written word and the illustrations, the video can add a new level of immersion, by combining visual and auditory elements (Written reflection; Historia de Babar, el pequeño elefante by J. Brunhoff; CLLE; 2022-2023).

5. Conclusions

From the results presented, it is inferred that the production of a book trailer involves a reflexive and in-depth reading of the book on which it is based. In the previous line of research (Ballester e Ibarra, 2017; Basaraba, 2016; Bilushchak et al., 2020; Dimova et al., 2018; Grøn, 2014; Heredia-Ponce et al., 2020; Lebrun et al., 2018; Lluch et al., 2015; Romero-Oliva et al., 2019; Romero-Oliva et al., 2020; Rovira, 2013, 2015; Tabernero-Sala, 2015a, 2015b, 2016, 2018b; Tabernero-Sala & Calvo-Valios, 2016), the study conducted evidences, from observation and from the vicissitudes represented in the written reflections of students and in the interviews and discussion groups, how the teacher trainees approach this virtual promotional epitext to the extent that it represents a discursive multimodality in keeping with the digital society and how, through it, they perform the reading and analysis of the children’s works. In this sense, the qualitative analysis of the data offers categories linked to four relevant aspects in higher education contexts: reading for re-writing between digital and analog paradigms (Lluch et al., 2015; Cordón-García, 2018); the shared construction of knowledge in the group proposal in line with fostering the critical reading that reflects in depth within the framework of hybridization (Wolf, 2020); an approach, thanks to the multimodal nature of the tool, to the pillars of discursive construction (ellipsis, metaphors, pacing of the sequences) in the virtual re-writing (Bader, 1976) and the intuitive projection of the emotional dimension of the discourse in the book trailer, from the perspective of a reading that generates mediation for the purpose of persuasion (Tabernero-Sala et al. 2022). The last category identified merits a separate mention, with regard to educational situations, since the creation of a book trailer, as reflected in the data obtained, represents for the students an exercise in reflection on the tool and on the essence of the discourse itself. This is true to the extent that fundamental matters in the mediation, such as the selection criteria, the identification of the function of the mediator and the lexical precision in the designation of the instances of enunciation from the assumptions of literary theory, promote book trailers as a means of training mediators. This is explained within the framework of the digital society, between digital and analog paradigms. Accordingly, this tool facilitates the training of mediators, thanks to its multimodal conception of the reading ecosystem (García-Canclini, 2015). The book trailer is thus understood as one of the pillars on which the education of readers in the 21st century can gravitate, as alleged in the European Union’s Report on the development of a cultural plan (2015-2018) Promoting Reading in the Digital Environment (European Commission, 2016). On the other hand, from their onset, book trailers abide by the need to link art and knowledge, as Montes (2017) states, given that they are defined as a mode of digital artistic expression with their own language, very appropriate for training readers in the 21st century. The evidence presented leads us to conclude in favor of the value of book trailers as a tool that goes between the analog and digital reading paradigms, a way of reading for 21st-century mediators that moves in the different environments with unusual agility. In fact, in the observation records, it was discovered that a large part of the students tended to reverse the order of the activities proposed in the task (1. Analysis of the book; 2. Creation of its book-trailer) in a natural way, first developing the book trailer in order to undertake afterwards -or in parallel to it- the in-depth analysis of the work. In this sense, the students manifested how book trailers facilitated the process of reflection with which to prepare the extended work. In this line, a representative part of the students in the last course approached the essence of the work intuitively through the digital medium, and then reflected on its mechanisms of construction. As an example, we can allude to the case of a group that worked on a book by Hervé Tullet (2011). They reported they had many difficulties with focusing on the in-depth analysis. These were overcome with the creation of a book trailer based on the magical play of hands and the effects of the narrator’s orders in the creation of fictional spaces. From the book trailer itself, the group then began the extended analysis of the work. For this reason, the teacher trainees propose ways of approaching the analog discourse from the virtual paradigm in an internalized manner, without excessive reflection, since undoubtedly as readers and mediators, they spontaneously insert themselves in a context of hybridization.

In short, the book-trailer is defined in this practice as a virtual epitext generated by the text, by the book, and as a meaning-creating reading guide. It is also presented as an instrument for the development of reading and literary competence. The 21st century reader is thus understood among hybrid reading paradigms that imply the mapping of a new reading ecosystem in which different channels condition the production of new content, as indicated by Lluch (2018). Therefore, it is worth reflecting on the paths that book trailers pave in the promotion of reading among mediators, in this case, future teachers, in order to introduce in university practices the means with which to reverse the results shown by studies on the reading habits of this population. Along these lines, the possibility of conducting quasi-experimental research emerges, which would contrast the results of this research with the results of a proposed intervention of a purely analogical nature.

Chambers (2008) stated that one of the bases of literary education in teacher training involved, as much as possible, introducing students to the difficulties involved in writing for children. For this purpose, Chambers proposes turning future teachers into writers:

The important thing is to write stories; it is the act itself, rather than their publication. We are not trying to turn teachers (students) into authors, rather we are simply trying to help them to discover the author’s problems. We are suggesting that the sustained exercise of writing children’s literature inevitably makes us more consciously skilled readers of children’s literature and more sensitive teachers to both books and children (Chambers, 2008: page 182).

It does not seem wrong to understand, after what has been presented in this study, book trailers as a form of writing that helps 21st century students to understand the intricacies of the construction of children’s literature and to bring back, in this way, the necessary strategies to move skilfully through books, and therefore, through life, as Salinas (2002) advised in his already classic essay El defensor (The defender).

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


This research forms part of the activity of the ECOLIJ (Educación Comunicativa y Literaria en la Sociedad de la Información, Literatura Infantil y Juvenil en la construcción de identidades) reference research group through the R&D project “Lecturas no ficcionales para la integración de ciudadanas y ciudadanos críticos en el nuevo ecosistema cultural (PID2021-126392OB-100)” (Non-fictional readings for the integration of critical citizens in the new cultural ecosystem), funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government, and through the Project S61_23R, funded by the Regional Government of Aragon.


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