Thing 17: eBook Creation

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Topics covered in this lesson*: 

  • Using student created ebooks to enhance learning
  • Book creation tools
  • Tips and resources for creating ebooks

* Remember you don’t have to explore everything in this lesson. Pick what interests you most. 


With digital book creation apps, students can create products that combine writing, illustration, photography, media and more. They present opportunities for students to stretch their reading and writing skills, whether it’s as a long-form story, poetry, writing up a science experiment, creating a class news magazine, reflecting on their learning at the end of study unit or illustrating and writing a comic strip.

Educators can use these tools to create their own ebooks as well. Think of all the great OER material that you can draw on to create customized “lesson books” (that sounds less daunting than a “textbook,” right?).

Most apps have an option to create a PDF file that can be downloaded, shared and printed. This is the simplest approach for student work. PDFs are easily shared and can be viewed on virtually all devices. Though they can be unwieldy on small screens.

Some tools also have an option to create an EPUB file. An EPUB can be opened in most eReader apps. And with an EPUB file the font size can easily be changed by the reader, making it more usable on mobile devices. (Note that Kindle doesn’t support EPUB format. Annoying! But Calibre to the rescue, this free software will convert EPUB to MOBI for your Kindle. Yes, ebook formats can get confusing.)

Student-Made E-Books: A Beautiful Way to Demonstrate Learning – Do read this great blog post (or listen to the podcast episode) from Jennifer Gonzalez. She provides lots of project ideas and a video on using PowerPoint to create ebooks.


BOOK CREATOR – (iOS, Chrome Browser) Book Creator is one of the most popular book creation tools in the education world. Currently available as an app for iOS, Android and the Chrome browser. Creating a new book is as simple as selecting from a set of standard layouts, then adding text, photos, shapes, audio and more. Content created in other apps can be added directly into a Book Creator project. See this article on the top apps to use in conjunction with Book Creator.

Finished books can be exported in a variety of formats for sharing. There’s even a “read to me” option that will read text back to you. All in all, a fun and flexible tool. Not surprising that it’s so popular. There is a free version to test out, the full version is $4.99 on iOS. And there is a bulk discount for educational use.

STORYBIRD – Use the wonderful artwork available in Storybird as story starters. Write storybooks that are viewable online, long form books and poetry. For a small fee, you can download work in PDF format for printing. Educator accounts include classroom organization options.

STORYJUMPER – What a delightfully fun and easy to use tool. Add text, props, room scenes, characters, your own photos and voices. Free to save books for online viewing. Fee for printing or downloading.

GOOGLE DOCS – For books that are mostly text, Google Docs is a simple place to write and output in PDF format for sharing and printing. There is also an option to download as in ePub format which gives readers the option to read in their favorite ebook reading app. If you are adding lots of media, a better bet is Google Slides since it allows better control over placement of text and media.

GOOGLE SLIDES & GOOGLE DRAWING – Set your Google slides layout to portrait size 8 1/2 x 11 and you have the layout for a traditionally sized book. (File menu –> Page Setup –> Custom) It’s much easier to layout text with photos and other visual content in Google Slides than it is in Google Docs. Students can also use Google Drawing tools to create images that can be imported into the Slides.

MAKE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE STORIES – Who doesn’t love a Choose Your Own Adventure story? Kids certainly do! And what fun to create their own digital versions. Here’s a fun Dragon Quest story as an example. Google Slides is a popular way to create stories. It’s easy to add images and text. And simple to link from one slide to another to provide choices in the path through the story.

TIKATOK – A digital creation and publishing platform for K-6. Includes lots of lesson ideas, book templates and more. Aligned with Common Core standards. Try it out for free. $19 year for an entry level subscription.

PAGES – for iOS and Mac. “On your Mac, iOS device, and online at, choose from a variety of predesigned book templates to create an interactive EPUB book that can be viewed in Apple Books.”

CALAMEO  – Not really a creation tool, but a good place to store and share PDFs that you’ve created using other methods. Read about Stacey Rattner’s Stone Soup project to see how she’s used it for student created books.

CALIBRE – This freemium software for Mac, Windows and Linux is a fabulous tool for organizing all your ebooks. It can also convert books from one format to another. This is handy for converting EPUB files to MOBI so you can read them via Kindle.

COMICS – Great way to combine storyboarding, drawing and writing.



  • Try out one of the ebook tools listed above or any other ebook tool that you are interested in.
  • In your blog post discuss what you tried and share your project if possible.
  • Also, discuss how you might you use ebook creation tools with your students? Or for your own teaching purposes.


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

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