Creating An Immersive Experience

Reading is what we do when we want to leave our world for a while and dip into someone else’s. It’s where we go to get away and be fully immersed into another person’s life.  Better than just using our imaginations, why not add to the experience by creating one that spans beyond just the book?

Publishers have been slowly building on this theory for the past few years to much success.  Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler has an interactive Tumblr Blog called The Why We Broke Up Project, where readers can submit their own breakup stories and read those of others.  Along with the tumblr, there is also a musical playlist curated by Handler that can be found here.   Creating a way for readers to further relate with the characters of the book, Handler’s “Why We Broke Up Project” is as humorous as he is, and also includes replies from him directly to readers.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.08.51 AM


Another YA title, Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral, went beyond its pages by incorporating an app that included “primary sources”, music, and images that corresponded to the text.  Described as a “visual work of fiction”, the app and website allowed readers to see additional content, supplemental videos, and discover more about the story from a multitude of angles.

Turn Our Eyes Away by Zoe Zorka features social media accounts for the book characters that let you friend them and actually interact.  In a book about the long-term effects of bullying, it provides an additional layer of depth to the characters of the story.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 1.15.19 AM

Seeking out content that intertwines with your collection can be fun, especially now that so many are taking the leap, but can you create your own transmedia, crossmedia, and immersive experiences for books your teens already know and love?  Of course you can!  Here’s a few short ideas.

Music Playlists

Make a playlist out of any songs your character mentions in the book and set it as public for your teens to follow.  Have teens suggest songs to add to the playlists! Spotify is a great tool for this.

Pairing Books with Video Games

A slightly less fluid approach is to take the themes of a book and relate them to the themes found in video games.  The newest title in the Batman game series, “Arkham Knight” gives a ton of nods to the comics themselves, with some scenes coming straight from the books.  Try an interactive game night!

Cosplay & Larping

Cosplay(Costume Play) or Larping (Live Action Role Playing) consist of dressing up as characters from books, movies or games.  A cosplay event at your library can really draw in a crowd.  If you’re not sure that your community already embraces this art form, try hosting events to teach teens how to make or build their own cosplay costumes.

Film Projects

If you have teens who love to be in front of the camera, why not try to create a video project that updates a classic?  The “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is a video webseries that brings Elizabeth Bennet of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, while “Nothing Much to Do” is a similar series that does the same for Much Ado About Nothing.  (Here’s a great article about it!)

Teens can write, produce, direct, and film their own projects to be shared with your library community and beyond.

Social Media Posts for Book Characters

You don’t have to be on the computer for this one!  Create paper versions of blank social media accounts and let teens run wild. This awesome blog has links to templates.

Interactive Alternative Reality

For their 2013 “Keep Toronto Reading” program, the Toronto Public Library hosted an interactive activity with their community to build on to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.  To participate, patrons called a phone number to receive assignments and speak to characters.  You may not have the resources to pull off as grand a scheme, but using a mass text service could help you create a text program that lets you send text alerts from book characters. Give clues to library scavenger hunts, or even create buzz for a book event at the library such as a an interactive scene for a book, like Dorothy’s ball from Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die, and encourage guests to dress like they live in Oz.

Whatever the route you take, immersive experiences will give you the opportunity to stretch your creativity, while also giving your teens the chance to get up close and personal with the books they know and love.  Have fun with it, and try something new and exciting.

Have you ever tried or created an immersive experience for your teens?  Have a great idea?  Tell us about it in the comments!



Transmedia Storytelling for the Digital Age

The 7 Literacies of Transmedia Storytelling

25 Things You Should Know about Transmedia Storytelling


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *