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The Joy of Books

Posted on February 5, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is designed around 2 short films and the theme of books.  The Joy of Books by Sean Ohlenkamp  is a stop-motion short film which features books joyfully coming to life at night.  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an Oscar-nominated  animation by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg.  Students discuss books and reading, and write a narrative based on  a film.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper-intermediate (B2.1)

Learner type: All ages

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Talking about books and reading; watching 2 short film; writing a narrative

Topic: Books and reading

Language: Book vocabulary; narrative tenses

Materials: 2 short films; discussion questions

Downloadable materials: The Joy of Books instructions    joy of books discussion questions  The fantastic flying book images  

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Step 1

Put your students into pairs and ask them to come up with as many genres of books as they can. Give them 2 minutes and then get feedback from the whole class.

Step 2

Ask your students these questions:

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

What do you like about bookshops?

What happens in a bookshop when it is closed at night?

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film which shows what happens in a bookshop at night.


Step 3

Show the film again and ask your students to name as many types of books as they can. Pause when you see a particular type of book.


Step 4

Write the following sentence on the board or pause the film at 1:49:

There’s nothing quite like a real book.

Ask your students if they agree.

Give your students the discussion questions on books and ask them to discussion the questions in small groups.


Step 5

Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film which is called:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Alternatively, show them this image.

Put them into pairs and ask them what they think the film will be about. After 2 minutes get feedback from the whole class.


Step 6

Now put your students into small groups, show them these images taken from the film and ask them to put the images in order and then to write the narrative of the film. You can also the images in the downloadable document.


After 10 minutes get feedback and ask one student from each group to read out their narrative.


Step 7

Now show the film and ask students to compare their narratives with that of the film.



Step 8

Ask your students what the message of the film is.



Show your students this image.

Give your students the link to the film and ask them to watch it again. They should write a story using the first paragraph above to tell a story based on the film.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

One-off payment


29 thoughts on “The Joy of Books

  1. Pingback: The Joy of Books | Film English | Books Palace

  2. Hi Kieran,
    Thanks for another inspiring lesson plan.I particularly like step 6 where the students have to create the narrative using stills from the video. As always the choice of video is spot on and I like how your lessons now clearly state the learning aims, learner type etc before you give a clear step-by-step guide to the lesson.
    I really like how your blog has developed and I’m always awaiting your next lesson.
    I used some of your lessons during my winter camp and the students were very engaged. I look forward to trying out your new lessons.

    • Hi Andy,
      Thanks for your kind comments. I decided to put the objectives etc. at the beginning of each lesson plan which, I hope, makes it easier for teachers to use. I’ve also put all material in PDF format as well. I’m happy your students found the classes engaging.
      All the ebst,

  3. such a wonderful choice of theme! in the era of the Internet, e-books and all that sort of electronic materials – to nurnure the love for BOOKs is so fabuluos!
    i was greatly impressed seeing tears in the eyes of my students who seem not to value muh the real paper books nowadays.
    thank you so much!!!!
    it was my first acquantaince with the site and it turned out to be so successful .
    thank you again.
    be inspired and inspiring for all of us – the followers of the english film!

  4. Wow!!! I’m really pleased to have seen this kind of material. Congrats, Very nice job. I’ll recommend it to my colleagues.

    John Fernando

    • Hi John Fernando,
      Thanks a lot for your kind comments and for recommmending the site. I’m really happy that you enjoy the lessons.
      All the ebst,

  5. Pingback: FILM ENGLISH: The Joy of Books | Chestnut ESL HOME

  6. Brilliant again, looking forward to 23 April, World Book Day, to use it in class!
    Thanks a bunch for sharing all these materials!

    • Hi Mª Jesús, Thanks a lot for sharing the link. Your student’s story is fantastic, it’s so imaginative and creative. I’m really impressed. Please pass on my congratulations to your student. All the best, Kieran

  7. Hello!
    I’m really hoping to use this lesson in one of my classes – I have found the first video ‘the Joy of Books’ on YouTube but I’m not sure which version of the second film you meant to use? I can only find 15 minute-versions, but this seems a little long…
    I also can’t download any document except the instructions, but that might be because I’m in Germany. I’m already excited to use this material, so thanks very much!

    • Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for commenting. Yes, the film is 15 minutes long. Thank you to for the heads up about the unavailable documents; I’ve now sorted out the problem and they are online again.
      All the best,

  8. Dear Kieran,
    thank you so much for this amazing lesson! Great choice of topic and films! Would it be possible to get the access to the following materials: ‘Joy of books discussion questions’,’The Fantastic Flying Books Pictures ‘ and ‘The Fantastic Flying Book slides’. They are not available on the website. Thank you in advance.
    Kind regards,