Creating Digital Books to Help Others: 20+ Apps, Tools & Ideas

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During one of my teaching internships, my mentor had us create books we read to children from the Boys and Girls Club. I still have my construction paper book with my poor drawings. My artistic abilities didn’t matter to the kids who were just excited to have someone spend time with them. Our learners have the power to greatly impact others with their creations. This holiday season we can get them to create digital books that help others. Fortunately, several free web tools and apps help students quickly and easily create and publish digital books. Keep scrolling to access my bookmarks of free web tools and apps for creating digital books on any device. I’ve included some ideas below and a slide presentation with tips and resources to get students creating digital books that help those around them while learning. If you enjoy these ideas, you may want to join the free 5 week session, eTextbook Teachers, where over 500 teachers support each other in creating digital textbooks.


Students can learn math, science and literature while helping feed others by creating cookbooks. I recommend using BookCreator, Issuu, Slipp.It, or Google Docs. Enhance the cookbooks by getting students to include short how to videos, images, or audio clips of interviews explaining the science, history, traditions or origins of the recipe.

  • Our family recipes and traditions cookbook– create a class cookbook in which students share a traditional recipe and include information about the traditions and origins of the dish. Students can interview family members to discover the history behind the dish and the traditions surrounding it.
  • Special diet cookbook–  students can work in pairs to create cookbooks for those with different allergies who require special diets or for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Science experiments you can eat– students can learn the science behind making homemade ice cream, taffy, or fizzy potions. Check out these bookmarks for ideas.

More Book Ideas

You can choose to publish these books and offer them to the public for free or ask for donations to support a charity or get something important for your class or school.

  • Digital scrapbook– students can take their paper scrapbooks and transform them into digital scrapbooks so that they preserve these family memories for life.
  • Nature book– students work with the local park or campsites to document the plants, animal life, bugs, birds, and other species that visitors will be able to see. Students add important resources and information like maps, diagrams, images, important facts, and more. Many local parks have these documented on paper and could benefit from having a digital book that encourages people to spend time outdoors visiting the park.
  • Books to help local museums or charities
  • Goal journals– students can work in pairs or small groups to create journals for specific goals like a runner’s journal or study journal. They leave entries for each day of the year for people to record their progress and reflect. Each entry can include songs, quotes, anecdotes, famous people, interviews, Ted Talks, and other motivational resources.
  • Learning books for younger relatives or for a class of young learners– your students can create books that teach children the alphabet, animals, to be better citizens, or are full of jokes related to science, math, history, or grammar. Students can visit the class and read them their digital books.
  • A book starring their younger siblings as superheroes or having an adventure.

Get your students to create a digital book that helps someone in a meaningful way.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Book Creation Web Tools & Apps

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at

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