21 May 2021
Books have always been popular at Burgess Hill Girls, but during the past year, the girls and their teachers have taken their reading to the next level. Since 2020 the school has been publishing monthly, sometimes weekly, lists of recommend reads for the whole school community, from Nursery children to Grandparents. The school leadership team has also made video readings of their favourite children’s books accompanied by illustrations from pupils. The latest initiative is BookSmart, a video book series for teenage girls with content created and delivered by the students at Burgess Hill Girls.
Each month a new episode of BookSmart is broadcast on the school’s YouTube channel. The series is co-presented by twins Madison and Amelie, who also interview a Young Adult (YA) fiction author each month. Authors to have featured in the first few episodes include Sophie McKenzie, Patrice Lawrence, and Sara Barnard. Viewers also get a chance to win a book by the featured author through commenting on the video. Finally, other students from Burgess Hill Girls give their personal recommendations on books for viewers to read. For all the girls involved it has been a highly rewarding experience:
“BookSmart allows us to share our passion for books with readers everywhere. It is also a unique opportunity to meet our favourite authors and delve into our favourite books with the people that have created them!” Amelie and Madison
“I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed filming my recommendation. Scanning my bookcase for the perfect choice was really exciting.” Hannah
The girls are all currently filming for episode four which will feature the usual book recommendations and an interview with author Sally Gardner.
Helping the girls to create the monthly episodes are Media Officer Amber Balman and Learning Resource Centre Manager Yve Akehurst. Yve is thrilled to see the girls sharing their love of books and meeting their favourite authors:
“The early teenage years can be a time when girls lose interest in reading for pleasure in favour of social media. So, we thought we would share our love of reading Young Adult fiction in the same space. Hopefully, it might inspire some girls to swipe less and read more.”
Watch all the previous episodes of BookSmart.