27 Mar 2023

Book Week: Reigniting students’ love for reading

From dressing up as their favourite book character to guessing The Book in the Jar, many students participated in the numerous activities that Book Week had to offer. The celebrations began on the 27th of February and concluded on the 3rd of March with the Sha Tin College community taking part in engaging activities to ignite their love of literature and reading.

To start the week, many students put their art skills to the test by participating in the Bookmark Design Competition, where students created designs that would be judged by a panel of teachers and librarians. Ultimately, the winners’ impeccable designs will be professionally printed as bookmarks, displayed in the library and available to students in the next academic year. Congratulations to the bookmark winners: Elise Mak (7D2), Cheviane Leung (8X1), Sandrea Siu (9D2), Madelyn Chin (10X2), Talise Leung (10G2), Hermione Tang (11X1), Jessica Ng (11X1), Chloe Chow (12X1), and Sophie Gain (12G2). On the back of each bookmark, the winners have recommended their favourite book to our students.

Following the Bookmark Design Competition, a Readathon was also held where students read as many books as they could in a given amount of time. Participants had to keep track of their reading progress and those who completed the competition received certificates. Not only was it an exciting event, but it was also for a good cause. The money raised through the Readathon will be donated to the Hong Kong-based charity, Room to Read, which promotes girls’ education through supporting reading and literature around the world. Overall, it was an enticing experience for avid readers!

Another competitive activity was guessing The Book in the Jar. This simple yet entertaining activity consisted of a jar with shredded pages of a book – this year was “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee – for students to guess. This activity allowed students to show off their knowledge of books and authors. The winner this year, Jeanne Chan (12D1) shared her strategy of guessing the book, saying that she was “looking for the common themes and motifs in the sentences, then guessing the book accordingly” which was how she managed to ultimately conclude her answer. Along with that, she says that she recognised the name of the character “Atticus Finch”, which confirmed her guess of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Book Face Challenge was also greatly popular amongst students and teachers. The challenge encouraged students to pose with photos of themselves merged with book covers, sparking many fresh and creative entries. A huge well done to everyone that participated but a special congratulations to the winners: Kylie Shim (8P2) and Zoe Thomson (8X2).

Another activity was the Inter-House Battle of the Books competition, which allowed students to work with their houses· as a team. Students had to work together to answer questions based on a selection of books. Being a fun and competitive event, the students worked hard to gain lots of house points. Ultimately, Dragon was able to gain victory in the Inter-House Battle of the Books competition. In addition to this, another collaborative activity was daily book quizzes done every morning during tutor time. These short quizzes allowed students to work with each other as a tutor group to guess specific details from books, and the satisfaction of getting them correct motivated the students to wrack their brains and work harder.

For Book Week this year, Sha Tin College was extremely delighted to announce the author visit of Ritu Hemnani – an author, a voice actor, an educator as well as a former teacher. She has been involved in various activities all around the world that have contributed to her current career as an author.

Throughout Ritu’s childhood, she engaged herself in different writing activities, such as creating poems and short stories. With a passion for writing, Ritu shares that she “wanted to write stories about [her] world and adventures,” and that she had a mission, and a sense of purpose to become an author.

On her journey to becoming an author, Ritu has faced many challenges. As a self-published author, the process of developing, publishing, and promoting the book she had written was a challenge; thus making it difficult for Ritu to write new stories. However, now that Ritu is a traditionally published author, she can proudly announce that: “I can just focus on writing, which is something I love to do!” Additionally, as she explores her new journey of becoming an author, Ritu observes that she has developed her ability to critique. Since joining a critique group and analysing other people’s work, she mentions that she is “learning how to better critique [her] work,” and can also “take away interesting comments when other people critique my work.”

“We all have a story inside us, and we should all write because [everyone is] able to tell and share stories that are meaningful.” A piece of advice that Ritu would give to aspiring writers or anyone who has an interest in writing is to train. “Like a marathon, you’re preparing for a long race, so you need to get up, you need to exercise with your hand, and you need to read.” Stressing the importance of reading, Ritu comments that it allows you to gather new thoughts and ideas.

Ritu is both an encouraging and inspirational author – it was a pleasure to welcome Ritu to our school for an author visit, and we are all looking forward to the publication of her new novel!

The Media Team also had the pleasure of interviewing Paul French, an internationally-renowned author who discussed his bestselling historical true-crime book ‘Midnight in Peking’. Globally, hundreds of thousands of murder cases have been left unsolved for decades, but Paul was particularly drawn to the case regarding the brutal murder of 19-year-old Pamela Werner in Peking – partly because “there weren’t many unsolved murder cases in China”.

However, as he investigated further, he encountered several obstacles because Pamela Werner’s investigation had already gone cold for over 90 years. Here, he pointed out a major contrast between historical and contemporary true crimes that he had discovered during the process of his investigation: while contemporary crimes allowed investigators to seek living sources of information due to the more recent nature of the cases, it was challenging to find living sources while investigating historical crimes from a bygone time. Paul managed to find three of Pamela’s old classmates, but they were “in their 80s already, and only one of them is still alive”. Additionally, many of them were just young children at the time, so “the memories or recounts of events at the time would have been difficult to recall”. Nonetheless, he persevered to seek the truth behind Pamela’s case, and the findings that were uncovered from his in-depth investigation were elaborately documented in ‘Midnight in Peking’.

Paul found that the process of investigating and writing the book greatly influenced his perspective on life as a whole. He commented that girls around Pamela’s age at the time would have just started to think about their futures and what university they would go to, but Pamela “never actually got to live her life because she was murdered so early in life”. He also acknowledged that while it “isn’t possible to convict the culprits behind historical unsolved murder cases because it is likely that they are dead already, at least people will remember the life and story of the victims [through recounts of their lives]. In this way, they live on through the memories of others. It is the best we can do”.

Thank you to both Ritu and Paul for their time!

Overall, Book Week was a huge success filled with exciting events and creative endeavours. Not only did it promote the importance of reading and literature but also unified our community in celebrating the joys of reading. A big thank you to Ms Hansen, Ms Daw, Mr Yuen and the VOiCE team for making Book Week 2023 such a memorable event. Well done to everyone who participated in the activities and we look forward to what is in store for next year.

Written by: Stefanie Leung, Jia Yun Yue, Zihan Liu, Christie Lam, Hannah Wong
Edited by: Hannah Wong, Christie Lam