Summer reading video by Albertson teen wins award

Noah Manskar
Jillian Parrino, 14, won statewide recognition for a video she made to promote summer reading. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Jillian Parrino started making videos as a fifth-grader at Mineola Middle School, practicing with her school-issued iPad.

Now 14 and an eighth-grader at Mineola High School, Parrino still uses the same tools of the trade, shooting and editing videos on the tablet. But her skills have “greatly improved,” she said.

The New York State Library recognized that, naming Parrino the finalist in its 2017 Teen Video Challenge to promote summer reading among youth.

Parrino, an Albertson resident, said she wanted to use her passion for filmmaking to teach others that they can help “Build a Better World” — the contest’s theme — through reading.

“I want someone my age to believe that they can change the world by reading, and hopefully they’ll want to read more,” Parrino said.

Parrino shot and edited the video in one day in mid-February at the Shelter Rock Public Library in Albertson, where she also volunteers.

In it, six books at with animated faces, voiced by Parrino and her brother, Joseph, talk about why they deserve to be checked out. Parrino then comes in and picks them all up to take home.

The featured books focus on science, engineering and technology, subjects that “would help build a future society,” Parrino said.

She also flashed the word “read” on the screen in four different languages to show that “all different countries in the world need to work together to improve our world,” she said.

Parrino’s video was chosen as a finalist, or runner-up, in the statewide Teen Video Challenge, part of a national effort by the Collaborative Summer Library Program to encourage students to read while school is out during the summer.

Cathy Loechner, the head of young adult services at the Shelter Rock Public Library, said she thought Parrino’s video was effective because it had broad appeal and highlighted diversity.

“It really promotes summer reading in the libraries and how libraries can really change the world,” Loechner said.

Parrino said she plans to keep making videos. She’s also entered the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, which challenges students to condense award-winning books for young adults into clips a minute and a half long.

While it’s something she has to do for school, Parrino said summer reading is important because it keeps her mind fresh going into the next school year. On her list for this summer are the historian Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton and “Hamilton: The Revolution,” which looks behind the scenes of the hit Broadway musical that Chernow’s book inspired.

“I tried to read them during the year, but there’s a lot more time during the summer,” Parrino said.

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