Five lucky girls from Salford City Academy got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to interview celebrated author Dame Jacqueline Wilson OBE for CBBC’s Newsround.
The interview, was broadcast on Friday 18th October to homes around the UK, saw the students quiz Jacqueline about her award-winning career, which has seen her sell millions of books worldwide and included three years as Children’s Laureate.
One of the country’s most popular children’s authors, Jaqueline Wilson has written scores of bestsellers including her most famous creation – Tracy Beaker. Over the years she has been nominated for and won countless awards including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award and the Blue Peter People’s Choice Award.
The young reporters from Salford City Academy were hand-picked for the Newsround special because of their own love of reading and admiration for Jaqueline’s books. Several of them volunteer as library monitors for their school and were keen to hear about Jaqueline’s advice for young writers, the inspiration for her stories and her favourite one to write.
Filming took place at the BBC’s home in Salford – MediaCityUK. The whole experience was exciting and surreal – the students got VIP passes to explore backstage at the CBBC studio. They got to do some practice runs with the crew and learn about everything from lighting to autocues to how to look natural on camera.
After the interview, Jacqueline stayed to sign books of hers for the students, who had picked out some of their favourites. Year 9 student Yasmine got her copy of Lola Rose – which she has read a whopping six times – signed and said that interviewing Jacqueline has inspired her to follow her ambitions of becoming a journalist.
Describing the experience, Year 9 student Tobilola said:
“I was flabbergasted to meet the author of my childhood books.”
Luana, also in Year 9, added:
“Meeting Jacqueline was really great because she was so beautiful in person and kind.”
Mel Haselden, Principal of Salford City Academy, said:
“Yesterday was a fantastic experience for our students that I doubt any of them will ever forget – and exactly the sort of opportunity we want to offer as part of an Education with Character. Interviewing such an inspiring, influential author as Dame Jacqueline Wilson is something few people get the chance to do, let alone have that broadcast to thousands around the country. The students were excellent ambassadors for our academy and they should all be proud of a very thoughtful, insightful interview.”