TikTok sisters Mireille and Elodie Lee use BookTok to make reading cool for kids

BySandy Kenyon via KGO logo
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
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Sandy Kenyon has more on two new stars of social media, 15-year-old Mireille Lee and her 13-year-old sister Elodie, who are using their TikTok page A Life of Literature to show tha

Two new stars of social media have grown their following on TikTok by showing that books are cool for kids.

Fifteen-year-old Mireille Lee and her sister 13-year-old sister Elodie have gained more than 210,000 followers in just a couple of months and helped increase sales of the books they talk about.

The two young women have rocked the staid world of New York City publishing from their home, more than 3,400 miles away in Brighton, England.

What's got everyone's attention is a story in the New York Times about their account called "A Life of Literature," which has more than 4 million likes.

Mireille Lee said she has a simple mission.

"I want people to have the enjoyment that I get from reading a book," she said.

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She said she re-discovered reading while in lockdown during the pandemic. Then, she urged her sister to pick up a book.

"I was really into gaming, so reading was not really in my mind," Elodie said. "

But that didn't dissuade Mireille.

"I managed to get her to start reading, which was brilliant," she said.

The sisters grew up close on the southern coast of England, where their mum Lily and dad Jon encouraged them.

The girls took to TikTok early and have been making videos for years, but earlier this year, Mireille discovered "BookTok" -- home to videos watched billions of times.

"This range of different content creators just popping up and saying, 'You need to read this book, it's incredible,'" she said.

But those creators were almost all adults.

"Every BookTok video I saw were recommendations for 18+ books," Elodie said. "And I was so annoyed because I couldn't find a single book I could read."

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The pair saw an opportunity to speak directly to their peers and give them suggestion, and the results have been gratifying.

"People go, 'Oh my God, I have to buy that book,'" Elodie said. "It's just like pure pride."

One of their videos for "We Were Liars" has been viewed more than 5.5 million times, boosting sales for the book half a dozen years after it was released and earning thanks from its grateful author, E. Lockhart.

It's easy to see the appeal of @ALifeOfLiterature.

"We're getting people to see these books in different forms," Mireille said. "Because when you see a book, it's pages and paper."

And if we're being honest, a lot like school.

"By showing people a book visually, online, through photos and imagery and aesthetics, people immediately just connect with it," Mareille said. "They feel the beat of the music. They see the photos and go, 'Wow, I need to read that right now.'"

The sisters say they want to make reading cool.

"People associate people that read books as nerdy or geeky," Elodie said. "And it's quite frustrating sometimes."

And nerdy these girls are not.