Published July 18, 2017 2.15pm
Children from across County Durham are being encouraged to sign up to this year's Summer Reading Challenge.
Four to 11 year olds are challenged to borrow and read any six library books during the summer holidays, a time when children's literacy skills traditionally dip.
This year's theme is 'Animal Agents', based on a detective agency staffed by all kinds of clever animals - furry, scaly and slippery - who are out to crack a case at the library with a little help from their friends.
Tony Ross, the UK's best-selling children's illustrator (creator of the Little Princess books, illustrator of the Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon, and of books by David Walliams and Claire Balding), has created this year's exclusive artwork.
Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency, which organises the Summer Reading Challenge country-wide said: "At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge. This year we hope the wonderful characters created for us by Tony Ross will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."
To take part, all children need to do is to head to their local library where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey. As children read at least six library books over the summer, they collect stickers which will help them crack the clues and help the Animal Agents find out what's really been going on behind the scenes!
Councillor Joy Allen, our Cabinet member for transformation, said: "The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun and engaging way for children to continue their reading through the holidays, when traditionally books are not always high priority.
"Our libraries offer a wide range of activities through the holidays for children and we would encourage parents to make use of these free facilities to entertain their children and make the most of the added educational benefits that these activities offer."
The Summer Reading Challenge is being run alongside a programme of associated events, at libraries across the county until Saturday 9 September. A full list of the libraries can be found via our libraries page.