Awen libraries are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Animal Agents, the Summer Reading Challenge 2017.

The Summer Reading Challenge asks 4-11 year olds to borrow and read any six library books during the school 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.

To take part in Animal Agents, all children need to do is 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 AnimalAgents find out what’s really been going on
behind the scenes!

Animal Agents launches in libraries across Bridgend county borough with an event at Newbridge Fields from 1-3pm on Saturday 22nd July, and runs until Saturday 9th September. Organised in partnership with Bridgend Active Young People, the launch will include a record breaking attempt. Children are asked to bring along a book they no longer need to help create a book tower centrepiece at the event. Once the tower has been completed, the books will be donated to a local charity to set up a junior library.

The afternoon will be packed with activities for the whole family to enjoy, including a fun talk by children’s poet and entertainer Mike Church, sporting challenges, storytelling, mask-making, circus skills, tai chi and drama workshops. Entry and all activities are free of charge. Children who sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge will receive a voucher for free DVD hire from Awen libraries for the duration of the school summer holidays.

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the charity which runs the library service in Bridgend county, said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge continues to be one of the most successful programmes offered by public libraries. Awen’s libraries are now busier in the summer months than at any other time of year and in 2016 a record number of children joined the Roald Dahl-themed challenge across the Bridgend area – and of the more than 2,800 who signed up, over 70% completed the challenge. Our libraries have planned a whole programme of events linked to the Animal Agents and I would urge parents, carers and grandparents to visit their local library’s Facebook page for more information.”

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, added:

“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.”