Children invited to join Animal Agents at Norfolk libraries this summer

06 July 2017

Children across Norfolk are invited to become bookworms this school holiday and sign up to this year’s free Summer Reading Challenge at the county’s libraries.

Youngsters aged four to 11 can sign up as part of Animal Agents, the Summer Reading Challenge 2017, where they can borrow and read any six library books to earn stickers and gain a medal for completing the challenge.

There will be launch parties at many libraries across the county on Saturday 15 July.

Animal Agents is 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, children need to sign up for free at 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.

Young library volunteers who are aged 13-25 and involved in the Reading Hack programme will also be on hand in many libraries to help children choose their next reads and help organise local events.

Among the events planned across Norfolk to link in with the Summer Reading Challenge are animal themed storytimes, Gruffalo parties, crafts, bounce and rhyme, detective academies, quizzes and bug walks. For a full list of events in your area visit
www.norfolk.gov.uk/yourlocallibrary

Head of Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service Jan Holden said: “Summer is a time when children’s literacy skills traditionally dip. The reading challenge is fun, free and helps children keep up their reading throughout the summer holidays in an exciting and engaging way.”

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Last year’s Summer Reading Challenge was hugely successful. Learning to read, and keeping it up, is so valuable for children and we anticipate Animal Agents will also be hugely popular.”

Animal Agents launches in libraries across Norfolk on 15 July and runs until 4 September.
For details about Summer Reading Challenge events at your local library visit their events page at
www.norfolk.gov.uk/yourlocallibrary 

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, 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 will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."

There is also a summer reading scheme for young people aged 10-18 years running in libraries throughout the holidays. ImagiNation is running for the fourth year and aims to encourage young people to continue with their reading in the holidays. Participants select two books and when they have read them they are invited to write a review or draw a related picture on a 'belly band' to go around the book. Each person completing the scheme will receive a certificate and a small prize.  

Notes to editors

Images need to be credited: Illustrations ©Tony Ross for The Reading Agency

Norfolk Library and Information Service is run by Norfolk County Council. It is free to join and free to borrow books, which can be returned to any Norfolk library. There are 47 libraries and eight mobile libraries across the county.

  • The Reading Agency, funded by the Arts Council, runs the annual Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians. This national reading for pleasure programme is now in its 19th year. Last year over three quarters of a million children across the UK took part by borrowing, reading and talking about their favourite books.
  • Children can find new books to read, win some great book prizes and share recommendations with other readers on our safe, child-friendly and moderated website. www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk
  • The Summer Reading Challenge reaches children and young people of all ages. For the pre-schoolers there is a mini-challenge while young people (aged 13 to 24) can volunteer and support younger children taking part, as part of The Reading Agency’s Reading Hack programme. Volunteering provides a quality workplace experience for young people in libraries, inspires them to think about their future career and increases their employability as they gain useful life skills and confidence. Last year over 7,500 young people across the UK volunteered.

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