Go wild - the Summer Reading Challenge is here!

Published: 10 July 2021

Two children carrying a stack of books in front of bookshelves

Discover some great books with the Summer Reading Challenge

Derby Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge gets under way this weekend. Over the next eight weeks children can explore books and reading, and let their imaginations run wild!

This year’s theme is Wild World Heroes, a celebration of reading, nature and action for the environment. Developed in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, it will inspire children to stand up for the future of our planet, while discovering some great books.

The challenge is to read six books. As they make progress, young readers will meet the six Wild World Heroes and help them take care of the fictional land of Wilderville, tackling real world environmental issues.

Children must be a member of the library to take part, and joining is free and easy if they’re not already a member – just ask at one of our libraries.

Derby Libraries are also delighted to bring a collection of online stories, poems, and workshops to children and families all linked to the Summer Reading Challenge theme. The videos have been created by Authors Abroad, an organisation of well-respected children’s authors, illustrators, and poets. They are free to watch from this weekend on our website until 4 September.

The seven videos feature:

  • Children’s author and illustrator Karin Littlewood with a brilliant workshop to create your own drawings of an orangutan family. Perfect for children aged 4 – 7.
  • Storyteller John Row retelling some amazing stories all about nature and wildlife. Great for readers aged 7 and above.
  • Storyteller Gracie May with an environmental twist on a classic tale - meet the Three Billy Goats Gruff, naughty little goats who don’t recycle their rubbish! Lively and engaging, great films for a younger audience, aged 4 and above.
  • Children’s author Kev Payne with his book ‘B is for Blobfish’ which is packed with a fascinating A – Z of animal facts! Brilliant for younger readers age 4 to 7.
  • All about ‘writing the wild’ with Chris Vick, nature lover, surfer, whale and dolphin conservationist. Perfect for children and young people aged 7 - 11.
  • Writer Claire Culliford, reading from her environment themed ‘Little Helper’ books. Lovely stories for children aged 4 – 7.
  • Poet Phil Wilcox with a brilliant workshop all about eco poems - poems about nature, climate change, and how we feel about the world around us. Perfect for budding writers and poets aged 8 and above.

It’s free to join the Challenge. Children can register at any library in Derby or join online on the Summer Reading Challenge website to collect digital rewards and download a certificate at the end. You can even do both.

Every child who joins in the library gets a free Wild World Heroes poster to keep track of their progress and rate the books they’ve read. There are stickers to collect along the way, and a certificate at the end. Keen readers who complete an extra four books will receive a fridge magnet.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs right through the Summer until 4 September – so lots of time to get reading! Although it’s aimed mainly at children aged from 4 to 11, there will also be things for pre-school siblings to do too, and older children are welcome to join in.

Any book counts towards the challenge – stories, factual books, joke books, picture books, audiobooks or e-books. It’s fine for younger children and those learning to read to share library books with a parent or carer.

Councillor Ross McCristal, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said:

There is nothing like losing yourself in a good story, or finding out some amazing facts and figures to impress your parents or teachers. The Summer Reading Challenge is UK library sector’s biggest annual free reading event and we’re pleased to make it happen in Derby.

For children, it’s all about letting your imagination run wild. For parents and carers, it’s the reassurance that their children will be keeping up their reading skills and confidence during the long summer holidays. Evidence shows that children who enjoy reading are more likely to score highly on reading assessments, and those who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers.

More reading ideas and fun themed activities will be available on the Summer Reading Challenge website. The Summer Reading Challenge is produced by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries. All libraries in Derby, including those which are community managed, will be running the challenge.

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