One of the highlights of our school holidays each year is taking part in our local library’s Summer Reading Challenge, a nationwide initiative run by the Reading Agency to get more children reading during the six week summer break. The idea is that children aged 4-11 sign up to read 6 books over the holidays and in return collect a themed folder, stickers and at the end of the summer, attend a little awards presentation. This year’s theme, ‘Animal Agents’, encourages young readers to help catch a suspect who’s been up to mischief in the library. Those little bookworms will need all their detective skills to help catch that naughty crook!
As a big fan of all things bookish, I’m keen to get my kids involved in anything that encourages reading, and with one son who struggles with reading and writing, I’ve always tried my best to do everything I can to help. Even though my kids are eight and ten now, I still read them a bedtime story – because no matter what else is happening, it still gives us a few moments in the day where we can have a cuddle and some quiet time. We find almost all our bedtime stories at the library and visit most weeks to bring home a bundle of books that will last us several nights. Full disclosure time though: I like to have an input in what we’re reading and often slip a few of my own choices in the pile. Maybe that’s bad of me but I can’t help it – there are some fantastic children’s books out there and sometimes I’m more excited about reading them than the kids!
This summer, we’ve already read a few lovely ones together so if you’re looking for some inspiration for your little ones here are just a few:
Tidy by Emily Gravett is all about a badger called Pete who is obsessed with keeping his forest tidy. So much so that his tidying goes a little bit too far! It’s a sweet story about loving things as they are and putting up with a little bit of ‘messy’. And with a wise message for children growing up in our perfect-obsessed society, it was one of my favourite summer challenge reads.
Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray retells the classic Aesop’s fable about the fastest and slowest inhabitants of the farmyard. With lovely illustrations and a sweet message about humility, it’s a story that for me, never loses it’s appeal.
We picked up A Hebridean Alphabet by Debi Gliori because it reminded us of our summer holiday to the Outer Hebrides, and also because Debi Gliori is one of our favourite children’s authors (have you read No Matter What? Every time I read it, it reduces me to tears). This lovely book – with the most adorable illustrations, is now almost as firm a fave! It follows a little girl, a boy and their dog on a day of Hebridean adventure, introducing a letter of the alphabet each time a new part of the story unfolds. Whether or not you’ve been to the Hebrides it’s a perfect little story. I challenge you not to feel relaxed and tranquil as you turn over the final page!
Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell is another lovely summer story (I’d have chosen it for the beautiful cover illustration alone!). It’s all about unconditional love and helping kids feel safe no matter what the circumstances. A lovely way to remind children how much they mean to us – and a lovely metaphor to pick up whenever they are feeling insecure.
I hope that’s given you a few ideas if you’re looking for some summer reading ideas. Do let me know if you’re doing the summer reading challenge too!
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