Thursday, 2 June 2011

Summer Reading Challenge 2011

The Summer Reading Challenge is about to launch for 2011.

This year the theme is Circus Stars.

My daughter has already spent ages on the website making her personalised character and watching author videos.

I love the Summer Reading Challenge. It gets children into libraries. It reminds me that going to libraries changed my life in several ways.

Here's how:

One: when I got interested in reading about football, they had books about how to play, histories of teams, biographies of players and stories that my mum borrowed for me.

Two: when I was a more confident reader, they were there with books on all the things I wanted to find out about, like Hitler, body language, Dadaism, world religions, European travel, the pyramids, etc, etc, etc.

Three: when my dad was dying and I needed somewhere to go and clear my head away from home, I went to the library. It was my escape.

Four: when I was there one day I found, by chance, a rack of university prospectuses and one course about Modern European Literature that inspired me to take A levels and dream of doing a degree, aged 23, which I did.

Five: when I needed to study in Leeds - even though my degree was in Reading, 200 miles away - because my mum was dying and I had to be near her, I was able to get all the books I needed for the course in Lededs reference library.

Six: when I started writing I needed facts and ideas to write about. I got them at the library.

Seven: when we wanted to get our daughter into books and she wanted to read dozens of books a month, we went to the library.

I could go on.

Getting children into libraries to do the Summer Reading Challenge will create the opportunities for them that libraries created for me.

Check out the website at There's even a video of me filmed by my daughter, talking about what she likes to read.

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