Online Summer Reading Challenge "Silly Squad" is coming soon

3 June 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Libraries Service is excited to be taking part in this year’s all-new digital Summer Reading Challenge which is organised by The Reading Agency.

The theme this year is ‘Silly Squad’ which will offer families a chance to have fun and encourages children to read anything that makes them happy. 

The Challenge launches virtually on Friday 5 June and will run throughout the summer until September and children can take part for free.

The Challenge will be available on the Silly Squad website, through the Reading Agency Facebook page and through a special Cheshire West webpage, social media, webpages and e-lending.  This will include details of online events and activities that will be taking place during the summer.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “It’s exciting that the Summer Reading Challenge is completely different this year as it isn’t just about reading.  The challenge is fully accessible online for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home, garden or local area.

“Our Libraries teams will take you on a journey filled with fun, fantasy and action packed activities for children and families of all ages and interests.  It will not only encourage you to access our digital library and read, listen and share books, it will also provide you with exciting dance, crafts, drama, storytelling and so much more.  It’s going to be an action-packed summer.”

More information will be coming soon, including posts on Twitter @cwaclibraries and on Facebook @cwaclibrary.  This will include lots of interesting items and activities for both adults and children such as competitions, online rhyme-times and story-times, book reviews, LEGO challenges, STEM and craft activities and much more. Those children without online access will also be provided for through resources provided by the Reading Agency and locally.

Karen Napier, CEO of The Reading Agency said “Like previous years the Challenge is free to access, and we are working with libraries, schools and publishers to reach as many young people as possible - especially those who find accessing digital difficult.  We are pleased to announce our wonderful ambassadors, including the fantastic Summer Reading Challenge book collection authors who are joining us this year, and we can't wait for the 5 June and the Let's Get Silly launch event.”

The Reading Challenge has a star-studded list of ambassadors, which includes: CBBC presenters Sam and Mark; children's author Jacqueline Wilson; comedian and TV presenter Paul O'Grady; Waterstones Children's Laureate Cressida Cowell; comedian and author David Baddiel; TV adventurer Ben Fogle; former Blue Peter presenter and children's author Konnie Huq; performance poet Joseph Coelho and CBBC's Hacker T Dog reunited with Radio 1's Katie Thistleton. 

They are joined by children's authors including Rob Biddulph, Philip Ardagh, Guy Bass, Steven Butler, Gareth P Jones, J M Joseph, Jennifer Killick and Silly Squad illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, all of whom have books in the official Silly Squad book collection. Founder of The Shed School Ashley Bates, illustrator Johanna Basford OBE, actress and comedian Samantha Baines, author and game designer Gabrielle Kent, plus bestselling authors David McKee, Milly Johnson, Dorothy Koomson, Kit de Waal and Kate Clanchy MBE are also offering their support for the campaign.

National events include:
  • CBBC's Sam and Mark kick-off the party with their unique brand of 'silly' fun.
  • Readings and jokes from authors including David Baddiel, Ben Fogle, Philip Ardagh, Paul O'Grady, Konnie Huq and Samantha Baines
  • Silly Time with the BBC's Katie Thistleton and Hacker T Dog.
  • Draw-a-Longs with official Summer Reading Challenge illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, and Rob Biddulph.
  • Magic Tricks and Mind-Bending Maths with Mr Bates from The Shed School.
  • Poetry with performance poet and playwright Joseph Coelho.
  • Crafts, colour and creativity with the original queen of colouring, Johanna Basford.
  • Bedtime Reading session with actor Charlie Condou reading from This is Gus by Chris Chatterton, published by Macmillan Children's Books.
  • Unveiling of the official 'Let's Get Silly!' theme song by Harry Baker and Chris Read.

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