Derby Libraries are launching into outer space for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, with The Reading Agency.  This year’s theme is Space Chase, an out-of-this world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The storyline features super space family, The Rockets, on a thrilling mission to track down books stolen by mischievous aliens.

The Summer Reading Challenge for children aged up to 11 is the UK’s biggest reading event for children in libraries and it returns to Derby Libraries for 2019.  All libraries in Derby, including those which are community managed, will be running the challenge from Saturday 13th July to Saturday 14th September.

The challenge is supported by free Space Chase events across Derby Libraries in the summer, including performance storytelling, animal handling workshops and fun interactive shows for under-fives.

The challenge is for children to read any six library books during the summer holidays. Children can read any books they like, whether they’re interested in stories, fact books or picture books, and whether they would rather listen to an audio book or read a printed book or an eBook. It’s up to them!

Children who take part will get a free Space Chase collector folder, with clues to help find the aliens, uncover the missing books and complete the mission. There are six stickers to collect, one for every book. When they complete the challenge children will receive a certificate and a special pair of Space Chaser glasses. Those who read a further four books will receive the extra reward of a Space Chase wristband.

Reading for pleasure is one of the most important contributory factors in children’s learning success and their general well-being, and the Summer Reading Challenge is a chance to support them to become confident and enthusiastic readers. The challenge will help to sustain an enthusiasm for reading during the long summer break when children’s reading skills can decline without the regular reading activity at school.

The free Summer Reading Challenge events will be taking place at Alvaston Library, Mickleover Library, and Riverside Library. Booking is essential for all of these events. They will give children and families an opportunity to connect with others in a safe and friendly community setting, helping to build empathy and good social interaction skills. This year there are five events on offer.

Families can join storyteller John Kirk for If you believe… where he will tell a trio of stories including Jonathan Emmett’s Bringing Down the Moon, Simon James’ The Boy from Mars and a specially commissioned story by Dom Conlon called The Cow that Jumped over the Moon. This event is suitable for children aged four and over.

Sammy’s Space Adventure will be a fun and interactive adventure off in space. Sammy is six, and loves space. It’s her biggest wish to visit the moon and this time round, it might just happen. This show is presented by Total Insight Theatre and will be suitable for children aged four and over.

John Kirk will be bringing a new direction to Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile and children everywhere will enjoy finding out how the enormous crocodile became the first reptile in space! This event is suitable for children aged four and over.

Families can come and share Quite Remarkable stories of friendship and imagination with live music, magic and plenty of silliness. Geoffrey Jumper and his friend Mandy will present a whirlwind, magical storytelling adventure. This interactive theatre will be delivered by local theatre group Quite Remarkable Productions and is suitable for children aged from two to six years.

Children can join the Zoolab team this summer and be inspired by amazing animal space facts at the hands-on Space Race animal handling workshops. They can meet and handle a range of exotic animals including stick insects, tree frogs, corn snakes, tarantulas and giant African land snails. These events are suitable for children aged four and over.

The Summer Reading Challenge is open to children at all levels of their reading development, allowing those with special education needs and disabilities to take part as well.  It’s a great time to share and talk about books as a family, leading to the start of children’s lifelong reading journey.

To take part in the challenge children will need to be registered members of Derby City Libraries. Find out how to register children at a library on the libraries website. Full details about the Summer Reading Challenge, including how to get involved, book onto events, and the events programme will be available online.