Nottingham City Libraries are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016.

Big Friendly Read logo
The Summer Reading Challenge asks 4-11 year olds to borrow and read any six library books over the summer. It has a new theme each year and in 2016 the Challenge is delivered in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Literary Estate to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller.

The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016 will feature some of Roald Dahl’s best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It will encourage reading on a giant scale.

To take part in the Challenge, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library. They’ll receive a special collector’s folder and as they borrow and read at least six library books over the summer, they can collect six special cards to complete it. The cards all feature Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship. Those who are not members can join the library for free when visiting, allowing them to take advantage of the range of activities and services proved by City libraries.

The Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge launched in libraries across Nottingham City on Saturday 16 July and runs until 3 September.

There’s a whole programme of events and activities planned at Nottingham City libraries for families over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, including Brilltastical Dahl Did-you-know-athon with Andy Newbound; Mischief, Magic and Mayhem with Geoffrey Jumper; Fantastical potions with The Scientists; Nicky Rafferty’s inventive tales and Story making; Meet the Mini Beasts with White Post Farm and the amazing Nitwit & Grump – Story shapers and revolting rhyme makers! Funding from Arts Council England of £6,000 has enabled Nottingham City Libraries to run these whizzpopping activities throughout the summer.

Just contact your local library or go to to find out how to take part.

“I enjoyed doing the reading challenge because it got me to read over the summer holidays,” said Evie, aged eight.

This year, over 30 volunteers, ranging from 16 to over 60 years, have been recruited to support staff in promoting the Summer Reading Challenge, developing their skills and gaining valuable experience working with children and families.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the country. At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge. This year we hope Roald Dahl’s fantastic characters, and Sir Quentin Blake’s brilliant artwork, will inspire many more children to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond.”

Luke Kelly, MD of The Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “Roald Dahl was passionate about making children into enthusiastic readers for life and that’s exactly what the Summer Reading Challenge does. We are delighted to be joining forces with this year’s reading event which, based on past performance, will engage almost a million children. In the Roald Dahl 100 year, to have The Big Friendly Read happening in libraries throughout the UK is quite literally a dream come true. My grandfather would have been so proud and so supportive of this event.”

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said:  “Reading regularly in the school holidays helps prevent the “summer reading dip.”. Children who use libraries are twice as likely to be above average readers and to read more in their spare time. Last year over 3,000 children took part in the challenge, with over 1,600 completing to receive their medal and certificate. A hundred and fifty-five children joined the library to take part and a staggering 12,100 books were read.  Library staff are currently visiting City Primary Schools encouraging children to take part in the scheme and to help communicate the importance of continuing to read during the school holidays.  So let’s try and make this year’s Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge 2016 even better than ever.”

Families can also unlock some digital magic when they download the free Summer Reading Challenge App, which this year will include rare recordings of Roald Dahl sharing his writing tips and reading aloud, all triggered by augmented reality as children collect the cards. Created by Reading Agency sponsor SOLUS, the app will also provide a convenient way to access the Book Sorter, a unique crowd-sourced database of books in user friendly categories that children  themselves have rated and added.

For more information contact Jane Barton, Communications and Marketing Officer 0115 8761222