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12 July 2017

Join the Animal Agents this summer at Wiltshire libraries

Wiltshire Council libraries are inviting children across the county to sign up and read six books as part of Animal Agents, this year's Summer Reading Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge invites 4-11-year-olds to borrow and read any six library books during the summer holiday period.

This year's theme is Animal Agents, a detective agency staffed by clever animals who are out to crack a case at the library with a little help from their friends. Tony Ross, the UK's best-selling children's illustrator and the artist behind Horrid Henry, has created this year's exclusive artwork.

To take part in Animal Agents, children need to do visit their local library, where they will be given a membership card, and then, once they've read their first book, they'll receive a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey. As children read their selected library books, they can collect stickers that will help them to crack the clues and assist the Animal Agents to crack the case.

Animal Agents launches in libraries across Wiltshire on Saturday 15 July and runs until Saturday 9 September.
Wiltshire Council is hoping to exceed last year's participation, which saw almost 10,000 children sign up for the Big Friendly Read challenge and read 42,110 books.

Parents and carers embrace the challenge as it makes a real difference improving reading ability and confidence levels. A local parent said: "The Summer Reading Challenge is brilliant for kids to help improve their reading and gives them a challenge over the summer holidays. All the kids I know really enjoy doing it."

There will also be a range of children's activities in a number of Wiltshire libraries over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge. Bradford on Avon will be holding a Mini Book Festival for children on Saturday 15 July; in Malmesbury the first ever Children and Young People's Book Festival will take place from 1 to 5 August. 200 volunteers will help children taking part in the challenge.

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for libraries, said: "This is an incredibly popular and successful annual reading activity for children and we welcome more participants taking part this year. I would also like to thank all the volunteers who give their time and energy to help support this valuable reading programme that we know helps to improve the literacy of many children."

More summer activities for children

Children’s authors Maudie Smith, Gill Lewis, Angie Morgan, David Solomons, Sharon Tregenza, Alex Campbell and Fleur Hitchcock will be running free sessions throughout the day promoting their books and leading fun craft activity sessions. There will be a creative writing session for children aged 7+, where children will create their own mini books to take home. There will also be an editorial surgery for aspiring adult children’s authors. The event is sponsored by the publishers Nosy Crow, Firefly, Chicken House and Bradford on Avon Town Council. Find out more.

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Weds 2 August, 10-10.45am

Dance-based stories and activities with Annette from Bop About Dance; for 2-4 year olds,


Weds 16 August, 10-10.45am

Dance-based stories and activities with Annette from Bop About Dance; for 4-6 year olds.


Friday 26 August, 10.30-11.15am

Fun police information and activities with our local PCSOs; for ages 3+.


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The first ever festival for 0-18-year-olds at Malmesbury library will include free sessions from children and teen authors including Fleur Hitchcock, Laura James, Angie Morgan, Maudie Smith, Sharon Tregenza, and Rachel Ward. There will be creative writing sessions, a Harry Potter activity, Peter Rabbit: Mischief & Mayhem, the opportunity to meet a Fireperson, meet the Bookstart Bear, bookshop and book signings, plus dressing up activity. For more information, including how to book, call Malmesbury library on 01666 823611.

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Run by education officers from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service, these fun half-hour sessions will highlight the importance of fire safety for young children (aged 4-7) and their families using a special story about a dragon. Children will also get the opportunity to dress up in fire service costume. The sessions will be taking place in most larger Wiltshire libraries throughout the summer.

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Last updated: 12 July 2017 | Last reviewed: 12 July 2017

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