Children invited to join Animal Agents at Newcastle libraries

Summer Reading Challenge
Summer Reading Challenge

Newcastle libraries are calling for children to sign up to read six books this summer as part of Animal Agents, the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 [from 15 July until 3 September].

The Summer Reading Challenge asks children to borrow and read any six library books during the summer holidays, a time when children’s literacy skills traditionally dip.

This year’s theme is ‘Animal Agents’, based on a detective agency staffed by all kinds of clever animals – furry, scaly and slippery – 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 (creator of the Little Princess books, illustrator of the Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon, and of books by David Walliams and Claire Balding), has created this year’s exclusive artwork. 

To take part in ‘Animal Agents’, all children need to do is to head to their local library where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey.  As children read at least six library books over the summer, they collect stickers which will help them crack the clues and help the Animal Agents find out what's really been going on behind the scenes!

There’s a whole programme of events and activities planned at Newcastle libraries for families over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, including book and creative sessions with Creatures up Close, Explore Learning, and Cat Protection. Just contact your local library or go to to find out how to take part.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: “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 the wonderful characters created for us by Tony Ross will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."

In Newcastle last year 2.336 children joined the challenge and 1069 successfully completed to receive a certificate. Young volunteers helped to deliver the Summer Reading across the city.  Library staff were delighted by the enthusiasm, commitment and hard work of the young volunteers in contributing to a successful Summer Reading Challenge. The volunteers talked to children about the books they were reading and encouraged children to complete the Summer Reading Challenge.

Here are some feedback quotes from last year’s ‘Summer Reading Challenge’:

“This challenge has definitely made a difference to my children' s reading. They can't wait to get to the library every few days. They wouldn't have picked up a book this holiday if it wasn't for the challenge! Now I think they will carry on even after it's ended. So thank you very much. At last my children are enjoying books”

“It was good because it gave me a reason to read and it helped my reading too.”

“The Summer Reading Challenge is great because I got to read loads more books which I enjoyed a lot!”

“I was lucky to be chosen to have my photo taken with the Lord Mayor at the celebration event. I took my medal to school to show my friends.”

‘Animal Agents’ launches in libraries across Newcastle on Saturday 15 July and runs until Sunday 3 September.

For further information about the work of Newcastle Libraries please visit