WITH the summer school holidays fast approaching, Craven's libraries are braced for an influx of pupils taking part in this year’s creative-themed reading initiative.

The annual Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged four to 11 to read six library books over the summer holidays.

This year’s theme is Marvellous Makers, aiming to fire up a child’s imagination through the power of reading and creative expression.

Last year, almost 9,300 children took part in North Yorkshire, which represents a 16 per cent increase from the previous year.

A total of 935 children joined a library for the first time to take part in the challenge, and about 169,000 junior items were borrowed, as well as 5,300 junior eBooks and eAudiobooks.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for libraries, Cllr Simon Myers, who represents Mid-Craven, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is accessible to all and provides fun, free activities for children. It is the perfect way for parents and carers to support their children’s reading over the holidays.

“This year’s challenge is aimed at encouraging children to discover and explore a range of creative arts. We want to ensure children continue to explore books and resources over the summer and discover the joy of reading for pleasure.”

There are more than 200 activities taking place in libraries over the holidays. Full details can be found on individual library Facebook pages or on North Yorkshire Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/leisure-tourism-and-culture/libraries/summer-reading-challenge The library service is introducing a new library card design to coincide with the start of Marvellous Makers featuring Agent Moose from books written by Mo O’Hara and illustrated by Jess Bradley.

The challenge ends on September 7. To find out more visit www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk