16 Big Friendly Read.Summer Reading Challenge

Published 30th June 2016

Libraries across Nottinghamshire are getting ready to celebrate 100 years of the world’s favourite storyteller, Roald Dahl with The Big Friendly Read, Summer Reading Challenge 2016.   Launching in all libraries in Nottinghamshire on Saturday 16 July.

The Summer Reading Challenge asks 4-11 year olds to borrow and read any six library books over the summer.  This annual challenge is produced by The Reading Agency and run in libraries across the country.   

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. 


Children sign up at their nearest library to receive a free collector folder to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey.  As they progress they collect special collector cards to complete their folder.  The cards all feature original Quentin Blake illustrations and explore some of most popular themes in Roald Dahl’s books such as invention, mischief and friendship.  There’s a certificate and medal for every child who completes the challenge by reading 6 books.


Last year in Nottinghamshire 10,419 children  took part. We hope even more will be inspired to take part this year, as its the first year INSPIRE have delivered the challenge in libraries – just one of the cultural services they now run for Nottinghamshire.


Inspire is a Community Benefit Society which delivers a range of cultural, art, library and learning services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council.


Councillor John Knight, Culture Committee Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a wonderful scheme which always attracts thousands of children to take part each year and research shows it helps to boost their literacy skills during the holidays. The challenge further promotes the value and fun of reading for children within Nottinghamshire’s libraries, with lots of rewards for them to earn on the way.”



How it works

  • Children sign up for free at the library and pick up a Big Friendly Read collector folder, with 6 tempting teaser extracts from some of Roald Dahl’s popular tales.
  • Children choose the books they want to read (it doesn’t need to be a Roald Dahl book)– it could be a story book, a fact book, joke book, picture book or audio book – as long as it is borrowed from the library all reading counts!
  • For every book read children will pick up special collector cards featuring amazing artwork, by Quentin Blake, of Roald Dahl’s much loved characters.  Some cards are smelly!  There is also a door hanger to collect along the way. 
  • Every child who completes the challenge by reading 6 library books will receive a medal, certificate and a pair of marvellous rainbow glasses.

It’s all free fun and a great way to keep chilldren reading over the summer holidays. The Big Friendly Read will be running in Nottinghamshire libraries from 16 July – 11 September www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/summerreadingchallenge


There are lots of brilliant activities running at libraries inspired by the wonderful works of Road Dahl.  Ask in your library for more details.  Selected summer events are listed below.

Mansfield Central Library hosts The Big Friendly Exhibition from Tuesday 19 July to Thursday 1 September.  INSPIRE’s Arts service have been working with Nottinghamshire schools and artists to created an exhibition of amazing artwork inspired by the fantastic stories of Roald Dahl.  The exhibition also features an ‘interactive reading shed’ set in a garden of wonderful woolly flowers.    Inspired by the writing hut Roald Dahl wrote his brilliant stories.

Summer Events

  • Summer Reading Challenge Launch
    Worksop Library: Saturday 16 July, 10am – 3pm 
    Mansfield Central Library: Saturday 16 July, 10am – 3pm

Sign up for the The Big Friendly Read and take part in craft activities inspired by the books of Roald Dahl.  FREE.  Just drop in.

  • Summer Reading Challenge Launch

    Southwell Library:  Saturday 16 July, 11am – 1pm
    Part of the Southwell Library Poetry festival.  Come and enjoy Roald Dahl’s poetry through fun, themed activities.  FREE for ages 4 -11.


  • Dream Workshop
    Hucknall Library: Saturday 16 July 10m – 3pm

Drop-in and take part in a FREE artist led workshop with a dream theme, inspired by the wonderful imagination and writings of Roald Dahl.  The workshop will be full of magic ingredients to inspire you to make creative dream labels. Just drop-in, all ages are welcome.


Summer Family Theatre in the libraries

  • Half Moon presents Fairytales Gone Bad: Grannylocks / The Monstrous Duckling
    a Joseph Coelho production.

Tuesday 2 August, 10.30am Eastwood Library (01773 712 209)
Tuesday 2 August, 3.00pm Hucknall Library (0115 963 2035)  ***Tickets going fast ***
Wednesday 3 August, 11am Worksop Library (01909 53 53 53) 
Wednesday 3 August, 3.30pmRetford Library (01777 708 724)

Library members:  £2 Child  | Accompanying adults FREE
Non-library members:  £4 Child or Adult

The true stories behind the happily ever after fairytales.     Join award-winning performance poet Joseph Coelho, as he unravels familiar fairytales to create fresh contemporary classics in an enchanting performance for children aged 3+.   

Booking advised.  Online booking available at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fairytalesgonebad

  • The Spark Arts for Children presents: A Boy and a Bear in a Boat
    Thursday 4 August 10.30am, Edwinstowe Library (01623 822 280)
    Friday 5 August 11am, Forest Town Library (01623 623 395)

Library members:  £2 Child  | Accompanying adults FREE
Non-library members:  £4 Child or Adult

Join the boy and a bear at sea with just a suitcase, a ukulele and a teapot to help them.

Dark clouds are looming, the ocean is full of dangers, there's only one sandwich left and it's nearly teatime. When all seems lost can their friendship survive? Where are they heading? And will they ever get there?

Adapted from the award-winning novel by Dave Shelton and featuring live music and movement, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat is a funny, thoughtful and thrilling adventure for everyone five years and older.

Online booking available www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/boyandbear

  • Family Films at Mansfield Central Library
    Friday 5 August 1.30pm - Roald Dahl’s Matilda
    Friday 19 August, 1.30pm  - Fantastic Mr Fox

£1 per child | Accompanying adults FREE
Booking advised

As part of our Roald Dahl Celebrations this summer enjoy two of his most beloved tales brought to life for the big screen in these family friendly screenings at Mansfield Central Library. 

Enjoy the magical tale of the book-loving Matilda and see Mr Fox plot against the evil farmers- Boggis, Bunce and Bean in the hilarious Fantastic Mr Fox.

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