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The Summer Reading Challenge is back with a mischievous edge

Dennis, Gnasher and the gang are taking over Worcestershire as the Summer Reading Challenge returns with a new theme – Mischief Makers.

On Saturday 23 June between 10am - 4pm children from Worcestershire are invited to the official launch of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge Mischief Makers at National Trust Croome. Admission is free to those families signing up for the challenge.

As well as signing up there will be a whole host of mischief to get into. There will be caricature sessions going on throughout the day giving you the opportunity to see what you would look like if you were a Beano character.

There will be a specific Mischief Makers trail running in Croome Court, Storywalks and LEGO workshops to get your creative juices flowing.

Kev F Sutherland, an illustrator for The Beano, will be giving talks and a signing session so be sure to bring your copy of The Beano along with you.

The Royal Grammar School are delivering a theatre performance called Adventures around Beanotown which is sure to have kids and grownups alike laughing along to some of the most well-known characters in the world.

Around 2.40pm the Summer Reading Challenge will officially be launched and will hear from a variety of speakers including Evan Boxall, the winner of the BBC 500 Words competition with his story The Poo Fairy.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Communities at Worcestershire County Council, said: "The Summer Reading Challenge is always a fun time of year. Seeing children getting excited about books and reading is not only essential but wonderful to see. It is important to get children interested in reading and used to using their local library and this challenge is one way to do that. They get rewards, free events at Croome and they get to come along to the celebration ceremony at the end. All of this is free for any child who wants to take part and get lost in the world of books."

Rachel Sharpe, Croome Creative Partnerships Manager, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge is one of the most exciting events in Croome’s calendar. We’ve had some real fun putting the programme together for this year, in partnership with Worcestershire Libraries and Learning Service, and look forward to sharing this wonderful place with families taking part in the challenge."

Children's reading can 'dip' during the long summer holidays if they don’t have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure. This can be a problem for schools to put right in the new term, and The Reading Agency’s annual Summer Reading Challenge really helps by getting three quarters of a million children into libraries over the summer. There is no other free reading activity that involves so many children, introduces families to their library, encourages children to choose books freely and independently and is endorsed by parents, teachers and the Department for Education. Children: The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer. Children can sign up at their local library from Saturday 23 June or at Croome on the day. They then need to read six books throughout the challenge and are rewarded at various points along the way. For those children who complete this they are invited to a celebration ceremony at the end. Best of all, this is completely free.

This year's theme is Mischief Makers to celebrate the 80th anniversary of The Beano.