Arts Derbyshire


Spark a world of discovery with the Summer Reading Challenge 2022

The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge is back in libraries across Derby to get your children interested in reading over the summer holidays and inspire the next generation of innovators!

It starts on Sat 9 Jul and the theme for this year is ‘Gadgeteers’. The Reading Agency is partnering with the Science Museum Group to inspire children across the country to feed their imagination over the summer holiday, with a reading challenge focused on science and innovation.

The theme aims to spark children’s curiosity about the world around them and inspire children to use their imagination and creativity to show that reading and science are everywhere and for everyone. The challenge and the accompanying book collection will show that imagination can unlock endless possibilities, and the library is where this starts.

Through taking part in the challenge, with free packs from public libraries or on the Summer Reading Challenge website, children will be able to join six fictional ‘Gadgeteers’ who use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests from fashion and technology to cooking and music. The characters and artwork have been created by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford.

Susan Raikes, Director of Learning at the Science Museum Group, said:

‘Reading has such an important role to play in igniting young people’s curiosity about the world around them. The Summer Reading Challenge this year provides a fantastic opportunity to reveal the science, engineering, and innovation all around us. At the Science Museum Group, we are delighted that our partnership with The Reading Agency will allow us to reach more future creative thinkers and inspire them with the everyday wonders of imagination and discovery.’

Councillor Matthew Eyre, Cabinet Member for Community, Development, Place and Tourism said:

‘This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is all about discovery. There’s nothing like a good book to unlock a child’s creativity and curiosity, sparking new ideas while boosting their reading levels and confidence.’

The challenge is to read six books during the six-week holiday. Children can read anything they like from fact books to stories, joke books picture books, audiobooks eBooks and eAudiobooks. The challenge runs right through the Summer from Sat 9 Jul to Sat 3 Sep – so lots of time to get reading! Although it’s aimed mainly at children aged from 4 to 11, there will also be things for preschool children to do too, and older children are welcome to join in. More reading ideas and fun-themed activities will be available on the Summer Reading Challenge website.


Below are some of our recommended reads from this year’s brilliant booklist, all based on the Gadgeteers theme.

‘Harley Hitch and The Iron Forest’ by Vashti Hardy

‘Brain Power: A toolkit to understand and train your unique Brain’ by Dr Ranj Singh

‘Marv and the Dino Attack’ by Alex Falase- Koya

‘You are 25% Banana’ by Susie Brooks

‘Once Upon a Big Idea: The story of invention’ by James Carter

‘Meet the Oceans’ by Caryl Hart

Children must be a member of the library to take part and joining is free and easy – just ask at one of our libraries. Find out more about joining on the Derby Libraries website.

It’s free to join the Challenge. Every child who enters a library will receive a free Gadgeteers poster to track their progress and rate the books they’ve read. Plus, there are stickers and rewards to collect along the way. Children who join online can collect digital rewards as they progress and download a certificate at the end.

Alongside the challenge, Alvaston, Mickleover, Normanton and Riverside libraries will be hosting some fantastic events for children and families.

Sublime Science Party Fri 29 Jul – Tue 16 Aug

Come and join us for Science Parties with Sublime Science. Expect magic tricks, bouncing bubbles, fizzing potions, plus the chance to make your sweets and slime!

Storytime and crafts with Caryl Hart Wed 17 – Thu 18 Aug

Stories and craft with author Caryl Hart. Get ready to explore her book Meet the Oceans, learn the Jellyfish Jiggle and design an eco-warrior’s submarine!

All events are FREE and will take place in Derby libraries. Details are below. Booking is essential, please book by calling the number of the library you wish to attend. Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.



The Summer Reading Challenge is produced by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries. All libraries in Derby, including those which are community-managed, will be running the challenge. Find out more about the challenge and the Derby Libraries catalogue on the Derby Libraries website.

Event listings

Storytime and crafts with Caryl Hart

Normanton Library Wed 17 Aug 10:30 am – 11:30 am call 01332 642640 to book a place.

Riverside Library Wed 17 Aug 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm call 01332 641702 to book a place.

Mickleover Library Thu 18 Aug 10:30 am – 11:30 am call 01332 647884 to book a place.

Alvaston Library Thu 18 Aug 1 pm – 2 pm call 01332 647920 to book a place.

Sublime Science Party

Mickleover Library Fri 29 Jul 2 pm-3 pm call 01332 647884 to book a place.

Alvaston Library Mon 1 Aug 2 pm-3 pm call 01332 647920 to book a place.

Normanton Library Fri 12 Aug 2 pm-3 pm call 01332 642640 to book a place.

Riverside Library Tue 16 Aug 10:30-11:30 am call 01332 641702 to book a place.

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