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Summer Reading Challenge

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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Inspire your children's reading with the help of a bug hotel
Children in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire can look forward to a fun-packed day of storytelling and craft activities as part of this year's Summer Reading Challenge. The free event, which has a nature theme, is being planned by Tamworth Borough Council's Arts and Events team in partnership with Tamworth Library. It will take place from 11am on August 10 on the grounds of Tamworth Castle and will include award-winning children's book author Ben Davis sharing real-life stories which have inspired him to write. In addition, artist Maggie Carney will be inviting families to paint and design their very own birdfeeders to take home. Every year, Staffordshire Libraries take part in the Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge, which encourages more than 700,000 children nationally to read throughout the summer holidays, collect special stickers, earn a medal and join in with activities and events throughout the summer – all for free!

Summer Reading Challenge, Bug hotel
The bug hotel forms part of the Summer Reading Challenge

This year's theme is Wild World Heroes, a celebration of nature and action for the environment, in partnership with WWF UK. Tamworth Library and Ankerside Shopping Centre are looking to create a trail for families, where pictures of animals and insects will be hidden around town. The Town Trail opened on July 10 and runs until August 28.Those families who complete the trail will be entered into a prize draw. Clue sheets will be available to collect from the library. Tamworth Borough Council's Street Scene have also helped support this year's theme by clearing and preparing an area outside Ankerside to build a Bug Hotel Project. The bug hotel, which was originally planned to be launched before lockdown in March last year, will be situated in an area just outside Ankerside centre, overlooking the castle grounds.It will be featured in Tamworth Library's Trail. Materials used to fill the Bug Hotel will include logs, pine cones and bamboo canes.

Summer Reading Challenge
The theme is Wild World Heroes

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, Mark Burbridge, said: "The planning of the bug hotel commenced way back in 2019, whereby we came up with the idea of clearing a neglected area at the centre to create an environmentally friendly garden. The garden will offer visitors, particularly children, an area of environmental interest by introducing a bug hotel, wormery, bat boxes, butterfly houses and wildflower beds. We are all afraid of things we don't understand, and insects often fall into this category. By building a Bug Hotel, children and adults visiting Ankerside will be able to observe nature and how they live." Councillor Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: "It's great to see this year's Summer Reading Challenge theme of Wild World Heroes and I look forward to taking part with my children and seeing other families joining in with the activities and town trail. The Arts and Events team will be in the Castle Grounds on August 10, offering families the opportunity to join in with wildlife-themed crafts and storytelling will take place throughout the day."

Summer Reading Challenge, Bug hotel
The bug hotel overlooks Tamworth Castle Grounds

People can sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge at their local library and read six library books of their choice to complete the challenge. There are exclusive rewards to collect along the way, and it's FREE to take part! More information regarding the Summer Reading Challenge can be found at:
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Why? Get your kids interested in reading this summer
When: July 10 to August 28
Where: Ankerside Shopping Centre, George Street, Tamworth B79 7LG
Cost: Free
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