|Launching the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland|
This year’s theme is Mythical Maze. And there couldn’t be a better theme for me – I write collections of myths and legends, I write contemporary adventures inspired by old myths, and one of my books even has a Maze in the title.
So that’s probably why I was asked to launch this year’s theme and challenge in Scotland. (And yes, I know it seems a bit early to all of you south of the border, but we grab summer earlier up here in Scotland, so the schools are already out and the libraries are already challenging kids to read books during the holidays.)
The launches were all positive and smiley. I met kids who had done previous challenges and were keen to do it again (which was great) and I met kids who had never done it before but were keen to give it a go it this year (which was even better.) So I had hoped to post a really cheerful blog for you all about summer and reading, with these wonderful illustrations by Sarah MacIntyre.
|With lovely librarian Ruth in Dundee, and a dragon behind us.|
But when I posted pictures of me with posters and books and dragons and kids online last week, someone who had been involved in a campaign that I supported to keep their local library open, a campaign that sadly failed, contacted me to say, this is lovely, Lari, but what about the kids who don’t have a local library any more?
And I didn’t have an answer. Sad face emoticons don’t really do it.
The Summer Reading Challenge brightens up and invigorates libraries all over the country and allows them to run fun family-focussed events. The different themes every year make reading relevant and exciting to lots of different children. Kids get involved, families get involved, authors get involved. It’s a brilliant scheme. Well done the Reading Agency for organising it, and Tesco Bank for supporting it in Scotland. But it can’t reach every child, because not every child has access to a library.
And perhaps that’s the real challenge for all of us.
I had intended to write a really cheerful summery sunny post for all you Awfully Big Blog fans, but the shadow over it is that even the best things we do with books can’t and don’t reach everyone. Not until we make sure every single child has access to a library.
So clearly my challenge is to get away from that dragon breathing down my neck and take up my sword again on the subject of library closures.
In the meantime, have a fun summer, losing yourself in mazes and finding new myths!
(Lari is now away polishing her sword…)
Lari Don is an occasional library campaigner, and also the award-winning author of 21 books for all ages, including a teen thriller, fantasy novels for 8 – 12s, picture books, retellings of traditional tales and novellas for reluctant readers.
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