The Reading Agency Summer Reading Challenge 2020 – Meet the Silly Squad and Ambassadors

With Covid 19 still posing an issue for social gatherings and normal routines such as visiting the local library with other family members, The Reading Agency have ensured the Summer Reading Challenge that more than 700,000 children enjoy taking part in each year will still run for 2020, with all assets being available digitally – beginning with the launch yesterday (05/06/20). My launch blog can be found here.

Who are the Silly Squad?

With a choice of characters to reflect your reading choices and passion, beautifully illustrated by the incredibly talented Laura Ellen Anderson, there are a lovely selection of animals to choose from including a giraffe that loves tell stories, an octopus that can make up amazing rhymes, and others too! Maybe you could be the one to encourage Brian, the grumpy unicorn who does not like books to see what he is missing out on, for as Dr Seuss said “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”.

Summer Reading Challenge 2020 Ambassadors

There is an incredible line up of famous names supporting the Summer Reading Challenge this year, all of whom advocate reading and children’s literature is at the heart of what they do. You will recognise lots of the names on the list from books your school library stocks, you have enjoyed, authors you are fans of, and some you will have grown up familiar with the works of –

  • CBBC presenters Sam and Mark (The Adventures of Long Arm)
  • Children’s author Jacqueline Wilson (Tracy Beaker,etc)
  • Comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady
  • Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell (How To Train Your Dragon series)
  • Comedian and Author David Baddiel (The Taylor Turbochaser,etc)
  • TV adventurer Ben Fogle (Mr Dog series)
  • Former Blue Peter presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq (Cookie! series)
  • Performance poet Joseph Coelho (A Year of Nature Poems,etc)
  • CBBC’s Hacker T.Dog reunited with Radio 1’s Katie Thistleton
  • Children’s author Rob Biddulph (Dinosaur Juniors series,etc)
  • Philip Ardagh (The Grunts series,etc)
  • Guy Bass (Stitch Head series, etc)
  • Steven Butler (Nothing to See here Hotel series, etc)
  • Gareth P Jones (Dragon Detective series,etc)
  • J M Joseph (Fire Boy series)
  • Jennifer Killick (Alex Sparrow series, etc)
  • Silly Squad illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson (Amelia Fang series,etc)
  • Founder of The Shed School Ashley Bates
  • Illustrator Johanna Basford OBE
  • Actress and comedian Samantha Baines
  • Author and game designer Gabrielle Kent
  • Bestselling author David McKee (Elmer)
  • Milly Johnson
  • Dorothy Koomson
  • Kit de Waal
  • Kate Clanchy MBE

Many of the listed children’s authors have titles in the official Silly Squad book collection, which consists of 68 books for children ages 4-11 years to enjoy, all of which have been picked by children, librarians, and experts from the world of children’s literature. The books have been chosen to inspire readers, whilst providing some much needed escapism in the current pandemic and lockdown through the silly theme they are all relevant too.

It is fantastic to see titles published in 2020 on the list, encouraging children to keep up to date with their reading whilst they are unable to access books routinely from their school and local public library. The books have been put into to different lists, those intended for ages 4-7 (Younger readers) and those age 8-11 (Older readers), and both contain fantastic titles from the cream of children’s authors and illustrators. Those looking for inspiration on the Younger readers list can view it here , and those looking for titles on the Older readers list can access it here.

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