Big top. Big fun. Due to unprecedented demand registration for the Circus Stars Summer Reading Challenge has now closed.

More than 90 budding performers registered on the first day for Circus Stars, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge at the Henry Bloom Noble Library.

The summertime circus spectacle aims to keep children reading throughout the school summer holidays with the Summer Reading Challenge, a free and inspired way to encourage young people to discover the world of books, gain confidence and learn new skills.


 Borough librarian Jan Macartney, extreme right with Scottish Widows’ Paul Young, Juan Clarke and Rachel Kelly and budding circus stars Calvin, seven, Morgan, five and Patrik, nine Russell-Dunn


Created and run by the Reading Agency, the challenge has proved a hugely popular and successful reading initiative at the Henry Bloom Noble Library which last year saw 129 children complete the space-themed challenge.

For the fourth year in succession Scottish Widows is sponsoring the challenge that requires children to read six or more books of their choice during the holidays and, as they progress through the challenge, earn collectable incentives and rewards. They will also receive a certificate and medal for completing the challenge at a prize presentation later in the year.

This year’s challenge, Circus Stars, owes much to Cirque du Soleil and starts with six children who have signed up for a contemporary circus skills academy. As they read books they gain new circus skills through three important stages: practice, rehearsal and show time.

The interactive Circus Stars website links children with top authors and illustrators and provides an opportunity to talk about their favourite books and share reading ideas.

Borough librarian Jan Macartney said: ‘This will be the fifth year that the Henry Bloom Noble Library has taken part in the Summer Reading Challenge. Every year it gets bigger and better thanks to the enthusiastic children, supportive parents and our generous sponsors Scottish Widows. As we have a limited number of information packs it will be first come, first served so, in keeping with the circus theme my message is: “Roll up. Roll up. Register as soon as you can.”’


Reading Agency website



Scottish Widows’ Rachel Kelly with Brynley Mayhew, nine


Scottish Widows’ senior manager Juan Clarke and colleague Rachel Kelly enter into the spirit with Russell-Dunn brothers Calvin, seven, Morgan, five and Patrik, nine


Scottish Widows’ Juan Clarke, Paul Young and Rachel Kelly, seated, borough librarian Jan Macartney, standing and Xifong and Xiatian Christian, 11 and eight and Katie and Josh Preece, nine and 11 respectively.



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