Children's author and illustrator Nick Sharratt entertained a packed audience at The Hive's Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge ceremony on Tuesday, October 7.
More than 200 children with their families received medals and certificates, presented by Cllr Rob Adams and Clare Marchant, Worcestershire County Council Chief Executive, for completing this year's Summer Reading Challenge.
Nick Sharratt, who was visiting as part of Beeline - The University of Worcester Storytelling Festival for Children, went on to entertain the excited audience creating a story with illustrations, and to sign and illustrate every child's book.
Best known for his illustrations of the Tracey Beaker books by Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt has written and illustrated over 250 books including 'Pants', 'Socks' and 'You Choose' – the book which inspired the organisers to invite the children to wear whatever Fancy Dress they chose to the ceremony.
The Summer Reading Challenge, run by the Reading Agency, is a national campaign aimed at encouraging children to read books and magazines and use libraries through the long school holidays. The challenge is for children to read six books over the holidays. Children can read whatever they like - fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books - just as long as they are borrowed from the library.
Kathy Kirk, Strategic Libraries & Learning Manager, said: "The Summer Reading Challenge is an excellent scheme that is well proven in improving reading levels of the children who take part and complete the challenge. The award ceremony is really important for acknowledging the hard work and commitment of the children and this year we were lucky enough to work with Beeline - The University of Worcester Storytelling Festival for Children to welcome Nick Sharratt to our event".
Fay Adams, mother of a child taking part, said: "It encouraged my child to read and created a passion for reading."
Gemma Thomas from Worcester, mother of a child taking part, said: "She went up a reading level at school only a couple of weeks after the summer holidays".