Spooky summer fun in Hackney’s libraries

Join the Summer Reading Challenge

Skeleton family

The Summer Reading Challenge is about to kick off in Hackney’s libraries and will include free events and workshops throughout summer.

The national initiative from The Reading Agency aims to get three quarters of a million children to read six library books throughout the summer holidays.  Every time children finish a book they get stickers and rewards along with a certificate for everyone who completes the challenge.

‘Creepy House’ is the theme of this year’s event and will be supported by almost 60 performances, creative activities and workshops across Hackney’s libraries, bringing spooky story characters to life and injecting fun and creativity into reading.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
Libraries are a great place for children and families to share in the love of reading, meet new people and explore different ways to learn. Pop down to any one of Hackney’s eight libraries to get your children involved in this summer’s challenge and discover a love of stories and books.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

The programme of free events starts on 25 July until 7 September and will include: a graphic drawing workshop to create your own cartoon character or comic strip, dance and movement classes and a ‘Creepy House’ workshop to take you on an imaginative investigation involving detective work and creepy crawly animals.

Children can also visit to create a profile, chat about books and discover what to read next.

Miranda McKearney OBE, Director of The Reading Agency, said: “The Summer Reading Challenge’s simple magic helps turn children into library users and enthusiastic readers – with profound implications for their life chances. Because it’s free, every single family can take part”.

Hackney Reading Activists, a group of volunteers aged 11-19 who are helping to set up reading and writing hubs in their local libraries, will also be on hand to help deliver the Summer Reading Challenge.  Those interested in becoming a Hackney Reading Activist can visit the project’s official launch event at Hackney Central Library on 9 August at from 5.30-7.30pm to find out more.  There will be plenty of free activities on the night too, including a graffiti wall, free giveaways, music and games.

For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, Hackney Reading Activists or to find out what’s on in your local Hackney library, visit:

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Event highlights include

Graphic Novel workshop with Steve Marchant - Come along and learn how to draw your own manga/comic/cartoon characters with Cartoon Museum tutor Steve Marchant. Create your very own comic-strip plus receive a free cartoon portrait. 6-12 year olds. Booking necessary. Hackney Central Library, Friday 2 August, 2 -4pm and Stoke Newington Library, Wednesday 28 August 3-5pm.

Dance and Movement (Michael Jackson’s Thriller) - Join Grace Elliot (Dance Performer) and learn some of the great dance moves from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Parents welcome to see their children perform at the end. 6+ years. Booking necessary. Homerton Library, Saturday 3 August 11am – 1pm.

Zoo Lab - Our “Creepy House” workshop takes the kids on an imaginative investigation through a creepy house. Here the children do some detective work by visiting some exciting rooms and come across our creepy crawly animals!  5-12 year olds. Booking necessary. Stamford Hill Library, Thursday 8 August 2.15-3pm.

Let’s build a creepy house with Mr Wizz the Wizard - Mr Wizz goes house hunting. When his broomstick breaks down, the children help him build his own creepy house. With cracks in the floor board, bubbles in the bedroom, cobwebs in the cupboard and dinosaur eggs in the fridge, will the house be creepy enough? All ages. Just turn up. This will happen at most libraries in Hackney on different dates with the exception of Hackney Central and Woodberry Down.

Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”: Love, life and estate agency - John Kirk presents a lively reinterpretation of Bram Stoker’s classic Victorian novel. In 45 minutes, journey with a cast of colourful characters from Whitby to Transylvania on an unforgettable adventure. 7+ years. Just turn up.  At all Hackney libraries.