Jaqui's Daily Blog

Getting Ready for The Big Friendly Read

I have decided that I need to get in touch with my Inner BFG. As in, Big Friendly Giant, as opposed to BFF which, according to my granddaughter who is an expert on such matters, means Best Friend Forever. Mind you, I dare say the two are not mutually exclusive - the Big Friendly Giant might easily become my Best Friend Forever over the course of this summer.


Yes, indeed, dear Readers, I have volunteered once more for the Summer Reading Challenge at my local library. This year's theme - I am very, very excited indeed - is The Big Friendly Read, commemorating the birth, 100 years ago this year, of Master Story-Teller, Roald Dahl.


Yesterday evening was my Induction Day and I joined around 20 other would-be volunteers in the Children's Library in my home town of Worthing. Queuing up to have my name ticked off the attendance list, I was charmed to see that it is now possible to borrow toys as well as books from the library. Crammed onto shelves set against one wall were exciting looking colourful zipped carry bags containing a variety of toys. An eminently sensible notice warned borrowers not to unzip and open the carry bags in the library - just imagine the Potential For Chaos if the toys within each receptacle became mixed up. Buzz Lightyear would find himself in the doll's house while Thomas the Tank Engine would be doing battle with the Power Rangers. On second thoughts, it could be an interesting exercise in diversity...


By this time I had reached the registration table where my attendance was duly noted. I couldn't help noticing that, in a column against each name, an age had been inserted. The column against my name read: "Older". Well, yes, there is no arguing with that, I suppose. Almost all my fellow volunteers are teenagers, looking to add volunteering experience to their CVs or college entrance applications. I am viewed as Something of an Oddity by staff and volunteers but that's fine by me. This will be my fifth year as a Reading Activist and I'm really looking forward to the start of the Challenge on July 16th.


Which gives me two weeks to do my revision. I have taken it upon myself to re-read as many Roald Dahl books as I can before the start of the Challenge. That way, I will be at least as knowledgeable as the young readers who will crowd round our Summer Reading Challenge desk, talking about glass elevators, foxes, chocolate bars, giant peaches and twits. Not necessarily in that order.


I have read all the most popular books in my time. The one I know best is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - and not only because all the rather repulsive young characters in the book (Our Charlie excluded, of course) are, like me, Always Thinking About Their Stomachs. Many years ago, I used that story as the theme of a Brownie Pack Holiday. It was simply the best. Though I say so myself as shouldn't (as my dear Mum would chide me.) Also, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I saw the stage show a few months back, as one of our regular "Lunch and Theatre Jolly Jaunts."


The Children's Librarian, the Truly Wonderful Frances, excitedly passed round examples of the Collector's Wallet and the stickers (some smelly, some not - we all screwed up our noses at the smelly ones.) Plus the certificate and medal which will be awarded to every young reader who finishes six books over the course of the Challenge. All the materials have been illustrated by Quentin Blake, whose illustrations have brought Roald Dahl's magnificent characters to life over ever so many years.


The Summer Reading Challenge is a national scheme organised by The Reading Agency - so it's coming to a library near you. If you are the parent or grandparent, sister or brother of a 4 - 11 year old, do encourage them to find out what it's all about. Tell them about the glow in the dark wristband they will get when they first sign up, about the Treasure Hunt and other activities, about the smelly stickers and that shiny "gold" medal they will be able to wear with pride when they finish the challenge.


It's "The Big Friendly Read" - and it's going to be SUCH fun!

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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