Children invited to join Mischief Makers for a summer reading challenge

Beano character Dennis and his pet dog Gnasher will be inspiring thousands of Oxfordshire schoolchildren to ‘break all the rules’ this summer and read six books.

It’s all part of Oxfordshire County Council library service’s Mishchief Makers: Summer Reading Challenge to inspire and motivate youngster to discover the joy of reading during the summer holidays.

Last year 8,281 children aged between four and 11 took part while a further 84 young volunteers helped to deliver the challenge.

The 2018 event promises to be even more fun for the whole family and  the Mischief Makers theme is inspired by the much-loved children's comic Beano, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

From this Saturday (July 14) children can explore a map of Beanotown to find a hidden treasure chest full of pranks and become ultimate mischief makers.

As children read library books for the Summer Reading Challenge, they will receive special stickers, some with mysterious smells.

By adding these stickers to their map, young readers will help Dennis, Gnasher and friends solve clues and discover the treasure, having lots of fun and adventures along the way.

Mischief Makers big launch is at Oxfordshire County Library, next to the Westgate in Oxford, on Saturday, July 14 between 2-3pm with local children’s author Cas Lester. Go along and join the fun.

Otherwise to take part in Mischief Makers, all children need to do is sign up at their nearest library where they will be given a colourful collector’s map of Beanotown to keep a record of their Summer Reading Challenge journey.

Mischief Makers, which is supported by The Reading Agency and Beano, will run until September 15.

Working alongside Libraries Connected, a membership organisation representing heads of library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, two book collections comprising 70 must-reads for children aged 4-11, has been created for the challenge to enthrall every young reader.

They bring together brilliant books chosen by children and librarians which capture the Mischief Makers spirit, and includes many new titles which will be published this summer.

There are two lists - one for younger children and one for more confident older children - representing the best in contemporary children's fiction, poetry, non-fiction, picture books and graphic novels.

Jo Morris, Oxfordshire County Council’s Lead Librarian for Reading Health & Culture, said: “The summer break is a great opportunity for children to discover the joy of reading, have fun and boost their life skills and chances. Our libraries play a crucial part in our thriving communities.”

And Sue Wilkinson, CEO of The Reading Agency said: “At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge.

“Mischief Makers offers intergenerational appeal and we hope this family friendly, accessible theme will inspire more children than ever to read over the holidays and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."


  • Reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.
  • There is a difference in reading performance equivalent to just over a year's schooling between young people who never read for enjoyment and those who read for up to 30 minutes per day.
  • Children who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gain higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less regularly.

Contact your local library to find out what’s happening or just or go to http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/mischiefmakers to find out how to take part.