Our Summer Reading Challenge keeps hundreds of thousands of children reading each year over the summer holidays, via their local libraries. Once again, some of them have also enjoyed writing endings to short stories started by six top authors, as part of the UK-wide Finish The Story competition.
Image credit to The Salisbury Journal. Nathan Burn receiving his prize from Lynne Taylor of The Reading Agency, watched by Chris Williams, portfolio holder for libraries at Wiltshire Council and children's librarian Naomi Fewins.
Announcing the winner
We're delighted to announce that the overall winner of our third annual Finish The Story competition is eleven year-old Nathan Burn from Salisbury in Wiltshire. The beginnings of the stories were written specially for the competition by Cathy Cassidy, Sarah McIntyre, Mackenzie Crook, Eoin Colfer and Rick Riordan; each author recently chose their favourite ending to their story, with details of the six young finalists announced on The Summer Reading Challenge website. A judging panel then met to read all six story endings and decide on the overall winner.
Nathan's winning story
Nathan chose to finish Rick Riordan's story, 'A Quest From Apollo'. He vividly recounted how two ordinary school children, John and Alyssa, rose to a challenge from Apollo - who paid them a surprise visit on a subway train - to keep at bay Scylla, the nine-headed, man-eating monster of the seas from ancient Greek mythology, who had been terrorising commuters.
Nathan's prize for winning the 2014 Finish The Story competition is a laptop. He was presented with it at a special ceremony at Salisbury Library on Tuesday 18 November.
Rick Riordan, author of the bestselling Percy Jackson And The Olympians series of books for children, says of Nathan's winning ending to A Quest From Apollo:
Great work, Nathan! What a wonderfully scary story. I'm not sure I could've disposed of a monster any better than that, and I will definitely think twice before riding the train again!
I thought it would be fun to try and write about a Greek monster in Rick Riordan's style because I'm very interested in Greek mythology and I enjoy reading Rick's Percy Jackson series.
You can read Nathan's story in full on the Summer Reading Challenge website.
2014 Summer Reading Challenge
Each year children are encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the holidays with collectible incentives and rewards, plus a certificate, or medal for every child who completes the Summer Reading Challenge. Children can sign up at their local library from the end of June onwards and all materials are absolutely free. This year's theme was Mythical Maze.
This year 839,622 children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge through libraries across the UK.
135,500 children are now signed up to The Summer Reading Challenge website which had two million page views over the summer. The site is available all year round, encouraging children to continue reading with competitions, challenges, author interviews, news, and the Book Sorter, a simple-to-use tool for children to get book recommendations based on titles read and rated by other children.
Summer Reading Challenge in Wiltshire
Chris Williams, portfolio holder for libraries at Wiltshire Council helped present Nathan with his prize. He said,
Congratulations to Nathan on creating an amazing story. I hope this will inspire him and many more young people to continue writing. Getting into a good book is so beneficial for literacy skills and the more young people we can encourage to read the better. This year was the most successful yet with almost 10,000 young Wiltshire children taking up the Summer Reading Challenge ably assisted by an army of 250 volunteers who listened to them recount their reads. I hope we can increase the numbers again in 2015.
Lynne Taylor, who represented The Reading Agency at Nathan's prize presentation, says:
We're delighted to present Nathan with his prize laptop. It's fantastic that the Summer Reading Challenge can inspire children's writing as well as reading over the summer. We love the way that the theme of the Challenge and the books by Nathan's favourite writer inspired him to write his winning story.
Rick Riordan's latest book, Heroes Of Olympus: The Blood Of Olympus was released last month.