Book smart: Children can take part in the reading challenge at local libraries. Photograph: Hackney Council

Youngsters across Hackney will be able to earn special rewards for reading library books between July and September – as the borough gets set for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Children aged 4-11 can sign up for the event, run by education charity The Reading Agency, and will be set the task of reading six books during the six-week school holiday.

Those who read all six will get a certificate, and have a party thrown in their honour at their local library.

The theme of 2018’s challenge is ‘Mischief Makers’, inspired by the historic Beano comics, which celebrate their 80th anniversary this year.

Children can read whatever books they like – joke books, novels, non-fiction, even audio books – as long as they are all borrowed from the library.

After finishing a book, kids get to explore a map of Beanotown, located at the library, with comic book favourites Dennis the Menace and Gnasher on hand to help them solve clues to a mysterious buried treasure.

Hackney’s community services chief Cllr Jon Burke said: “Reading is an important gateway to learning, which enables children to confidently access a broad and balanced curriculum.

“Not only does reading offer a lifetime of improved educational and employment chances, it also provides opportunities for imagination and escapism in an increasingly busy world.

“I’m delighted that the summer reading challenge gets children involved in reading and encourages them to discover the many resources and events at Hackney’s libraries.”

According to The Reading Agency, 761,758 children across the UK took part in last year’s challenge.

The charity’s ambition is to “keep people reading at all stages of life through innovative activities developed with libraries, publishers, authors and other partners”.

Hackney’s Summer Reading Challenge runs from 6 July until 7 September.

Children must be a member of one of the borough’s eight libraries to take part.

For more information about the challenge, including how to sign up, please visit