Young readers, authors and artists honoured at Creepy House Reading Challenge Awards at Henley Community Library on 14 September. The Creepy House 2013 Summer Reading Challenge awards at the Henley Community Library and the Methodist Church chapel saw 49 children recieve gold medals and 14 more achieve silver medals for their summer reading. They ranged in age from 3 to 11. 102 children registered this year, thanks largely to energetic promotion by Elaine Field and the support of area schools.
St Mary’s and Wootton Wawen primary schools made a good showing in their first significant year in the Challenge at Henley Community Library, with 6 and 4 gold medalists respectively and 4 silver medalists at St. Mary’s. Four children from Claverdon achieved gold as well, also their first participation through the Community Library. Henley Primary took 31 gold and 4 silver medals, with Eddie Palmer Gee bagging a gift voucher from Waterstones Books and a signed copy of The Power of the Pendant from guests of honour Cerys Stansfield and Shirley Thompson, the book’s authors. Eddie was the first to finish the Challenge.
Cerys, 9 when she published the tale, is one of Britain’s youngest published authors and a student at Solihull Academy. Two more signed copies of her book were given to children who wanted it at the post-awards party in the library and a fourth copy has been sent to the Warwickshire Library Service for inclusion in the children’s collection. The illustrations for the book are the work of Cerys’ teenaged cousin.
Reading Challenge children were creative too, with a display of their monsters at the library foyer. Library visitors of all ages voted prizes to several ‘Best Monsters’. Artist, illustrator and author Julie Debastion listened to many reading accounts in the course of the Challenge, gave support to the budding monster artists and curated the exhibit. Mike Perry’s county councilor’s grant furnished art materials for the children, help with publicity costs and silver medals, while support from the Warwickshire Library Service provided gold medals, posters, stickers redolent of asafoetida and strawberry, games sheets, ‘decision makers’ and booklets. Waterstones donated a book voucher, and the Library Volunteers furnished refreshments, prizes, and some of the incentives along the way as well as hours of listening to children talk about their books.