There is a new and exciting way to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge this year. Because our libraries aren’t open fully yet we are going virtual and you will be able to take part online. As well as the challenge there will be activities for you to do all on the same theme of fun, laughter and silliness.

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and get stuck in to all different kinds of funny books. This year, the Challenge features extra special characters designed by the award-winning author and illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, who you’ll know from amazing reads like Amelia Fang and Evil Emperor Penguin!

You can join the Silly Squad on a new adventure by setting your own personal reading challenge to complete this summer. The Silly Squad online platform will help you keep track of your books, reviews and the rewards you unlock along the way. The challenge will run in Explore York Libraries and Archives from Friday 10 July to Friday 18 September

How to sign up for Silly Squad – the Summer Reading Challenge 2020

The Silly Squad website provides a fun, immersive and safe environment for children to achieve their reading goals and explore the Silly Squad theme.

  • Children must create a free account to take part in the digital Challenge, which is a simple process and requires approval by an adult (via email). We are required by law to use this two-step authentication process for children under the age of 16.
  • Although you must have an account to take part in the actual Challenge, lots of other content will be available on the website for everyone to explore, so you are welcome to go on and see this.
  • Children taking part in the Challenge this year will be asked to set their own reading goal.  However, we are still suggesting six books as the best goal to try for.
  • To sign up go to the Summer Reading Challenge website

Books you can use for the challenge

You can download our e-books for free and use these for your challenge. To sign up for ebooks please go onto our e-library and follow the instructions there.

You can also borrow books using our click and collect service. This service comes to an end on 2 September as we prepare to reopen all libraries for browsing from 7 September.

Summer Activities

From July onwards we will have some virtual activities that you can take part in. These include crafts, an illustration workshop,  a puppet workshop and a silly squad play to watch. .

These have been jointly funded by Explore York Libraries and wards in City of York Council

Make a crocodile or a penguin or do some very silly colouring!

Create your own Silly Squad character with children’s book illustrator Sophie Keen

Join in the fun with Hoglets and Theatre of Science in our exclusive play – Operation Super Creature

Egg boxes and pegs at the ready! Join Mama Hoglet Gemma as she shows you how to make a crocodile puppet

Join author Tom Palmer for two videos, kindly provided by ASCEL, the Association for Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. In the first Tom uses event and characters from history to inspire writing while the second is Tom’s Reading Game.

Arts Award Discover Summer 2020

Arts Award Discover is a nationally recognised introductory award aimed at 5 to 9 year olds (although any child can take part.) York Army Museum, Explore York Libraries and Archives and York Museums Trust are offering children the opportunity to gain Arts Award Discover through taking part in any three of the creative activities available virtually on our websites.

You can find links to Explore’s activities above, York Army Museum here and York Museums Trust here

You also need to find out about an artist or crafts person and share what you have done and found out with your family.

You can find out information about an artist by visiting York Art Gallery, researching on the internet or request a book about artists through Explore’s click and collect service

Then download a form, fill it in and return it to Arts Award Discover, York Army Museum, 3 Tower Street, York, YO1 9SB – or you can email the form to

If you have photos of what you have done to send us we would love to see them.