HUNDREDS of children have developed a passion for books after joining the Summer Reading Challenge.

Wild world heroes, a celebration of nature and action for the environment, was the theme of this year's event organised by Cheshire East library service.

More than 172,350 physical and digital items were borrowed and 1,685 children became library members.

A total of 4,390 young people took part and 326 youngsters joined in online.

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Jo Shannon, Cheshire East Council library services manager, said: “I’m delighted at the number of children who participated in this year’s summer reading challenge."

“Many children in Cheshire East enjoy reading and it is fantastic that so many young people signed up to become library members.

"Parents recognise how important this is to a child’s development and have told me how much more their children are reading as a result of the challenge.”

Prizes were donated by the Cheshire adventure park, BeWILDerwood.

Extra outdoor events such as nature and story walks were held thanks to support from almost 80 volunteers.

Self-guided nature walks involved children collecting activity sheets and non-fiction nature books and visiting their local park to spot various things.

A vertical garden made during the summer reading challenge

A vertical garden made during the summer reading challenge

The story walks were like a treasure hunt where children searched for posters of famous book characters, read excerpts of text and answered questions.

These activities not only provided mental stimulation but also created physical and mental health benefits.

Cllr Mick Warren, chairman of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities committee, said: “The development of children through reading and associated activities is so important to our families in the borough.

"I am delighted that our library service has, once again, run a highly successful reading challenge and succeeded in recruiting more young people as library members."

One eight-year-old boy said: “When I first came to the library, I was not that much into reading but I soon got more into it. Now I read a lot more.”

Anyone wishing to join a library can visit