Saturday, September 26

Project Brighton: Young City Reads – Brighton & Hove’s BIG READ for children

- January 8, 2018


The words that best describe Young City Reads are those used by a young reader at our 2017 finale event in Brighton Festival when asked by a member of the public why over a thousand children were making their way into Brighton Dome, all clutching a copy of the same book. “It’s like we’re all in this massive book club,” he said with a beaming smile, his own copy wedged under his arm, ready to be signed by the author. It’s this sense of reading as a shared activity, and a love of reading for pleasure, that Young City Reads continues to inspire in more and more young readers year on year.

The project began as a pilot in 2013 and was supported by Michael Rosen as Guest Director of Brighton Festival. Michael chose one of his favourite books – Emil and the Detectives – for children across the city to read, discuss and creatively engage with, and 17 teachers and their classes joined in. Just four years (and four books) later, over 70 local classes (around 1,950 children) shared the first book in A F Harold’s Fizzlebert Stump series, and Chris Riddell came aboard as the project’s first patron.

‘Wonderful project, it was incredible to be part of it. There were children engaging in reading, and laughing along with the story, who I have never seen read independently before.’
Class Teacher, Young City Reads 2017

As well as being a brilliantly written adventure, it also explores some familiar anxieties that children face

Every summer our focus group of teachers read a shortlist of titles and agree on a favourite, with reluctant readers in mind, ensuring that children with a range of abilities can take part. The perfect YCR title should have a sense of humour, inspiring illustrations and be full of heart, and the 2018 book of choice is no exception…


Between March and May 2018 we’re inviting schools across Sussex to share in the fresh and funny super hero epic Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith. As well as being a brilliantly written adventure, it also explores some familiar anxieties that children face at school, and reminds us that you don’t need superpowers to make a difference.

Teachers can already sign up for free to take part via The project launches on World Book Day (1 March) from which date participating classes have ten weeks to read the book, receiving free weekly emails and fun downloadable resources, until the interactive finale event in Brighton Festival on 19 May when we’ll be celebrating this big reading adventure with the authors live on stage at Brighton Dome.

“What I love about Young City Reads is that it encourages children to read for pleasure and I think that is such an important lesson for us all to learn, the fact that picking up a book and getting involved in a story is just the most pleasurable experience you can have.”
Chris Riddell, YCR Patron, author, illustrator and Children’s Laureate 2015-17


To find out more about Young City Reads visit, find us on Facebook or tweet @youngcityreads. You can help us keep the project free and accessible to all local schools by making a donation to the project via our website. All donations are spent on enabling schools in the city’s most disadvantaged areas to take part, putting books in the hands of children or supporting schools with travel costs to the finale event.

Vicky Tremain, Project Manager, Young City Reads

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