CHILDREN across the Borders are being invited to spend their summer between the covers - of a book.

The Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge was launched last week at Hawick Library.

And youngsters across the region are being invited to take part.

Run by national charity The Reading Agency in partnership with Scotland’s libraries and Tesco Bank, the challenge encourages children to read six books during the summer holidays - a time when children’s literacy skills traditionally dip.

With a grant available to all local libraries taking part in the challenge, the team at Hawick Library put the funding towards an animal themed story-telling event with celebrated Scottish author, Emily Dodd.

Christine Johnson, Live Borders communities librarian, said: "We were delighted to host Emily Dodd and her exciting tale of Ollie and the Otter which is part of a number of events running in Live Borders Libraries over the holiday period, in conjunction with Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge.

"We know how important reading to young children is in improving literacy levels and helping foster a culture of reading for fun.

"This event is a perfect fit and we thank Tesco Bank and Emily for their help in achieving this.”

The Reading Agency and libraries across Scotland have worked together to create a new theme for the challenge, and this year it is Animal Agents based on a detective agency staffed by all kinds of clever animals – furry, scaly and slippery – who are out to crack the case with a little help from their friends.

Tony Ross, UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator who has worked on bringing this year’s theme to life, has designed exclusive collecting cards which feature the Animal Agents characters and fun activities for the children to take part in as they progress through the challenge.

Adele Mills from Tesco Bank commented: "Reading for pleasure is a fantastic way of spending some enjoyable time during the long summer holidays so we’re delighted that children from Hawick got involved through their local library.

"The challenge aims to inspire 40,000 children across Scotland to participate during their break from school and events like this will undoubtedly have a positive effect on their future.”