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This article first appeared in the Llanelli Star on 24th July 2019

I still remember the excitement I felt as a child watching the first moon landing broadcast on TV 50 years ago. At the time, I was going off to camp with the 53rd Hull Guides from the Cottingham Road Baptist Church, and, inspired by the historic events, we chose names of planets for our patrols.

So I was delighted to see that ‘Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing’ is the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

The challenge is for primary school children to read six library books over the summer holidays. There are rewards for each book they read and certificates for those who manage to complete the challenge. For children in Carmarthenshire who write a review about a book they’ve read, there is also an opportunity to win a Scarlets jersey… please contact your local library for more information.

As a former teacher, I know how important it is to encourage children to read from an early age. Any type of book counts towards the Reading Challenge, and, whether it’s fiction, history or even joke books, the most important thing is that children enjoy the experience of reading and continue to do it without the need for encouragement. The challenge is also a great way of getting children and parents to use and support our fantastic libraries, which are important local assets.

We have a very impressive list of libraries in the Llanelli constituency, including in Cross Hands, Llangennech, Llwynhendy, Burry Port, Pembrey, Kidwelly and Pontyberem, as well as in Llanelli town itself. I will be visiting one of our great libraries shortly to see which books have caught the imagination of local children this summer and the other excellent work that goes on in these vital community hubs.