Children who have spent time during the summer holidays with their noses in books and doing challenges have enjoyed a fun afternoon at the library.

Rotorua Library's Summer of Steam Bingo Summer Reading Challenge was an incentive-based programme designed to keep children reading over the summer break, maintain reading levels, and getting them reading in some interesting and innovative ways and places.

The challenge ran from early December to last Saturday.

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Kylie Holmes, Rotorua Library youth and early learning service development, says this year 23 children completed the programme.

"It is wonderful to have so many children and their families interested in participating in programmes like this.

"Programmes and challenges like this are important as they help to engage young people with books and reading outside of school."

Children who took part gathered at the library on Tuesday for the programme's finale, where they had stories and took part in singing and dancing with local author Aunty Bea.

They were then presented with certificates and were able to pick from a selection of books as a prize.

Aunty Bea also gave out some goodies.

Gargi Vaidya, 11, says she read 25 books for the challenge.

Her favourites included Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Wonder by R.J. Polacio and Katy by Jacqueline Wilson.

She says Katy is a great book about a girl and her adventures, and she likes Wonder because it is about a boy with a face issue who is kind.

"I like the stories and morals that they tell, and the problems the characters go through and how they solve the problems."

She says she has now done three of the library's reading challenges.

In this programme, the children had to complete challenges such as read a book or story up a tree, read a book a friend recommends, read a book under a bed, and read to an animal.

"It's like a board game."

Gargi has a dog called Monty who she read aloud to because he always sits by her when she reads at night.

Gargi's mother Ishwari Vaidya says children have plenty of spare time in the holidays.

"Instead of going on the gadgets I feel it's great to come to the library, pick up their favourite books and read."

She says the Bingo Summer Reading Challenge is a great idea.

Ishwari says it is motivational for children with reading and helps them to spend quality time with their parents.