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Summer reading poll 2016

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Pooh pips Potter to the post to be voted favourite children’s book character.

Summer reading

The Summer Reading Challenge 2016 has commissioned a poll to find out who the nation’s favourite children’s book character is, and the results are in! Here are the headlines:

  • The new poll from The Reading Agency shows Winnie the Pooh as the nation’s favourite children’s book character, closely followed by Harry Potter and George from The Famous Five.
  • A spirit of adventure was the most important factor – almost half of people (45%) chose their favourite character because they were adventurous.
  • Born this way: over a third (37%) of people said their favourite character taught them it is OK to be different.
  • The Summer Reading Challenge for children launches on Saturday 16th July in libraries around the country.

The list of favourite characters from childhood books shows Harry Potter in second place, and George from Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five in third, behind the timeless Winnie the Pooh. Other popular characters include Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Lucy from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The poll of 1,200 people who read at least once a week, commissioned by The Reading Agency, reveals the favourite childhood characters across the generations – and the differences. Pooh is a favourite across the ages, while Harry Potter is a firm favourite for nearly half (48%) of 16-24 year olds, but only 3% of those over 55 consider the wizard a favourite. The older generation instead favoured George from The Famous Five and Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.

When asked what they liked about their favourite characters almost half of people (45%) ranked an adventurous nature top, with a third choosing their favourite character because they felt like a good friend. A British sense of humour could have contributed to a third of people also saying cheekiness and sense of humour are key factors.

Summer Reading poll results

Ahead of the Summer Reading Challenge taking place in libraries across the country during July and August, the results shine a light on the benefits of reading, demonstrating what can be learned from our childhood favourites. Over a third (37%) of people said their favourite character taught them ‘It is okay to be different’. A third (30%) said they learned ‘How to be kind to people’ and a quarter learned ‘How to get through difficult times’.

The Summer Reading Challenge is the biggest reading for pleasure programme in the UK, and will see more than three quarters of a million children (age four to 11) pick up books around the country. Now in its 18th year and taking place in 98% of libraries, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is called the Big Friendly Read, in honour of the world’s no.1 storyteller Roald Dahl, whose centenary is being celebrated this year and whose much loved character The Big Friendly Giant hits cinema screens this summer.

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency says:

“We know the power of picking up a book you love and discovering a favourite character amongst the pages. The Summer Reading Challenge gives children the chance to be transported and inspired by the adventures of their favourite characters, and read books that can go on to play a fundamental role in their lives. For this reason, we were curious about which characters would stand the test of time and stay with us into adulthood, and the ones that would remain firm favourites across the generations.

“This summer we’re excited to be running the Summer Reading Challenge in partnership with libraries around the country, the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and our Scottish sponsors Tesco Bank. We hope that the children walking through the doors of libraries enjoy taking part and finish the summer with a new found love of reading.”

Don’t forget to check out our main feature on the Summer Reading Challenge as well – there’s still time for you and your school to get involved.

We’ve also got a brilliant article by Judith Harries all about summer reading ideas for children of all ages. Inspire your children to transport themselves to another world this summer.



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