The Summer Reading Challenge 2015 is well under way, and children across the South West are not only reading, but also playing Fantastical Feats, a fun digital game combining dance, stories, illustration, animation and film. The project is produced by Step Into a Book and is financially supported by Arts Council England and 15 South West local authorities.

Fantastical Feats complements The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge 2015 and features short dance films as well as links to The Reading Agency’s Book Sorter. Children from South West primary schools and library groups were heavily involved in developing ideas for the game, including fun biographies for the characters. The game’s story is spoken by a child.

Medi Bernard, Chair, Society of Chief Librarians – South West, comments, “Every summer children enjoy participating in the national Summer Reading Challenge with The Reading Agency and public libraries. Working in partnership, libraries in the region are encouraging children to enjoy reading and to engage in dance with both activities contributing towards their health and wellbeing.”

Fantastical Feats builds on the success of last year’s The Giant’s Story digital dance project in libraries and follows on from Creepy House, a dance performance project that took place in libraries across the South West during the Summer Reading Challenge 2013. Dance is used in all three projects as a way of engaging children aged 4-11 years with reading and the magic of stories.

As well as the game, Fantastical Feats also features dance events in libraries in Bristol, Devon, Dorset and South Gloucestershire in partnership with Dance in Devon, Activate Performing Arts, Dance South Gloucestershire and City of Bristol.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, says: “Building on the great success of the previous two years’ dance projects in libraries, Fantastical Feats will engage children in fun and practical ways to encourage their interest and enthusiasm for reading. With ingenious partnerships driving the project, children will take part in an exciting digital game, featuring film, animation and dance. Dance allows people to express themselves physically, helping them make sense of the world around them; the dance events that accompany the game will connect children to the magic of stories, illuminating the joy of reading. This range of local events in the south west complements The Summer Reading Challenge, a wonderful national initiative which demonstrates the value of libraries as cultural and community hubs.”

“This is the 3rd year of an incredibly productive 3-year programme. In the first year 1000 people saw the live work in 16 libraries around the region and last year 2379 users interacted with The Giant’s Story online game. If you have a 4-11 year old in your life, they’ll love the questions and the films and will be determined to beat the Book Troll! The game demonstrates how dance and reading can be fused through illustrative and digital lenses to create an accessible and relevant creative offer,” explains Zannah Doan, Regional Producer at Pavilion Dance South West.

Play the game at

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Fantastical Feats is produced by Step into a Book, a partnership comprising SW Association of Senior Children’s & Education Librarians, the Society of Chief Librarians South West, Pavilion Dance South West and RIO in collaboration with the creative team of Second Hand Dance, Somerset Film and eMc arts. The Reading Agency is a programme supporter. The programme is financially supported by Arts Council England and 15 South West local authorities.

Summer Reading Challenge is a national reading development initiative run by the Reading Agency.

Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) is the national membership network of senior managers in children’s and young people’s public library services and school library services in the UK. Our aim is to lead excellence in library services for children and young people and schools so that: every child and young person visiting a public library should be inspired by an exciting environment which makes reading for pleasure irresistible and every school has access to a high quality school library service.

The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For further information please visit


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