More than seven thousand copies of the same book have been given away free to Manchester youngsters in their final year of primary school to help prepare them for starting high school in September and keep them reading over summer.
Before they left school every child in Year 6 at primary schools across the city was given a copy of 'The Kid Who Came From Space' (HarperCollins Children's Books) by award-winning author Ross Welford.
The big book giveaway also included a special workbook for every child full of fun, practical activities and challenges related to the book, as part of a shared learning project for pupils as they make the move from primary school.
It's the second year the city-wide reading project has taken place and it's hoped that giving each child in Year 6 the same book as they leave primary school will help establish some common ground between pupils and help them with their move up to big school, which can be a difficult time for some.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said: "Last year's project was a great success with pupils and with teachers. We're hoping that every child who has just left Year 6 will join in once again this year and enjoy the shared experience of reading the same book as their friends, and hopefully make some new friends along the way when they join their new high schools."
The book was a great hit with staff and pupils at St John Bosco Primary School, in Blackley.
Maggie Johnson, Headteacher, St John Bosco Primary School, said: "Studying "The Kid Who Came From Space," as a transition read is a brilliant idea. By giving the children a shared learning experience which they can have informed conversations about when they meet in September, we're giving them the chance to start their relationships at high school on the right foot."
Welford's book is a science fiction adventure full of humour and compassion, which celebrates the joy of friendship and love, with an underlying message of always striving to do your best.
Author Ross Welford said: “I’m delighted that Year 6 children across Manchester will get the chance to read my book as part of Read Manchester’s Big Read project. Moving up to secondary school is a truly exciting milestone for children, and I’m so pleased that my book will be accompanying them.
"This has been a horribly tough year for everybody and I hope the story will bring them the chance to build new friendships in the new school year."