THE search for Southampton’s favourite family read has begun. Southampton’s Favourite Book to Share Award has been officially launched and is aimed at encouraging families to enjoy books together.

The competition, which is run by Southampton City Council’s Library Services, is designed to particularly encourage mums, dads and carers to enjoy a good read with children under the age of five.

Alison Biczysko, Manager of Library Services to Children and Young people, said: “Southampton’s is the only award for children’s books in the country that looks at the value of a book to share between adult and child, and makes the award according to the number of parents and children’s votes.

“It is an excellent way of encouraging family reading, and we have a very strong short list this year. It will be interesting to see which comes out on top.”

This is the eighth year running that parents, carers and youngsters have been asked to select their favourite from a collection of six top children’s titles.

Copies of each of the colourful tales will be available at all of the city’s libraries, along with voting slips, from the beginning of May.

Staff from Library Services will also be visiting parent and toddler groups across the city to help them to check out the competition.

Parents, carers and children have until the end of August to register their vote and every entrant will qualify for the chance to win copies of all six books.

Last year’s winner was the Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt who will be collecting his award in July.

Last year’s award attracted over 4,000 votes from families in the city.

The author and illustrator of this year’s favourite book will be announced in the autumn.