Marvin, Mayor of Bristol reads ‘You Can’ for National Read A Book Day.

Hi everyone, I’m outside Bristol Central Library, which dates back to 1906, a place for reading and learning right in the heart of Bristol. We are here to recognise and congratulate all those people who took part in the Summer Reading Challenge 2021. I have got a brochure here, ‘Wild World Heroes’.

Thank you also to all the publishers who contributed their work. Let’s have a look inside.

This is a fantastic part of the library: the children’s section.

We have got an amazing pirate ship behind us and I’ve got this book. It is called ‘You Can’. I want to give big thanks to Alexandra Strick, the author, and Steve Antony, the illustrator.

So let’s get into the book, You Can.

You can be brave, be beautiful, be clever, be strong. You can explore new worlds. Make amazing discoveries. Love a good picture book, whatever your age. Do things together or alone.

You can see there is a group here and a solitary child there.

You can discover what brings you happiness. Know it’s OK to be sad or angry. Talk about how you feel. You can dress up, paint yourself, dance and be silly. Follow the crowd or lead the way. Dream big. You can overcome your fears, challenge yourself, surprise others, surprise yourself. Do things you couldn’t do yesterday.

There is an amazing picture of a girl swimming with a dolphin down here.

You can enjoy learning, take your time, learn a different language, have fun practising something. Head stands, basketball, tying a tie, spinning a ball, skipping, hula hoop – lots of practising going on here.

You can do something big, do something small. Inspire and encourage others. Stand up for what you believe in, save the planet. Make a difference.

You can know you have the right to be treated fairly. The right to be listened to. The right to feel safe and the right to be respected. You can push yourself. Do almost anything anyone else can do even if you have to do it differently.

Come first, last or anywhere in between. Just give it a go. You can find friendships in surprising places. Be proud to be a good friend. Be happy for others. You can make new resolutions whenever you like. Make mistakes and learn from them. Forgive others and yourself.

You can miss someone, have bad days, ask a grown up for help. Share happy moments, look forward to tomorrow. You can be determined to reach your goals, refuse to be put in a box, find your own way, support each other, love and be loved. You can believe in yourself, be the best you can, be kind, be brilliant, be you.

An amazing book, again thank you to the authors. It is really important to think about that actually, particularly as so many of you now and our children are going back to school, after a really challenging period of time. Just remember you can.

Listen to a story all about how ‘You Can’.

Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, is at Central Library ready to read you the perfect back-to-school book for national Read A Book Day (6 September 2021).

Marvin would also like to congratulate all of you who took part in the ‘Wild World Heroes’ Summer Reading Challenge. Well done!

‘You Can’ is written by Alexandra Strick and illustrated by Steve Antony, and will be published by Otter-Barry Books in October 2021.