'Help My Kid Learn' Website

A new website for parents called Help My Kid Learn was launched recently by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. This simple website brings together relevant information for parents and the wider community to support children’s literacy and numeracy development.

Help My Kid Learn

Favourite stories for 18th-century children

Robinson CrusoeWe all have our favourite books from childhood: fairy tales, Alice in wonderland, Paddington bear, Where the wild things are, The railway children, Matilda, The secret garden, The wind in the willows, Gulliver’s travels and Robinson Crusoe. These books affected us profoundly and maybe even changed our lives. But suppose we grew up in the 18th century, what could we have read? We would have had Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Gulliver’s travels (1726), in versions specially geared towards children, with simplified language and pictures. Fairy tales excited and terrified children then as now, and created fantasy worlds that adults did not always approve of.

CILIP Carnegie Greenaway Shortlist Announced Today!

CILIP Carnegie AwardThe CILIP Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenway Medal shortlists for 2013 have just been announced and the former includes award winning Irish writer of both adult and children's books, Roddy Doyle. 

The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919). Carnegie set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world. The Award is the oldest accolade for children's writing in the UK.

The Carnegie Medal shortlist is as follows (with links to library catalogue where title is in stock):

Dublin's Reading The Nightmare Club: We Dare You to Join!

This is a city-wide children's reading promotion in conjunction with UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Public Libraries and Little Island publishers and takes place from mid- January to mid-March 2013. We are asking children all over Dublin to join Annie Graves’ Nightmare Club by reading the short scary stories in the Nightmare Club series.

Nightmare Club. Image: Jason Clarke
Image: Jason Clarke

Christmas Holidays - time to curl up with a book...

I love the long, warm, bright summer evenings - but the long, chilly, dark winter evenings have their charms too, as long as I have something good to read. The girls in my house have stored up some special reads for those lazy days between Christmas and New Year. We've had to banish the chosen books from sight so we're not tempted to start reading immediately - there lies grave danger of no present buying, pudding making, tree trimming or other essential ingredients of Christmas.

Brilliant Mid-term Reads from Book Festival Authors

Children's Book Festival PosterDark days, and even darker nights - autumn is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. You might already have a toppling pile of books beside the bed, or sitting on a bookshelf just waiting for you to pick them up and bring the story to life by opening that first page. But if you are finished everything interesting in your 'to read' pile and are looking for a good book to keep you company over this mid-term break, perhaps you will find inspiration in the work of some of the authors who have been visiting Dublin City Libraries during October for Children's Book Festival. Some, like Judi Curtin are very well-known and don't need any introduction from me, while others, like Michael Carroll, who writes science fiction / fantasy novels, are less well-known, but equally engaging writers.

If you were lucky enough to be at Cabra Library or Drumcondra Library to meet popular author Judi Curtin, you will have heard all about how she started writing and how moving schools often as a child helped her become observant and made sure she always had good stories to tell. Judi's most recent book is 'Leave it to Eva' the third book in the 'Eva' series. There are seven books in Judi's earlier 'Alice and Megan' series, as well as a cookbook, so no need to run out of your favourite reads.

Grimm on Film - new versions from Germany

Snow WhiteDuring Culture Night 2012 the Goethe-Institut Irland gave Dubliners the opportunity to see new film versions of Grimms' Fairy Tales - shot on location in Germany in old castles, monasteries and forts and starring well known German film and television actors. Now, both Rathmines Library and Cabra Library can offer the same opportunity to their patrons with screenings of three of the most well-known titles during the mid-term break, between Tuesday 30th October and Friday 2nd November.

The films follow the original stories as collected by the Brothers Grimm and retain many elements that have been lost in up-dated or shortened versions - for example, the Wicked Queen in Schneewitchen (or Snow White as it is known in English) tries to kill Snow White three times, first with a belt that tightens around her waist, next with a poisoned comb for her hair, before hitting on the (almost) successful plan of tempting her with a poisoned apple. The real castle setting in Dornroschen (Sleeping Beauty) lends an authenticity to the tale - which turns it into a charming love story. In Rapunzel, there is plenty of background on how the young girl with the fabulously long hair came to be shut up in the tower - though the film doesn't quite go into how she notices her dress getting tighter after the secret visits from the Prince, as told in the original story. Perhaps he was bringing her chocolates?

Madagascar 3 Competition!

Madagascar 3 competition in the Central Library, Ilac Centre, Dublin City Centre.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Open to all children up to 13 years.

All children have to do is answer 4 easy questions about the animated movie "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" on the Question & Answer Sheet provided and furnish their contact details. The Question & Answer Sheet is available at the Junior Library desk; completed sheets should be handed in at the same desk.

Competition closes on 31st October 2012.

DreamWorks Animation Present – “Madagascar 3: “Europe’s Most Wanted”. Released in Cinemas October 19, 2012, with paid reviews October 13/14.

Once Upon a Time

Fairy Tales from the Brothers GrimmAt a lecture on children’s literature some years ago, the speaker asked his audience to turn to the person on their right and tell them the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Most of us were getting along quite well – red hood - little girl on the way to her grandmothers’ house - don’t stray from the path -  big bad wolf.  As we got closer to the end of the story, hesitations and deviations began to creep in. Did the wolf eat the grandmother and the little girl? Were they rescued by the woodcutter/huntsman or did Little Red Riding Hood trick the wolf so that he ends up in the boiling pot on the fire – or was he cut open and filled with stones?

The reason for our confusion is of course that there are so many variants of the story. Based on folk tales and myths of werewolves which were common in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, the tale evolved through oral history, Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm to become a warning tale in a more sanitized form than the originals.

Message in a Bottle - Short Story Competition

Dublin City Public Libraries welcomed the Tall Ships to Dublin with our nautical-themed 'Message in a Bottle 'competition and would like to thank all the children who entered. We had many great stories submitted in all our branch libraries and beyond. It was no easy job to choose the winners!

Messgae in a Bottle