children

Ireland nominates Conor Kostick for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize

Conor Kostick photo by Mark GrenierAuthor Conor Kostick has just been nominated by Ireland for the prestigious international award The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 'It's very flattering', Conor told me when I met up with him on one of his visits to Cabra Library to meet young readers. 'I'm really proud of the honour and very proud of the association with Astrid Lindgren herself. In Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren created one of the most delightfully irreverent and independent characters in children's literature; this creation was connected to the fact that Astrid Lindgren herself was a radical humanist and opponent of violence. There is a humanist philosophy at work in my books and maybe they (the nominating bodies) picked up on that. I'm extremely proud to be associated with her legacy.'

Curious Ear and curious ear...

book cover taking sidesNo, this post hasn't anything to do with Alice in Wonderland - I just couldn't resist the lame pun (I'm a tabloid sub-editor in an alternative life). The 'curious ear' I refer to is the RTE radio programme The Curious Ear, part of RTE radio's Documentary on One. The Curious Ear team were at the Central Library on Monday 10th October to record a visit by Irish children's author Brian Gallagher and his young readers and listeners. Brian has just published his second historical novel for young readers, 'Taking Sides' set in Dublin during the Civil War. The book is an exciting read, following the fortunes of a group of young friends, as they get caught up in a Civil War that tears families and a country apart.

Everyone remembers their last summer of Primary School

The Unforgotten Coat

A tear wells in my right eye, spills over and rolls slowly down my cheek. I can't help it. As it drips off my chin I sigh with satisfaction and close over the last page of 'The Unforgotten Coat' by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I read this book in one sitting, and I challenge anyone to put it down once begun. 'The Unforgotten Coat' was commissioned for the Reader's Organisation 'Our Read' programme in the United Kingdom and was inspired by a true story of refugees, immigration and deportation. 

Reader-in-Residence Appointed!

Dublin City Public Libraries, in association with the Home School Community Liaison Scheme, has appointed Sarah Purcell as Reader-in-Residence. Sarah takes up her Residency this September for a nine-month period and will deliver a programme of activities designed to instil in young children an appreciation and love of reading which, at the same time, will give parents/guardians an awareness of the positive value of literacy, books and reading in their children’s development. The programme will include opportunities for parents and children to explore and enjoy reading and other literacy activities together.

Authentic Irish Voices in Novels for Teens

The Real RebeccaIn my earlier blog posts I've mentioned the amazing talent Ireland is producing in illustrators and picturebook creators - but recently I've also noticed that Irish authors are writing very interesting books for older children and teenagers. In fact, you could do worse than have a read of them yourself - even if it's a long, long time since you were a teenager!

'The Real Rebecca' by first time author Anna Carey, is a light-hearted tale of a real Dublin schoolgirl, Rebecca, whose otherwise ordinary life is made miserable when her mother (more mortifying than most, it seems) writes a book about a cringe-inducing teenager and claims that Rebecca is the inspiration! I enjoyed every minute of Rebecca's predicament, then doubly enjoyed giving it to my daughter to read, to prove that I'm not the most embarrassing mother in creation - not be a long shot!

Designing Together

On the 28th June, 2011, students from 5th class, St. Gabriel's National School, shared their aspirations for Ballyfermot Library with the local community in a Sneak Peek Day.

Students showcased the prototypes of their ideas, which were developed at series of workshops with the designer Ré Dubhthaigh and architect Maxim Laroussi as part of the Designing Together programme.

Designing Together is a collaborative initiative between Dublin City Public Libraries, Dublin City Architects, local schools and designers.

iFestival at the Central Library

iFestivalThe annual iFestival will be held in the Central Library, Ilac Centre from the 10th to the 30th of June 2011. This interactive exhibition will showcase the highly innovative ICT and multimedia projects undertaken by pupils in primary and secondary schools, as well as young people from community centres in Dublin's inner city. The festival, involving the work of 800 young people, will be launched in the Central Library on Friday June 10th at 12pm.

Projects will include comic making, animation, robotic lego, podcasting, computer games and multimedia. Prizes are awarded for the best entry in each category. The projects represent the culmination of a year's work by these young pupils, their teachers and facilitators under the CLIC programme - the Computer learning in Communities programme, run by the DIT Foundation. The programme co-ordinator is Ian Roller. This initiative encourages teachers to integrate information technology into the curriculum not only to enhance their IT skills but also to make learning fun and enjoyable. Students involved have shown an improvement in attendance at school as well as increased concentration and motivation. The CLiC programme is just one aspect of the DIT Community Links programme whose main objective is to alleviate educational disadvantage and to allow individuals to reach their maximum potential.

May is Busy Month for Childrens Book People

October is the month for Children's Book Festival, and Christmas is the time most children's books are bought, but May is shaping up to be the busiest month in the calendar for people interested in books for children and young people - at least in Ireland - it's been a whirl of award ceremonies, book launches and 'talking heads' events and I've been lucky enough to attend many of them. I'm even getting used to seeing lollipops served alongside the wine - though I haven't tried that mixture yet!

It started with the announcement of the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards in the National Library on 16th - which I've already blogged about - congratulations again to Chris Haughton for winning the overall award with 'A Bit Lost' and to Sheena Wilkinson for receiving the Children's Choice award for her novel 'Taking Flight'. Sheena also gets the prettiest coat award for her lovely floral affair - sorry I don't have a picture!

'A Bit Lost' named Bisto Book of the Year 2011

A Bit Lost'A Bit Lost' by Chris Haughton was named Bisto Book of the Year 2011 yesterday (May 16th) at a ceremony in the National Library. I had tipped Kevin Waldron's 'Tiny Little Fly' as a winner - so just as well I didn't put money on the results! My tip lost out to a very worthy winner - first time picturebook author and illustrator Chris Haughton, who received his award from Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Chris, from Dublin, is flying high, having only last week heard that 'A Bit Lost' was named 'Dutch Picturebook of the Year', he was also named in March as one of the U.K.'s '10 Best New Illustrators' by Book Trust. 'A Bit Lost', was also awarded the Éilís Dillon Award for best debut book for children - apparently this is the first time in the twenty-one year history of the Bisto Awards that the same book has won both awards. Interestingly, 'A Bit Lost' was first published in Korea by Borim Press, where Chris was living at the time, and is now published in English by Walker Books.

Ballymun students 'shadow' the Bisto Book Award judges.

Bisto Book of the Year logo

Several students from Trinity Comprehensive School in the North Dublin suburb of Ballymun have been 'shadowing' the Bisto Book of the Year Award. This involves reading books from the 2011 shortlist, judging them on the writing and illustrations and then voting for their favourites.

The Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards, in partnership with Children's Books Ireland, are the leading annual children's book awards in Ireland.

The members of the Book Club in Trinity Comprehensive in Ballymun have been reading their way through the shortlist of ten titles.

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