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Picks of 2011, Children's and Teen

There are no cats in the bookPart 3 of my three part comments on my own reading during 2011.  Non-Fiction was the first in the series with Adult Fiction second. This is my Children's and Young Adult or Teen reads.  Some great fantasy is being published in the Teen section and I do enjoy the reads.

I read a lot of books over the last year, approximately 290 of which I noted from the library.

Of all the books I read from the library some stood out, I couldn't pick a small number but I'm going to put them into themes and pick the best of that theme.  Sometimes it's hard to pick just one, the first listed is my favourite, the rest are in no particular order.  This isn't a definitive list, it's a list of books that are readable alone or are the start of a series, that I read during 2011, that stood out above the others and that I would recommend to others.

Harry Potter, Dublin style!

Children Save DublinDublin City Public Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature today, Tuesday 17th January, launched 'Children Save Dublin', the city’s first ever children’s citywide reading project.

Similar to the highly successful Dublin: One City One Book festival, but aimed at children from 4th and 5th classes, children across Dublin will be encouraged to read, talk about and have fun with the same book over January, February and March 2012.

Graffiti - Art or Vandalism?

Graffiti posterUsing a variety of drama and visual arts programmes, young people from many areas of Dublin City will work with professional artists and writers to explore the question ‘Graffiti – Art or Vandalism?’.

This programme of activities, presented by Dublin City Public Libraries, is aimed at educating children, whilst encouraging them to comment creatively on the social conditions in which they find themselves.

Seventeen libraries will participate in this ambitious public programme throughout the Autumn / Winter of 2011 and Spring 2012, using a broad range of learning strategies to deliver this very important message.

A Winning Night at Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards

     Irish Book Awards  Ireland's 'glitterati' came out in force last night at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards Ceremony in the Concert Hall of the RDS. In a night when Seamus Heaney received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by fellow poet Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, it would be easier to say who wasn't there, than who was - even former US President Bill Clinton appeared in a pre-recorded tribute to 'one of the world's favourite poets'.

The Irish Book Award winners are voted on by the public and the various categories were hotly contested. All winning and shortlisted books are available to borrow from Dublin City Public Libraries. Winners on the night were;

Glasnevin hosts ghostly launch

If you were passing the gates of Glasnevin Cemetery on Wednesday 26th October at about 6.30pm you'd be forgiven for thinking that ghosts were walking. Just as the moon rose eerily over the O'Connell monument, giving it an alien sheen against the darkening sky, small creatures with strange faces and stranger shapes moved through the famous 'Dead Centre of Dublin' and disappeared into the doors of the new Museum building.

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!

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