children's books

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

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.

do1thing Read a Book

The Unfirgotten CoatThe do1thing campaign encourages us to read a book about the refugee experience. One of the best children's (or adult's) books on the subject is 'The Unforgotten Coat' by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I wrote a story here on the blog on a previous occasion highlighting the UNHCR do1thing campaign, which again this year is taking place in libraries across the country, starting June 18th. 

'The Unforgotten Coat' is available in every branch library in Dublin City - check the link for availability - or call in to your local library - it's a brilliant read! As promised in my previous story, Frank Cottrell Boyce did indeed visit Dublin last October as part of the Children's Book Festival 2011.

'A Monster Calls' - double award winning book that everyone should read.

It's being billed as 'an historic moment in children's literature', as Patrick Ness wins the CILIP Carnegie Medal for his novel 'A Monster Calls' (Walker Books). Patrick also won last year for 'Monsters of Men' the third book in his 'Chaos Walking' trilogy (a feat only achieved once before by Peter Dickinson in 1979/80). Uniquely, 'A Monster Calls' has also been awarded the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration - the prize going to Jim Kay for his haunting illustrations that perfectly match the mood and subject of the novel.

Book Cover and Author Photograph L.- R. Patrick Ness & Jim Kay  book cover and illustrator photograph

As a huge fan of this book myself, I set my Book Club to reading it some months ago. They are an open-minded group and accepted my recommendation of this 'children's book' with good grace. Any expectations they had harboured of an 'easy read' were soon abandoned as they became engrossed in this challenging and emotionally mature exploration of grief, bereavement, fear and the consolations of family relationships that are 'good enough'. The overall verdict from our Book Club? - 'Everyone should read this book.' Seems like the CILIP judging panel agreed.

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Where the Wild Things areMy daughter texted me yesterday...'Maurice Sendak died!'. If she had been at home we would probably have re-read Sendak's classic 'Where the Wild Things Are' and acted out a 'Wild Rumpus' for old times sake. She might even have donned a variation of a wolf suit (as a child she dressed for half a year as Robin Hood and another half a year as Batman, so she has form). Instead, we made do with watching YouTube clips and following #wildrumpus on Twitter.

Britannica Titanica!

Story of the TitanicFor our younger library visitors, coming soon to our shelves is 'Story of the Titanic' (illustrations by Steve Noon, published by Dorling Kindersley, 2012). This is the tragic story of the Titanic, with double-page illustrations, cross-sections and cutaway details explaining the construction and mechanical details of the ship and revealing life on board for passengers and crew.

You can also locate other books in our libraries on the Titanic.

Encyclopaedia Britannica this month brings the topic of the Titanic to life with its latest spotlight. To mark the 100th anniversary, primary school children can explore both the triumph and the tragedy of this great vessel.

Storytelling to toddlers

Toot, TootProviding a story time session to toddlers can be a challenge. I have hosted a weekly storytelling session for many years and I am still learning and looking for suggestions on what makes a successful and fun event. Currently, my plan for the 20 minute storytelling session consists of 4 rhymes, followed by 4 stories and ending with a song. The song usually is the Wheels on the Bus, I know this is old hat but children love it and do participate in the singing and actions.

Last week I had a “hen” theme. I found a sung version of Chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck, good morning Mrs. Hen on a CD and this got everyone in a happy clucky mood, followed by Hickety, Pickety, my black hen; then One, two, buckle my shoe (it does end with a big fat hen!); and I’m a little birdie (adapted from I’m a Little Teapot). The stories told were 'Handa’s Hen' (Walker Big Book size ensures everyone can see the pictures); 'Rosie’s Walk'; 'The Little Red Hen'; 'Old Mac Donald' and to end there was a hen on the bus in the Wheels on the Bus song! Old favourites such as Incy Wincy Spider; If you’re Happy and you know it always get a good reaction. Rhymes such as 5 Little Monkeys jumping on the bed or 5 Little Monkeys swinging on a tree are really popular.

The Reading Room - what would you put in?

Have you ever speculated which books you would bring with you to a desert island? (I've always thought that should be 'deserted' not 'desert' but perhaps it's an obscure grammar point I don't get?) As part of the Re Think + Re Act Exhibition, Pivot Dublin have set up a Reading Room in Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin. They invited readers in Dublin to submit their favourite book to be displayed in the Reading Room during the exhibition. 

My choice? 

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.

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