children's books

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. 

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!

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.

[UPDATED] Five Picturebooks on Bisto Book of the Year Shortlist

Bisto Children's Book of the Year

[UPDATE] Since this post was written I have learned that Chris Haughton's wonderful picturebook 'A Bit Lost' has won the Dutch Picturebook of the Year Award. 

When the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Shortlist was announced recently I was delighted to see five quality picturebooks by Irish artists; two by multi award winning Oliver Jeffers ('Up and Down' and 'The Heart and the Bottle'), two by newcomer Kevin Waldron ('The Owl and the Pussycat' and 'Tiny Little Fly') and one by first-timer Chris Haughton ('A Bit Lost'). Between them they showcase the strong contribution Irish artists are making to the modern picturebook.

POTTER MANIA!!!!!

Harry Potter DVDsWith the release of the final Harry Potter movie this summer (on July 15 for those who are counting the days like me!!), and the release of the latest Harry Potter movie on DVD, it’s never too late to become a Harry Potter fan, (or like me read all the stories again in preparation for the film!)All seven Harry Potter novels and DVDs are available to borrow in Dublin City Public Libraries or you can reserve them online using your borrower number and pin number. Your borrower number is on your library card and if you do not have a pin number you can get it at your local Dublin City Public Library.

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