Thanks for bearing with us as we work to resolve teething problems with our new online system. Your library service now has its own online catalogue where you can search and reserve items and log in and manage your account. The online catalogue for Dublin City members is https://dublincity.spydus.ie
With the whole world feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it is really heartening to see the response of those involved in the world of children's books. Many award-winning authors and picture-book makers are using their talents to bring a little bit of fun into the lives of their many fans and there are some lovely gestures, challenges and competitions from authors, illustrators and publishers alike.Author of the hilarious Pigeon series of books (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay up Late etc.), Mo Willems has been doing an online illustration class every weekday called Lunchtime Doodle.Irish author Oliver Jeffers is reading one of his beautiful picture books every weekday on Instagram and uploading them to his website.Rob Biddulph, Official World Book Day Illustrator and author of several stunning picture books (including Kevin, Odd Dog Out and the Dinosaur Juniors Series) is doing live drawing lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am. Children can upload their efforts with the hashtag #DrawWithRob and tag Rob on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. His social media details and this week's lessons are available on his website.The inimitable Sarah Webb, in association with the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), is filming a series of daily writing games and challenges called ‘Creative Bursts’ for children aged from approximately 9+ (or younger with adult assistance).The wonderful new podcast series We Love Books has snagged author and raconteur Dave Rudden as their resident writer to help aspiring young writers with their entries for an exciting writing competition for 3rd to 6th class pupils. Armed with writing tips from the author of Knights of the Borrowed Dark swords will definitely be drawn to fight it out for the titles and prizes.Irish comic book artist Will Sliney (who has drawn Spiderman for Marvel and more recently worked on the Star Wars comics series) is posting pictures of superheroes for children to colour in, encouraging them to draw their favourite characters and offering praise to aspiring artists. @WillSliney on Twitter and William Sliney on Facebook and use the hashtag #WeWillDrawAnd Irish publishers are joining in too. Irish Educational publishers CJ Fallon have very kindly offered free access to their e-books from now until the end of term, a gesture that should be very well received by parents up and down the country.The O'Brien Press, in association with Children's Books Ireland, are running a Design-a-Cover competition and the winner will see their artwork on the cover of a new edition of Gordon Snell's The Supermarket Ghost.And if you need a break after all that interaction why not grab some alone-time on our Tumble Books e-book resource featuring hundreds of animated, talking e-books which are free to library members. Also keep an eye out on Twitter @dubcilib and Facebook @DublinCityLibrares for #Springintostorytime where we showcase one Tumble book a day.Be sure to check out Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo by ES Redmond for a salutary warning about coughs and sneezes! Stay safe everyone.
We decided to kick off our new series of regular blog posts on individual authors by putting the spotlight on that most prolific and popular of children's authors, Michael Morpurgo. A decision heavily influenced I might add by Michael's presence in Ireland right now to attend a big family event in the Concert Hall in Cork this evening. Michael could be heard on RTE radio's 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show yesterday morning when he was interviewed by Claire Byrne. If you missed it, you can listen to the interview online (c.16 minutes in length).Right: Michael Morpurgo (Source) Michael is also in the news for another reason right now, his book 'Listen to the Moon' (Category: Older Fiction) having just been shortlisted The Children’s Book Award (UK) 2016. You can read here our post on the shortlist announcement. Michael has already won this award three times, the Award's uniqueness being that the winner (and shortlist) is selected by younger readers. This surely is testament, if it were needed, to the popularity of Michael Morpurgo amongst younger readers.Michael's latest book 'An Eagle in the Snow', (Category: Older Fiction) just published, is based on a supposedly true account of a young soldier's chance encounter with Adolf Hitler during World War One. Story has it that during a battle towards the end of the war, Henry Tandey, who went on to become the most decorated British soldier of WW1, told this young German soldier who wandered into his line of fire to go home, he having seen enough killing at that point. The young German soldier supposedly being none other than Adolf Hitler! Hitler apparently recounted in 1935 an episode where a British soldier during WW1 did not take the opportunity to shoot him but instead let him. Thus the story grew, as it did so the line between fact and fiction became rather blurred, to the point today where a degree of uncertainty exists as to its accuracy. In this novel Michael joins together some of the dots to deliver a great fictionalised account of the supposed event. As Michael says, his book is suitable for those aged '8 to 98'. Michael has authored over 100 books, many of which tackle social issues, one such being 'Out of the Ashes' (2001) (Category: Older Fiction), which is about the foot and mouth crisis. This book was adapted for television, as was 'My Friend Walter' (1988) (Category: Older Fiction), a book with a rather different, ghostly, theme. Some have also been turned into film, including 'Why the Whales Came' (1985) (Category: Older Fiction), which stars Helen Mirren; and 'King of the Cloud Forests' (1987) (Category: Older Fiction), a short (30 minute) film which won France's Cercle D'Or Prix Sorciere. And who of course hasn't heard of 'War Horse'?'War Horse' (1982) (Category: Older Fiction), like many of Michael's books has a war theme, and had huge success as both a book and a play before ever appearing as the 2011 box-office success directed by Steven Spielberg. Another with a war theme is 'King of the Cloud Forests', mentioned earlier, where Ashley and Uncle Sung embark on a perilous journey across the Himalayas as they flee the Japanese invasion of China in WW2.Award winning titles, there are many. To name but a few: 'The Wreck of the Zanzibar' (1995) (Category: Older Fiction), telling the story of 14-year-old Laura on one of the Scilly Isles, won the 1995 Whitbread Children's Book Award; 'The Butterfly Lion' (1996) (Category: Younger Fiction), telling the story of a young boy who rescues an orphaned lion club from the African bush, won the 1996 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (Gold Award); and 'Private Peaceful' (Category: Older Fiction), the story of a soldier who is looking back on his life from the trenches of World War I, winning the 2005 Blue Peter Book of the Year Award amongst others. 'Listen to the Moon', mentioned earlier, was also shortlisted for the 2014 Costa Children's Book Award.Michael Morpurgo was born in Hertfordshire (UK) in 1943. He spent a brief period in the army, after which he took up teaching and writing. He gave up teaching after ten years in order to set up 'Farms for City Children' with his wife. He and his wife were awarded an MBE for services to youth in 1999 for this work with inner city children. In 2003 he became the third Children’s Laureate, and he was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to literature.Visit Michael Morpurgo's website.Spotlight by: Eddie Byrne