BLOG TOUR COMING! Leo's War by Patricia Murphy

Good morning everyone. Just to give you a quick heads-up, starting on the 25th of August, there will be a wonderful blog tour featuring the newest addition to the Hands On History series published by Poolbeg Press. Leo's War by Patricia Murphy is the incredible story based on the activities of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty (also known as "The Pimpernel of the Vatican") and the Rome Escape Line during the Nazi occupation of Italy in WWII.  Our hero is a young Irish boy, Leo, living in Italy at the time. When his mother is taken by the Nazis, Leo finds himself hiding out in the Vatican, under the protection of Monsignor O'Flaherty and quickly becomes ensconced in daring, sometimes deadly efforts to escape the Nazis' horrific regime. But enough! Don't want to spoil to the tour for anyone!

As you can see, there are quite a number of exciting blog events happening around this exciting new book. Fallen Star Stories' offering, a review of Leo's War and an in…


Today marks the 104th birthday of Tove Jansson; Swedish-speaking Finnish author, novelist, artist, illustrator, comic strip author and creator of the Moomins.
The first Moomin book, The Moomins and the Great Flood was published during World War II in 1945. Jansson said the war depressed her a great deal and she wanted something innocent and joyful. While The Moomins and the Great Flood practically escaped all notice, her second Moomin book, Comet in Moominland was published in 1946, followed by Finn Family Moomintroll in 1948, which sold well and gathered critical acclaim, making her famous. Jansson published 6 more Moomin books, as well as a number of picture books and comics. In 1966, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing. By this time, in parts of the world, Moomins were a household name.
So...what are Moomins? Well, they are a family of troll-type creatures, generally speaking furry and snow-white in appearance; round and cuddly (if you know them well enou…

Fallen Star Stories: Books of the Month: August 2018

For so many years, I was involved in choosing a "Book of the Month"; books that are deemed must-reads among the many released every month. It was always a very difficult choice to make, but much appreciated by customers who didn't really know what to choose.
I asked myself, why not do this on Fallen Star Stories?
For August 2018, here are my choices; The Storm Keepers Island by Catherine Doyle, published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books; Molly and the Stormy Sea by Malachy Doyle, illustrations by Andrew Whitson, published by Graffeg Limited; Knights and Bikes by Gabrielle Kent, illustrated by Rex Crowle& Luke Newell, published by Knights Of... and Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham, published by Walker Books.
All of these are new out this summer and are reviewed on the review pages of this blog.

Picture Books in Summer

Picture books are perhaps the most important books in your childs' life. These bright, colourful stories expose a child to new ideas, people and places, while introducing them to art and creativity. And with summer truly upon us now, whether staying at home or traveling, make sure you have a load of picture books at hand to inspire creative play, add thrills and adventure and for those quiet times when you all just need to relax. (as you can see, LB has a difficult time deciding what to read next. Fortunately, I've made sure he's spoilt for choice.) It's important to have old favourites, as well something exciting and new.
New out and filled with adventure!
Julia Donaldson always delights with each and every new book.
This summer, The Cook and the King (ISBN: 9781509813773, Macmillan Children's Books) has all the hallmarks of another Donaldson classic. Illustrated by David Roberts, this is the story of a very demanding king and his new, very nervous chef, Wobbly Bo…

The Rights of the Reader

Summer is here and we do encourage summer reading with numerous incentives and programmes. It is important for children (of all ages) to 'keep their reading up' outside of school time. This is the time when kids develop their own taste in books and can be free to read books of their own choosing. And this is the single most important factor in young people developing a lifelong reading habit.
But how do we, as the 'gatekeepers' of kids reading, encourage them properly without running the risk of thrusting pressure and our own ideas on them? Do that and you'll run the risk of pushing them away from reading, and there are already so many distractions for the young reader to contend with that can tempt them elsewhere.
In 1992, French writer Daniel Pennac originally published this little gem of a book; The Rights of the Reader. I highly recommend it. It was conceived out of his experiences teaching students in "challenging" schools, where perhaps reading was…

Great Escapes: Summer Reads for Teens/YA

Summer is the perfect time for some great escapes. And what better way to escape than through some fantastic reading material. You can dip yourself in to someone elses' life, fast-forward into a future that may or may not be or take a roller-coaster ride into a great mystery or crime novel. Need a few suggestions to get you started? Here we go!
In The Angelica Touch by LJ Sedgewick (Janey Mac Books ISBN: 9780995702721), we meet 14-year-old Angelica, who has decided that before she can have a boyfriend, she must find one for her hotel manager mum, Molly. Her solution is to create an online dating website and set up a profile for Molly herself. What could possibly go wrong? A hilarious and poignant story that involves the internet world, a small dreary Donegal town, a match-making festival to rival all others and some really big surprises for Angelica.
Who hasn't dreamed of running away to join the circus? Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain (Walker Books ISBN…

Time For Some Summer Adventure

Looking for some great recommendations for summer reading? You are not alone. This is the time of year when kids everywhere can put down the 'required reading' and reach for some excitement and imagination.  No one wants to hear 'I'm bored!' or 'There's nothing to do!' and of course, as long as you have a really good book, that isn't going to happen. You can read what you want and meet new people; go to new places, even if you aren't traveling far. Anyway, here are some of my very best recommendations of the 'middle grade' variety that are bound to keep everyone happy.
If you think you need more witches in your life, you can't do better than Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan (Walker Books, ISBN 9781406366020). It's the first in what promises to be the very best magical trilogy (The Wild Magic trilogy) I have seen in a long, long time. And it is an adventure of a lifetime! Mup notices there are witches following her fam…