My Best Books of 2018 - Part One

This has been another fantastic year for the publication of childrens' books; so many great titles, new authors and even a few new publishers have presented themselves. It is a very difficult task to decide which of these new books are 'the best'. I've toiled over my stacks (many, many stacks) and looked back over the reviews and I think I've come up with quite a satisfactory list. I'm sure when I finish this I will want to add more, but you have to stop somewhere....
You may be wondering how I decide what makes a book a 'Best Book'. What do I look for?  After many years as a childrens' book specialist, selling, reading and talking about books to children of all ages, raising readers of my own and spoiling grandchildren with books, I do have some criteria in mind. And yes, I do read them myself, from beginning to end. I look for those books that really pull me into the story, well-written and with well-drawn characters that elicit an emotional resp…

Blog Tour: The Christmas Play Rehearsal!

I am always delighted to hop on the Blog Tour bus and Rachel's Random Resources has a plethora of blog tours to excite and interest everyone!  Today we have a truly delightful picturebook that highlights one of the special events in the school calendar...the Christmas play. Every child knows the excitement of taking part. And every teacher knows the joy and chaos it brings into the classroom life. And with nearly every school about to go on stage, it's a great introduction for the kids. So here it is: THE CHRISTMAS PLAY REHEARSAL author: Sue Wickstead illustrator: Helen Smith Sue Wickstead (December 2018) ISBN: 9780993073779 "It is Christmas time, and the school has been getting ready to perform their Nativity play. With lines learnt and songs to be sung, it is time for the dress rehearsal. The teacher knows there might be a few problems to sort out, but at least they will know what to improve on or change along the way." The Christmas Play always brings great excitement to…

Happy Jólabókaflód!

We are now in the heart of Icelands' Yuletide celebration of books and publishing. I am delighted to see more and more people in the wider world getting excited about Jólabókaflód! Let me give you a few tidbits of information about this wonderful expression of the joy of reading; a few things you may or may not know...but really worth looking at.
Did you know that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world? These books are, for the large part, published only during the Christmas season; well, from September onwards; "flooding" Iceland with a sea of new books. Hence, Jólabókaflód....Yule Book Flood.
These newly published books are listed in a yearly compilation catalog called "bókatíðindi",or "Book News". A copy of this is sent out to each and every household in Iceland for free. Then the planning and buying begins....
On Christmas Eve in Iceland, books are exchanged as gifts and the rest of the evening is spent readin…

Tis the Season!

Welcome December, with all your hustle and bustle; with your beautiful lights and warmth of spirit! Here, as every year on Fallen Star Stories, December also means one very exciting thing for's time for Mary's Advent Calendar of Books!
Once again, each day I will be choosing a book to post. It may be a Christmas book or a winter book or something reflecting the joy and wonder that I truly hope this time of year brings you. This is my wish for you....step out of the stress that inevitably comes with this time of year & have a read.
The page, Mary's Advent Calendar of Books is open....right about.....NOW!

Announcing...The BookElves18 Logo!

Just a quick post....
We are delighted to present our brand new, designed just for us....BOOKELVES18 logo. Isn't it fantastic?
This logo was designed by the wonderful Irish author/illustrator/designer Alan Nolan. He took the time out of his busy schedule to come up with this logo so that everyone can locate us and the BookElves18 can get our bookish message out there. I think it's fun, seasonal, original and intriguing.
Many, many thanks to Alan!
Alan, if you don't know already, is the author/illustrator of such great kids books as Death By Chocolate, Conor's Caveman  (my favourite of his books), Fintan's Fifteen, The Big Break Detectives Casebook and so many more. He's even the author of the 2019 World Book Day book for Ireland....
Sam Hannigan's Rock Star Granny! (all published by O'Brien Press, by the way...aren't they fab?)
So, if you are looking for the BookElves18 this season, just look for this brilliant logo and you're sure to find us. …

The BookElves Are Coming!

Every year at about this time, something truly magical happens. The BookElves appear! Throughout the year, they are working hard, gathering information, checking and double-checking, learning everything they can. Then, at the end of November, they emerge filled with excitement; ready, willing and able to bring you the very best books for children of all ages. So if you are looking for a special, lasting gift for that special young person in your life; if you have questions or need advice, call on the BookElves18. We know the book you’re looking for! It all kicks off 29 November! But where do I find these magical creatures you ask? You can find us  on Facebook @BookElves18 and on Twitter (#bookelves18) and Instagram @BookElves18. That simple! This year we are posting across three social media platforms to make it easier for everyone to find us, check out our recommendations and ask your kids books related questions. Just tag us or hashtag us and we'll be there. Also...this year t…

Real Heroes, Adventures and Wildlife!

As a bookseller, one thing I can tell you is that as we approach the holiday season, nonfiction and real life stories find their time to shine. I'm never quite sure why this is so. No other time of year sees so many 'nonfiction' books for young people find their new readers and inspire them in their pursuit of knowledge and fascination. And I feel they need there own collective post. Wouldn't want them to get lost on the 'pages!'
Here are a few of the more note worthy books on real heroes, true adventures and the wonderful wildlife that surrounds us...all published in last two months, just in time for the gift-giving season. And right here in Ireland.
BLAZING A TRAIL: Irish Women Who Changed The World
author: Sarah Webb
illustrator: Lauren O'Neill
O'Brien Press (October 2018)
ISBN: 9781788490047
This fabulous book highlights 28 of those fabulous Mná na hÉireann, telling a different story each time you turn the page in clear concise language to make it perfect…