WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER (part 4): Feelings of Loss

One of the most persistent questions I have had over the years is what to tell children when a loved one dies. We find it really difficult to talk to children about death. Generally speaking, we are afraid. There are so many unknowns. What if we say the wrong thing? What if we give them "ideas" that will upset or frighten them? How do we explain it? How do we help them understand the feelings that come with this? Our children tend to take their cues from the adults around them. How we deal with death speaks volumes to children about how they should deal with it.
The question of explaining death is actually fairly straight-forward. The person who was there simply isn't anymore. Children can accept the reality of death far easier than we can when we've grown. But the multitude of emotions are more difficult. And how we move forward...well, that's another thing all together. It is the effect of loss on the child and on those around them; those that are left behind t…


I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my contribution to the Always Here For You Blog Tour, celebrating the launch of Miriam Halahmys' new novel for young people.
Miriam Halahmy is one of the most pivotal, insightful authors for young people working today. Her subject matter touches those issues of wide concern in their lives; depression, bullying, homelessness, trying to navigate vulnerable family circumstances...and now online grooming and internet safety. While the internet has opened us up to widespread, valuable information and social contact and there is an argument to be made for its' contribution to cross-cultural understanding and empathy, it can also create a different level of vulnerability and be a dangerous place. Miriams' latest YA novel, Always Here For You tackles this very issue and demonstrates just how quickly and easy it is to fall into its' trap.

ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU  author: Miriam Halahmy ZunTold (11 February 2020) ISBN: 9781916204218 As Holly w…


Hello to everyone out there from me and LB!
A little while ago, I was informed that there was a problem with the subscription service for Fallen Star Stories. It appeared that the blog wasn't allowing anyone to subscribe or, in many cases was blocking subscriptions.
I believe that I have sorted this out now and anyone who wants to subscribe should now be able to do so. You just hit the subscribe button and follow through with your email contact. It will ask you to go through a feedburner, but this causes no problems (that I'm aware of.) You will then receive email updates on the latest posts! (Though it seems that it doesn't notify you when a new review appears on one of the pages.) I have some fantastic blog tours, editorials and articles coming up...I am very excited to share them with you.
Subscriptions are free...and it is my intention that it will always remain so.
So if you want to subscribe to Fallen Star Stories, it will be a pleasure to hear from you! And if you …

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER (part 3): An Féileacán Agus An Rí, Bringing Home Legends

Picture books have a special magic when it comes to bringing back the old stories; the myths and legends that tell us who we are and encourage us to be who we want to be. Once again, we are told time-honoured tales, but through a new lens that allows us access to understanding that which has been around for a very long time.
Today, 1st February is honoured as St Brigids' Day or Imbolg; the first day of spring when we look ahead to the renewal of light, of the cycle of the seasons and of all things filled with love and life; a day of hope and determination. It seems very apt to welcome a new retelling back into our hearts and minds; and that it should be the ancient Irish legend of the butterfly and the king; An Féileacán agus an Rí; for it encapsulates all those things.

author: Máire Zepf
illustrator: Shona Shirley Macdonald
Futa Fata (1 February 2020)
ISBN: 9781910945483
Éadaoin was always a beautiful and clever girl, filled with brightness. And she could alwa…

WE MUST NOT FORGET: Auschwitz, the Holocaust and Books to Help Us Remember

Today, 27 January 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; the day when the Red Army arrived at the gates of this most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps and saw, for the first time, the horrors that it held. It stands today as a memorial; a stark, gut-wrenching reminder of what human beings are capable of doing to other human beings in the name of...I'm still not sure. in my mind, it must be in the name of some kind of insanity that I hope never to fully understand.
Today, we honour the few remaining, who have opened their memories to tell us what really happened in the horrific time and place as first-hand witnesses and survivors of the atrocities. But 75 years is a long time and soon, I fear, we will lose these living memories. We need to understand what can happen, what did happen and what we must not let happen again.  Our children need to know what happened in those dark times and why. We must not let the memories of the survivors fade...we mus…


Just a quick shout out for my favourite day of the year; World Book Day 2020 is on it's way!!! In just over a month, all over the UK and Ireland it will be time to celebrate the joy of reading and the love of books.
Now in its' 23rd year, on Thursday, 5 March children of all ages will come together to show their appreciation and excitement of reading. And it is usually very loud, always very happy! This is a very busy time for authors, illustrators and storytellers, for schools, libraries and bookshops as the doors are flung wide open, all in the name of reading for pleasure. There will be author visits, children dressed as their favourite book characters, parties, games and, of course, the release of this years' World Book Day books, specially created to mark the day.
Each year, a selection of books for children of all ages are published; 11 books in all. These books all cost only £1/ 1.50euro each. Or, if your child has a World Book Day book token (sent out to all schoo…

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER (part 2): The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

In case you haven't heard, last week the New York Public Libraries released their list of the 10 Most Checked-Out books in its' history. This is a very significant list, as the NY Library books have been circulating throughout homes in New York City for 125 years. It is the largest library system of its' kind in the US and one of the largest worldwide. What it has to say about what people read matters...a lot.
It may not surprise anyone to learn that the majority of this list consists of childrens' books; half of them picture books. This indicates the huge impact books have on readers of a very young age. While I was delighted to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight, Moon, The Cat in the Hat and Where The Wild Things Are represented, to learn that the number one, most borrowed book ever in its' history was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats caused an overwhelming feeling of quiet joy within. But what makes this book shine over all the others?
The Snowy Day was …