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Showing posts from September, 2010

A Plethora of Children's Lit Prizes (shortlists)

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There's been a lot of activity in the Children's Literature Prize area lately. With dates looming closer, the shortlists have been announced.
First for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize to be announced on 8th October; the shortlist is
1) Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver. This is the sixth and final book in the amazing Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Beginning with Wolf Brother, this series follows the life of Torak, orphaned and ostracised from his clan in a land 6000 years ago. It has been consistently brilliant throughout, and the last book was gripping and enthralling.
2) Unhooking The Moon by Gregory Hughes is an extraordinary story tracing the journey of two orphans, 10 year old 'Rat' and her brother, Bob, as they hitch a lift from Winnipeg, Ontario to New York in search of their uncle, knowing only his name and that he is a 'drug-dealer'.
3)Now by Morris Gleitzman is the third book in his series centred around the Holocaust and conclues the s…

Derek Landy

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Today, the children of Galway (both in body and spirit) turned out in incredible force at Dubray Books on Shop Street in Galway to meet Derek Landy. They were trying to queue from about 12.00, but I had to send them away, promising them front positions. In retrospect, I should have gotten out the 'coat room' numbers, perhaps. In the end, inspite of there being over 200 people moving through the shop...and inspite of the extremely changeable weather, it all went off without a hitch. Derek arrived in good time and got straight to it! Throughout the entire event (we were there until 7.30pm...3 1/2 hours!), he was lively, engaging, gracious, smiling, funny...truly amazing as he took time with each and every child (and their parents). And even those who stood in that queue for over 3 hours...tired and cranky, though they may have been prior to reaching him....all of them left saying it was well worth the wait, with smiles on their faces, clutching their newly signed books. It was g…

Author! Author!

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Just a quick word to remind everyone about two events that are closing fast upon us. It's all go this week in Galway! WhileI couldn't attend the Mountains to Sea Festival (not happy about that at all), I am delighted with the following:
1) Don't forget.... tomorrow, Tuesday, 14th September at 4pm, DEREK LANDY will be at Dubray Books, Galway to sign his new book (and the fifth in the series) 'Skulduggery Pleasant : Mortal Coil'!!!! This is Derek's first appearance in the West of Ireland since winning the Bord Gais Irish Book of the Decade earlier this year. The award was voted by you, his wonderful readers, for the first in the series, simply titled 'Skulduggery Pleasant'. And I'm sure Derek won't mind signing the earlier books, as well. It's looking like there will be a crowd...lots and lots of interest.... but don't worry, there will be the wonderful staff of Dubray Books (that means myself and my co-workers) to entertain you. And we ca…

New Picture on the Blog Header

Just briefly, in case you're wondering, the new picture I've put up on the blog header is another from the wonderful legacy of Jessie Willcox Smith. This one I've always known as 'Picture Books In Winter' from the famous poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. As summer comes to a close and the autumn makes it's presence known with greater emphasis each day, this is a poem I often think of...one I loved as a child. (you can find it in the classic collection "A Child's Garden of Verse" by Stevenson...yes, indeed, the same man who gave us 'Treasure Island' and 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', among other great classics.)

Picture-books in Winter
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Summer fading, winter comes--
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the ch…

Launch: 'Prim Improper'

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Excellent news from Deirdre Sullivan (and Little Island Press, those wonderful and talented people!): Deirdre will be at the Galway City Library this Wednesday evening, 15th September at 6pm to officially launch her new (and first) novel for teens, 'Prim Improper'. This wonderful book tells the story of Primrose Leary. Prim has just started secondary school, has a burgeoning interest in boys, and has to deal with an extremely embarassing father she barely knows along with the fact that her mother isn't around anymore. Told with compassion and real humour, 'Prim Improper' demonstrates a great understanding of character and storyline.
Deirdre is a local Galway girl who graduated from NUI Galway with a masters degree in drama and theatre and is now teaching in Dublin... and, I'm assured, is finishing her second book as we speak. Busy woman!
All are welcome to attend the launch, so I hope to see you there.

Queen of Teen 2010

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The votes have all been counted and it's all over but the shouting. The 2010 Queen of Teen, as voted by you, the readers is......... Cathy Cassidy! Author of many wonderful books, such as Indigo Blue, GingerSnaps, Angel Cake, the Daisy Star books (for younger readers) and the newly published Cherry Crush (first of the Chocolate Box Girls), Cathy is one of the hardest working and most giving of her time. Congratulations, Cathy Cassidy!!!!

MS ReadaThon

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It's time, once again, for the MS ReadaThon! Kicking off on the 15th of October, you have a whole month of reading your favourite books to support this very worthy cause (and be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes.) If, for some reason your school doesn't participate, don't forget that you can sign up as an individual. And... for all you adults, this year MS ReadaThon have created a campaign for grown-ups to talk about all their wonderful memories of great childhood reads and discuss their current reading. Great idea for bookclubs!  Competitions, quizzes, polls, etc. are available on-line for children and grown-ups. So... pop into your local library or bookshop to pick up all the information you'll need; or check out the newly refurbished website from the link below. Get ready to read for a great cause!

http://www.msreadathon.ie/

There's also a facebook page to follow all the bookish action and excitement. And, if anyone of you would like to join me, on my…

Queen of Teen Last Chance!

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This is your very last chance to vote online for the 'Queen of Teen'. The voting closes on 9th September (that's tomorrow) and the 'Queen of Teen 2010' will be crowned on Friday, September 10th. If you haven't already done so, just click on to the link below and follow the instructions. It is the teen-fiction-loving readers who choose their Queen, so your vote absolutely counts! Last chance!!!!

http://www.queenofteen.co.uk/

Reminder about Reading

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As school is well and truly underway, and winter (ugh) approaches, I wanted to republish this essay from my dear friend Kevin Whelan as a reminder to us all. Reading should always be a pleasure and one that we pass on to the children with joy... but, as we all know, sometimes it's just not that easy. In the effort that is made to get them through the curriculum boxes, sometimes the joy of reading for pleasure gets lost. It's too important. Don't let it.

            WHAT TO TELL SOMEONE WHO ‘HATES’ READING

                          By Kevin Whelan

When I was a child [not a ‘kid’: as my nephew Ciaran Whelan always reminds me, “A kid is a goat”] a book was a fantastic thing to hold in one’s hands; turning the cover for the first time was like opening a secret door and stepping through into…what? And where? Somehow I knew that I could leave my life and its Sunday night school worries and other various minor troubles behind: for a few minutes or hours, I could engage in a form…

Derek Landy Event

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It is with great excitement that I take this moment to confirm that, yes, indeed...on Tuesday, 14th September at 4pm, Derek Landy will be at Dubray Books, Galway to celebrate his latest book and the fifth in the series, Skulduggery Pleasant : Mortal Coil, and to sign copies of this and all of his Skulduggery books. As we all know, Skulduggery Pleasant was the winner of the Bord Gais Irish Book of the Decade accolade, giving great validation to children's literature and it's young readers. This is Derek's first visit to the West of Ireland since winning this award. And at Dubray Books, we are completely over the moon to have him visit.
(Skulduggery Pleasant : Mortal Coil is released into the world tomorrow, 2nd September.)

Newest Issue of Inis Magazine

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It's the first of September, and that means the Autumn 2010 issue of Inis Magazine (published quarterly by the good people of Children's Books Ireland) is in the shops! I happen to think this is one of the best yet. The cover art is by the wonderful Kevin Waldron. (You will also find this on this year's poster and brochure for the Children's Book Festival 2010.) Inside, the first article you are greeted with is Siobhan Parkinson's  keynote address from the CBI conference in May. This address "Chasing White Rabbits: Literature as a Collaborative Artform" is something that should be read over and over again by anyone involved with children's literature, so that we don't forget why we do what we do and how important children's literature is to our children, and to ourselves. You'll also find a conversation with Anthony Browne and an amzing article on the picturebook illustrations of Elena Ordiozola by Valerie Coghlan, who has an amazing grasp…