Sunday, October 31, 2010

Story Spark At The Ark

And no sooner have all the Children's BookFest events come to an end, but our dear friends... those brilliant people at Children's Books Ireland... have begun another extravaganza to keep all the enthusiasm for children's literature rocking on through the cold winter months. (No better time to curl up with a good book, is there? Or to venture out for a good story telling event, for that matter!)
From November 23rd through the 19th of December, The Ark (A Cultural Centre for Children) on Eustace Street in Dublin will be playing host to a number top children's writers; such as Derek Landy, Philip Ardagh, Mary Arrigan, John Boyne and Roddy Doyle....; and top storytellers; such as Pat Ryan, Liz Weir, Niall de Burca.....; to take part in a unique celebration of the story. There will be exclusive story-telling sessions, workshops for those who want to explore the possibilities of writing and recording their own stories or enjoying those left by others. A true hive of activity.... there is so much going on at the Ark during this time, I couldn't possibility list it all here.
But here's the link so you can check out the full programme of activities yourselves (please, do, it's an amazing event series!)

A Farewell To October

As it is now time to bid farewll to my favourite month of the year, I must play a bit of catch-up before the doors shut completely on this month of festivals dedicated to children's literature.

The Children's Book Festival is done, with many happy faces from all the brilliant events everywhere... and here in Galway, Baboro is but a mere memory. I did however want to treat you to a few photographs from the Macnas Moments offered at Baboro.
Along with all the other fantastic performances, readings and exhibitions, as the week ended, we, at Dubray Books on Shop Street, had some very unusual occupants in our window. It seems that the characters from the Series of Unfortunate Events were searching high and low across Galway to find the books that were their own. Aided by children and their families, they were on tour until they arrives at the right book for each. I think I can speak for Count Olaf (as he can't speak for himself at the moment) in saying he was both delighted and relieved to find his book in our window. And I think I can speak for the children of Galway (you have read the books, right?) in saying that we are all both delighted and very relieved that Count Olaf was duly placed back in his book where he belongs..... 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red House Children's Book Award

The results are in and counted and the Red House Children's Book Award winners has been announced!
The overall winner comes from the category of 'Older Readers' is 'Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins. The other nominees in the Older Readers category were: 'Auslander' by Paul Dowswell and 'Love, Aubrey' by Suzanne LaFleur.
Category winners and nominees were as follows:
For the Younger Readers, the winner is 'Mondays Are Murder' by Tanya Landman. Also nominated in that category were 'Angel Cake' by Cathy Cassidy and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw' by Jeff Kinney.
In the category of Younger Children, the winner is ' Bottoms Up!' by Jeanne Willis and Adam Stower. Others nominated were 'The Baby Dragon-Tamer' by Jan Fearnley, 'Crunch Munch Dinosaur Lunch' by Paul Bright & Mike Terry and 'A Very Strange Creature' by Ronda Armitage & Layn Marlow.
The Red House Children's Book Award is given annually in three categories. It is the only award that is judged entirely by children from nominations through to the final overall winner. The top 50 titles nominated in each year are published as the 'Pick of the Year' list. (Agreat way to find out what the children themselves are thinking about their books!)
The Red House Children's Book Awards have a great website which gives all the information on the current and past winners, who they are, what they do, travelling exhibitions and even how to nominate for the next years awards...and an on-line newsletter to subscribe, in order to keep up with all the latest children's thinking on great books! Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

JK Rowling Wins Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize

Announced on October 20, JK Rowling has become the first winner of a new Danish award, the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award. The prize, which is distinct from the much coveted Hans Christian Andersen medal awarded to David Almond earlier this year, is given to a writer whose work can be compared to that of Andersen in that it's characters and themes speak to enduring appeal. Speaking at the awards ceremony in Odense, Andersen's birthplace, Rowling said she was "humbled and deeply honoured" to become the first winner of the prize.
"Hans Christian Andersen is a writer I revere, because his work was of that rare order that seems to transcend authorship..."
Rowling went on to praise Andersen's "indestructible, eternal characters."
Many congratulations, Ms. Rowling!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Children's Authors In School Visits

This article from The Guardian on 18th October presents a view of the current trend for children's authors in school visits. While some of the article seems a little cynical (re: the view that children's authors are a marketing tool - This may be true, for who could represent a book better than it's author?), this would not be the main emphasis here. When a children's author goes into a school, they introduce and reinforce something that any teacher, who is by necessity adhering to a curriculum and a time schedule, finds it difficult at times to get across. Reading is fun.
"We're in the enviable position of being able to prove that reading and writing is fun: a teacher could battle for weeks to get a child to read something, only for an author to come in one morning and talk about giant robots, (and if they were Neill Cameron, draw them), and suddenly books are fabulous."
These wonderful people go into schools and libraries and bookshops and bring their books to life for us all. As they engage with their audience, they bring an enthusiasm to reading that teaching can't possibly get across. And the children then bring that back into the classroom with them.... and they take it forward into their lives.
Like Alex Milway (the author of this article and author of 'The Mousehunter' and 'The Mythical 9th Division'), we rarely had interesting visitors in the classroom. Authors seemed to be residents of a land far, far away... or they were dead. But now, authors spend a lot of their time in the schools, engaging with young people and inspiring a new generation of readers and writers. As I prepare to go past the Christmas crazy season in the bookshop into the schedule of World Book Day events (the first week of March), I'm extremely grateful and endlessly excited about these wonderful people (I wonder who will be there this year?) who come and share their gift with the (massive numbers of) school children who attend every year. What a great gift!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Obituary: Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson 1926 - 2010
I'm very sad to report the death of Eva Ibbotson, one of the finest children's authors today. Her career as a writer spanned three decades and included such marvelous books as : The Star of Kazan, Journey to the River Sea, A Company of Swans, The Morning Gift, The Secret Countess.... I could go on and on. Each and every book she penned was exquisite, which beautiful flowing writing, memorable characters and exceptional insight into children's literature. Her latest book, The Ogre of Oglefort, was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction prize 2010.
Born in Vienna, Ibbotson moved to England at the age of eight in 1934. She died at her home in Newcastle on October 20th at the age of 85. She will be truly missed, but leaves behind an amazing legacy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Triumph for 'The Sky Is Everywhere'

This just in from Jandy Nelson on her amazing first novel 'The Sky Is Everywhere'. I'm going to quote Jandy from her Facebook page....
"Yowza! Crazy news! The Sky Is Everywhere made Round One of Grammy nominees for best Spoken Word Album. If you happen to know anyone in the music industry with Grammy voting rights: It's in Field 17, Category 78, Best Spoken Word Album. The next round vote is December 1st. So wild!"
Wild, indeed!!! I'm so pleased for Jandy and have my fingers crossed. And while, as she says herself, it's only round one of the nominations and it's unclear as to how many rounds of nominations there actually are, it is still very exciting and a great honour!
Well done, Jandy! I'm cheering for you already!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Guardian Plans Site For Young Readers

This was brought to my attention via the wonderful Maeve Friel, and I totally agree with her, it could be very good, indeed. I just had to get it on the blog ASAP. It's probably best if I just copy and paste here.... so, from TheGuardian, Books, Thursday 14th October 2010 (link below).....
"Inspired by the enthusiasm of the young critics who last week helped critique and judge the Guardian children's fiction prize, we are in the early stages of creating a dedicated book site where younger readers can review and discuss the books and authors they enjoy reading.
We plan to have reviews from our young readers of the latest YA and children's books, author interviews, games and competitions. But as this is a brand new venture, we are looking for people interested in helping us to design our new Young Guardian Books website. If you, or someone you know, would like to be involved, just send us an email telling us about the books and authors you like, and what you'd like to see on the site (please include your name and age). From the entries, we'll pick a panel of editors who will be responsible for deciding which books to review and discuss.
Send your applications to" 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get "Enchanted" with Baboro

Today's lunchtime treat was to visit the Galway City Museum for the wonderful "Enchanted" exhibition! Celebrating the children's book illustration, "Enchanted" displays the work of five incredible, popular Irish authors: Annie West, Bruce Ingman, Oisin McGann, Adrienne Geoghehan and Niamh Sharkey. The setting for this exhibition creates an atmosphere that is peaceful and personal and gives time for the illustrations to create their delightful impact. A must visit at Baboro!!!!
Here are a few of my favourites......
'The Ravenous Beast' by Niamh Sharkey
detail from 'Birdie Tree' by Adrienne Geoghehan
from 'Moxey' by Annie West
Wednesday events include: Gugalai Gug!-Beo, Walter Speazlebud (David Donohue) and the Gingerbread Man!!! The exhibitions are here all week!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baboro Is Here!!!!

Welcome to the first day of the Baboro International Arts Festival for Children! All week, there are wonderful, magical events taking place all over the city for the young and the young at heart.
Altough I was working today, at lunch time, I popped out to the Eyre Square Shopping Centre to have a quick view of the "Reminders of Then" exhibition by artist Morgan O'Brien. While it may be small in terms of quantity... and the size of the work itself.... this exhibition is BIG on quality. Absolutely beautiful, personal work that echoes "the wonderfully perfect and concentrated view of the world a young child manages to transfer to paper." The art of young children is a major inspiration for O'Brien and his work shows it's freshness and immediacy.
O'Brien is also welcomed back as the artist for the 2010 Baboro brochure. Absolutely delightful!

Week Two: Children's Book Festival 2010

As week two of the Children's Book Festival begins, I wanted to remind you all of the very special webcast tomorrow. our first Children's Laureate (Laureate na nOg) Siobhan Parkinson will be in conversation with Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Bisto award winning author/illustrator) broadcasting from the South Dublin Libraries. To take part, just visit  tomorrow at 11.30 am.! It's that easy and a brilliant way to bring a bit of the Bookfest to your classroom, library...or even to your own home!
For more information on other Bookfest events, visit the festiva blog via the CBI website.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Michelle Paver Wins Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Like it says on the tin....Michelle Paver has won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2010 for "Ghost Hunter", the brilliant culmination of her Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series that began six books ago with "Wolf Brother".
Julia Eccleshare, chairman of the judging panel said,
"It's relatively rare for a book late in a series to win a major prize, but the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is such a towering achievement, as a whole as well as in terms of the individual books, that it was our unanimous choice."
From the beginning of this series, I began recommending it to just about everybody. Consistant in quality of writing, character development and inthe flow and intrique of the plotline, the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, as a series is absolutely magnificent.
Congratulations to Michelle Paver!!!! Couldn't be more pleased.

Baboro : International Arts Festival for Children 2010

AND... as it's time for Bookfest, that must mean that it's also festival time here in Galway. Sure enough, next week, from the 11th to 17th of October, Baboro International Arts festival for Children will be entertaining and delighting us all for it's 14th year running. This year we have dance, music, theatre, puppetry.... generally speaking magic and fun everywhere. The Very Hungry Caterpillar will be gracing the stage of the Town Hall Theatre. The Gingerbread Man will be on at Druid Lane. The Secret Garden will be discovered at the Nun's Island Theatre. The fantastic authors sharing their work with us this year will be Patricia Forde (Frogs Do Not Like Dragons...yayyy!), David Donohue and Niamh Sharkey (On The Road With Mavis and Marge!) There will also be some incredible exhibitions on hand, including 'Enchanted' at the Galway City Museum, featuring the illustrations of Annie West, Adrienne Geoghegan, Bruce Ingman, Oisin McGann and Niamh Sharkey.
I also want to point out an event to the adults who work with children, parents and teachers, out there. On Friday the 15th, there will be a special panel discussion on in the Town Hall Studio at 5pm entitled "Talking about.... the Arts for the Early Years." As there is a growing interest worldwide in the arts for young children, I think this is a can't miss. Artists from three of the companies at Baboro will be discussing the creation of their work and the response to it. Great stuff!
You can find the Baboro brochure just about anywhere in Galway or here's the website.......


Just a quick reminder.....
This year's cover, featuring the art of Kevin Waldron
As most of you already know, the Children's Book Festival is well under way. Every year, throughout the month of October, Ireland turns it's attention to children's literature with events taking place all over the country. The festival is now in it's 20th year and, as always, offers young readers (and older readers who are fans of children's books) the opportunity to meet their favourite authors, attend talks and workshops, storytelling sessions abound and of course there are competitions. For example, O'Brien Press is running it's 'Design-A-Cover' competition. For the third year, the good people at O'Brien Press are giving young designers a chance to see their artwork featured on the cover of a published book. This year, they are looking to re-jacket October Moon, a classic horror novel by Michael Scott. (closing date November 1, 2010) For more details on this, and other competitions as well as hundreds of reviews and recommendations on children's books published late 2009 and throughout 2010, pick up a copy of 'BookFest', CBI's recommended reading guide for 2010. It's free and available in bookshops everywhere. To find out more about events taking place in your area, log on to the Children's Books Ireland website. They'll have all you need to know!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Niamh Sharkey's Favourite Things!

From today's Herald, there's a wonderful interview all about Niamh Sharkey's favourite things. Niamh's new picturebook 'On the Road With Mavis and Marge' is out now and, as I've said before, it's wonderful. This was my picturebook of the week when it first came out. During the Children's Bookfest, Niamh will be here there and everywhere reading to children and their families (and some schools, I hope). She'll be in Galway on Saturday, 16th October at Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Middle Street at 10.30 am and 1 pm as part of the Baboro International arts Festival for Children. (I'm soooo jealous, guys.) So be sure to catch her, if you can. In the meantime, follow this link for some great insight into Niamh and her brilliant work. (p.s. to Niamh...I love the Ravenous Beast in all his forms and I'm a huge Moomin fan, too.)
(You can find my recommendation of '...Mavis and Marge' on my Picture Books page.)