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Showing posts from 2011

Who's A Happy Hugglewug, Then?

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Disney's London based production base has given the go-ahead for a new animated series 'The Happy Hugglemonsters' which will premiere in August 2012 on Disney Junior and will be airing in over 150 countries worldwide. This 52x11 minute series, aimed at preschool children, is based on the wonderful picture book 'I'm A Happy Hugglewug' by our wonderful, wonderful Niamh Sharkey.
And if all of that isn't enough to make you happy, the series will be produced by Brown Bag Films' Dublin-based studio.... making Happy Hugglewugs out of us all.
http://niamhsharkey.blogspot.com/2011/12/happy-hugglemonsters.html?spref=fb

Some of My Christmas and Winter Favourites

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We're at one week and counting until the big day! Every year, I always bring home one special book for the season, and my collection is growing exponentially. I'd like to take a moment to share with you a few of my favourites over the years. These books come out year after year for the whole family to enjoy. I hope you enjoy them as well.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This book needs no introduction, but I need to add that my very favourite edition of this is the one illustrated by PJ Lynch...beautiful and evocative!








Twas the Night Before Christmas illustrated by Matt Tavares
Again, a story that needs no introduction and there are numerous editions available, with new editions published nearly every year. For me, the edition that sums up the time and the spirit of this story is illustrated in black and white by Matt Tavares. Timeless!



North Child by Edith Pattou
North Child is not really a Christmas story, but it is a beautiful and eloquent winters' tale. Based on the …

R.I.P. Russell Hoban

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True legend and most beloved author Russell Hoban has passed away at the age of 86. While his work was prolific to say the least, and he wrote across many genres, Hoban found his biggest comercial success with his children's books: The Mouse and His Child, The Marzipan Pig, and (my personal favourites) the Frances the Badger series: Bedtime for Frances was read over and over in our home.
It is fair to say that Hoban could be described as a maverick writer with truly original, creative gifts and talents and a unique ability to turn a plotline. His vision was truly unique in all his writing.
Hoban died last evening, 13th December. His unique vision, which was easily expressed in all his writings, will be remembered with great love and joy, and he will be truly missed.
Russell Hoban - born 4 February, 1925 died 13 December, 2011

Guardian Children's Advent Calendar

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It may be the 14th of December (where does the time go?), but it's not too late to check out the Guardian's Advent Calendar... even if you  have to play a bit of catch up.... Harry Potter quiz, decorate the tree, listen to clips from some of your favourite children's/YA authors; there are 24 ways to count down the remaining days with all kinds of book-related fun. Have you learned how to draw a penguin yet?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/interactive/2011/dec/01/count-down-christmas-childrens-books-interactive

Sarah Webb's Guide to Great Books for Christmas

If you're still in a quandary as to what books the kids will be looking for this Christmas, check out Sarah Webb's suggestions in today's Independent. It's a great place to start and will set you straight as to what's great out there.
http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/childrens-books-wimpy-kids-and-skeleton-detectives-it-must-be-christmas-2954492.html

Brand New and Brilliant!

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Here's a few of the stunning brand new books out 9over the last couple of months) for various age groups. Each one is truly fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable:
The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook
The morning after a storm has swept across the country, Asa wakes up to two shocking discoveries. The first is that his sleepy little village, Windvale, is now completely unrecognisable due to all the damage. The second...among the debris that is now his back garden, Asa finds a tiny winged body; and it's not an insect. It appears to be a fairy. But fairies don't really exist... or do they? Fabulous story with marvellous illustrations throughout, all done by the author.



The Sleeping Army by Francesca Simon
Freya is an ordinary, contemporary school girl, living in a contemporary world with one very big difference.... the people still worship the ancient Norse gods. One night, while stuck with her father as he works the night shift in the British Museum, Freya finds herself inex…

review: Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent

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Just a quick link for you all. I've had another review published on The Bookbag. Here's the link for my review of the fabulous 'Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent' by Alan Early, published by The Mercier Press. This is the first book of the 'Father of Lies Chronicles', and frankly... after reading this one, I just can't wait for book two!
http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Arthur_Quinn_and_the_World_Serpent_%28The_Father_of_Lies_Chronicles%29_by_Alan_Early

Books for Sharing.....

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Nothing helps young readers develop more than being read to at home. It helps them in school, helps their literacy and their imagination grow, and it creates a lifetime of memories and a deep love of books. Here's a few suggestions from this years' books for the whole family to gift, own and enjoy (in no particular order.)

Sally Go Round The Stars by Sarah Webb & Claire Ranson, illustrated by Steve McCarthy
A real treasure trove of traditional Irish rhymes from everybodys' childhood. This beautifully illustrated book will bring another generation of young readers the rhymes we knew from our own youths'. Pure delight! This is a must have for your home collection! (Royalties from this book all go to the National Children's Hospital Tallaght).




Nursery Rhymes (with CD) by The Speks
Loads of old nursery rhymes set to traditional Irish music, this will have the whole family up and dancing and singing along. Just brilliant! (And if you haven't caught one of the Spek…

Happy December!!!

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It's December 1st and the holiday shopping season is now in full swing. We've got the Late, Late Toy Show tomorrow night, and there have been loads of recommendations in the press and online lately in regards to which books to gift this season. (It was also really interesting to learn that, this year, here in Ireland, the gifts we all most want to receive is....BOOKS!) I just thought I'd add to the mix with a few suggestions of my own.
These are not necessarily echoing the recommendations already made by many of my brilliant colleagues and friends in the book business. I thought I'd try to have some alternatives that haven't received as much recognition...though I think you'll find that's not necessarily true, either.
Anyway.. today, I'm going to recommend some series. I'm frequently asked about series at work. It makes sense. You're looking for something that will really excite your favourite young people about reading, and if there is more tha…

Out Now ......

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Yes, dear friends! It's out now and in hard copy... and very green! The new Inis Magazine 36 is out today! So, if you prefer your children's books commentary in actual paper and ink, get your NOW!!!!
Inis Magazine... THE Irish children's books magazine published through those fantastic advocates of children's literature for all ages.....Children's Books Ireland.
http://www.inismagazine.ie/

Eleanor Farjeon Award 2011

This just in courtesy of our dear friend, Book Sniffer (see Facebook); The winner of this years Eleanor Farjeon Award is:
The Federation of Children’s Book Groups –  This is a voluntary, grass-roots reading charity based in the United Kingdom with children and books at its heart. Made up of numerous groups across the length and breadth of the country, the Federation works with tens of thousands of children and young people each year.The FCBG was first set into motion over forty years ago as a parenting group whose aim was to encourage children to read and to support families. Over the years FCBG has grown into a nationwide network in the UK, but at it's core remains one simple directive: encourage a love of reading in children and you enrich their lives forever... Many heart felt congratulations to the Federation of Children's Book Groups. What a great ethic to have!!! Now, if you're wondering what the Eleanor Farjeon Award is, here's the explanation directly from  Ch…

Puffin Ireland...gone????

No...well, yes...but no. I'm sharing this link with David Maybury's blog. David has a truly good explanation of what has been happening at Puffin Ireland. A few weeks back, the news came through that Puffin Ireland was to lose it's appointed children's editor, the absolutely wonderful Paddy O'Doherty. It seems that Penguin Ireland had decided they no longer needed an in-house children's editor. (Yet another victim of the current recessionary climate and it's effects on the publishing industry.) But, they still insist that Puffin Ireland has not closed. Michael McLoughlin (Penguin Ireland MD) says that manuscript submissions are still very welcome, and that he and Shannon Park from Puffin Uk will continue to work with assigned authors and illustrators.
I'm just going to quote David here... as he said it so very well:
"Removing the Puffin Ireland editorial position may make good sense if you crunch numbers – but the investment in children’s fiction a…

Galway Christmas Market Village

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The Galway Christmas Market Village is back, and I have to say it looks fantastic! But what I really wanted to post about is the wonderful, beautiful carousel! Warringtons have set up a 'proper' old style carousel that I can't wait to have a go on (big kid that I am!) So I just wanted to share a few photos of it. If you're in Galway, take this opportunity for children and adults both to have a little taste of nostalgia.

R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey

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It is with great sadness that I report the death of the amazing fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey.
She had suffered a stroke at her home in Ireland on Monday, 21st November and passed away a short time later. Anne McCaffrey was 85 years of age. She is survived by her two sons and a daughter.
One of the pioneers of fantasy writing, McCaffrey was best known for her 'Dragonriders of Pern' series, great adventure stories populated by characters with nearly unpronounceable names and heavily focused on the political and social issues of the time. But the book of which she herself was most proud was 'The Ship Who Sang', about the use of people with disabled bodies as intelligence workers for mechanical ships. She receives much of the credit for paving the way for female fantasy writers.
Personally, Anne McCaffrey gave me many hours of pure fantasy escape and delight. She will be sorely missed.
http://io9.com/5862031/rip-anne-mccaffrey-creator-of-pern-and-other-classic-books

Spirit of the Titanic review

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I'm just taking a moment to point out my review of Nicola Pierce's wonderful novel (ages 10+) 'Spirit of the  Titanic. It's up on The Bookbag now.
This is a truly wonderful novel for young people that will take you right back to the early 20th century and the construction and ill-fated maiden voyage of the ship they all thought was 'unsinkable'. A unique plot line and remarkable characterisations make this book as unforgettable as the Titanic itself. And with 2012 marking 100 years since the Titanic disaster, it's one I strongly recommend we all read.
Spirit of the Titanic
author: Nicola Pierce
published by O'Brien Press, 2011
http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Spirit_of_the_Titanic_by_Nicola_Pierce

HUGO is Coming!

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I am so excited about seeing this film! Based on the exceptional, elegant book 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' by Brian Selznick (an incredible story told in words and pictures...all 526 pages of it!), the film is directed by Martin Scorsese and has a cast that is just unbelievable!Coming very, very soon! This is one film you will not want to miss.

Irish Book Awards... and the winners are....

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Of course, we are talking about the winners of the children's categories, just announced this evening.
For the senior category, the winner is : Anna Carey for her wonderful, funny, fresh novel 'The Real Rebecca'! Congratulations, Anna!!!!



And in the junior category, the winner is:
 that lively, colourful and delightfully expressive picturebook, 'The Lonely Beast' by Chris Judge. Congratulations, Chris!!!!

And Now....Costa Children's Book Awards Shortlist

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The shortlist for this year's Costa Book Awards are out, so I wanted to give a quick shout out for their Children's category shortlist. Four books, all completely diverse in their focus, and all superb selections:
The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Small Change For Stuart by Lissa Evans
Flip by Martin Bedford
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The category winners will be announced on Wednesday, January 4, 2012. Best of luck to all the nominees... and to the judges. This will be a difficult choice for them!
http://www.costabookawards.com/book-awards.html

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2012

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There has been an increase in the number of candidates nominated for the 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. One of the most prestigious awards in children's literature, there are now 184 candidates representing 66 countries around the globe. While the jury will well and truly have their work cut out for them with so many candidates, Larry Lempert, chairman of the jury has said;
"It’s very gratifying that the number of nominated candidates and countries represented continue to increase ..... The jury is full of enthusiasm for the exciting and difficult task to consider the work of so many qualified candidates."
And perhaps most exciting of all for us, three candidates from Ireland have joined a list of eminent names from all over the world. Conor Kostick, author of the brilliant, exciting and unique Avatar Chronicles (among others), Siobhan Parkinson, whose works include Bruised, Something Invisible, Four Kids Three Cats Two Cows and One Witch (Maybe); as well as bei…

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011

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And while we are talking about winners; the winners of this year's Roald Dahl Funny Prize are also currently celebrating. For the age seven to fourteen category, the winner is:
Liz Pichon for  The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
(truly laugh out loud funny!)






and winning in the six and under category :
Cat's Ahoy by Peter Bently and illustrated by Jim Field
(and a personal favourite of mine!)

Big congratulations to all!

And The Winner Is......

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Just announced; the winner of this year's Guardian Children's Fiction Prize is Return To Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan.
"Andy Mulligan's Return to Ribblestrop, about a school filled with pupils including Colombian gangster's son Sanchez, self-harming Miles, wild Millie and a motley crew of orphans, is no Malory Towers (even the school motto is "Life is Dangerous"). A travelling zoo is adopted by the children before term has started, with a sinister policeman, hidden treasure, football and friendship all to be tackled before the year is up." 
Beating out the worthy competition in the only children's award judged only by writers, Mulligan receives £1,500 and the honour of following in such footsteps as Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Jacqueline Wilson and Michelle Paver (to name a few).
Many hearty congratulations to Andy Mulligan and Return To Ribblestrop!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/2011/nov/10/guardian-childrens-fiction-prize-an…

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

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The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011 will be announced tomorrow! So, let's have another quick look at the shortlist to remind ourselves:


My Name Is Mina by David Almond






Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan




Moon Pie by Simon Mason








Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge