Fallen Star Stories: childrens books & other ephemera
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Dick King-Smith Dies, Aged 88
The wonderful children's author, Dick King-Smith, has passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 88. Probably best remembered for his book 'The Sheep-Pig' which was turned into the popular film 'Babe' in 1995; King-Smith had also given us such wonderful books as 'The Hodgeheg', 'The Water Horse' and the six 'Sophie' books; along with too many others to mention. His first book, 'The Fox Busters' was published in 1978, when King-Smith was over 50 years old, and he went on to write more than 100 others to the great delight of children (old and young) everywhere. A quiet, unassuming man, Dick King-Smith will be missed, but will truly live on for generations to come in his wonderful, warm children's books.
Here's a link to a wonderful article in today's Guardian Book Blog, posted by Imogen Russell-Williams. The content of the article basically cites a capacity, or gift perhaps, among American writers to create stunning coming-of-age novels, such as the current favourite of mine, 'The Sky Is Everywhere' by Jandy Nelson. It seems to be a literary tradition of sorts when you consider such greats as 'Catcher In The Rye' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird', etc. Considering I think on my personal favourite novels of this genre, I have to admit, the writers that spring to mind are all American...or at the very least, ex-pats. It's interesting to ponder why the US seems to have given birth to masters in this field. But I will also add that I am currently reading an advance copy of 'Prim Improper' by Deirdre Sullivan...very shortly to be released by the magnificent Little Island Imprint (www.littleisland.ie - but more about them later). Every bit as good at t…
This year marks the anniversary of the publication of an extraordinary book. In 1991, Poolbeg published The Summer of Lily & Esme by John Quinn and in the 25 years since, it has never been out of print. The Summer of Lily & Esme tells a quiet story, filled with compassion, friendship, memory and heart. It is the story of Alan, an 11-year-old boy who has moved from the city into a house in the countryside; in the middle of nowhere.The house is old and extremely large and immaculate; and there is a locked, boarded over attic room that is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy who died tragically. Alan is not too pleased with this move and becomes even less thrilled when he discovers his closest neighbours, in fact his only neighbours, are a pair of elderly sisters, Esme and Lily, who seem to be suffering from dementia. When Alan falls down a hill of brambles and weeds, the sisters, who believe they themselves to be children, mistake Alan for their childhood friend, Albe…
Last week, I ventured down to O'Mahony's Bookshop in Limerick for the launch of a truly phenomenal new book by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald; A Strange Kind of Brave.
This is Sarahs' fifth book for young people and she simply goes from strength to strength. Her books all deal with children facing some of the biggest challenges imaginable and finding the inner resources to meet them head on. While engaging with some heavy issues, she manages to communicate the stories with humour, imagination and a deeply effective light shining through the dark, making each one not only gripping, but a delight to read; the kind of books that young people will pick up and not want to put down. A Strange Kind of Brave is certainly no exception; it's utterly consuming. It will strike a chord and continue to vibrate through the reader long after they have finished the book causing it to be one of those that will be read repeatedly. A Strange Kind of Brave not only tells a deeply fascinating stor…