Thursday, June 30, 2011

Young Sherlock Holmes.....

I just came across this wonderful article by Andrew Lane (author of the Young Sherlock Holmes series) in the Guardian Children's Books section, and I thought I'd pass on the link. Lane is discussing (briefly) how Sherlock Holmes went about solving crimes at a time when police work was in it's infancy... just bare bones, really. I wanted to also really give a plug for the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Lane. Here, we have Sherlock as a fourteen year old, and we get to see how his investigative skills developed.... an interesting peak into the making of a (fictional) master of detection. And, I have to say, a great read for any fans, young or old, or Sherlock Holmes.
The third book in the series; Young Sherlock Holmes: Black Ice, is out now. And if you haven't read the others (Death Cloud and Red Leech), summer is the perfect time to catch up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grahame Baker-Smith

Another special link to the Guardian Children's Books site.... this beautiful slide presentation of Grahame Baker-Smith's illustration work. Grahame Baker-Smith was the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for his book 'FArTHER'. This presentation features images from that book, as well as images from his stunning previous book, Leon and the Place Between. (Leon and the Place Between was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2010.)
Regardless of the subject matter, Grahame Baker-Smith's picture books are pure magic!

Winnie The Witch Competition

Here's a bit of a summer project for the art-loving 5 to 10 year olds out there, who are big Winnie the Witch fans, like me! Sadly I'm too old to enter.....
In 2012, Winnie The Witch will turn 25! Winnie's publisher, Oxford University Press, WHSmith and the Guardian have teamed together to bring a brilliant competition for all budding artists/illustrators out there. Four lucky winners will have the chance to see their artwork feature as the endpapers for the 25th anniversary edition of Winnie The Witch! The book will be published in July 2012. So... what are you waiting for? Check out the link below which gives you all the details on how to enter, and then get started!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Butterfly Heart

I just wanted to share my review of 'The Butterfly Heart', which is now up on The Bookbag. If you haven't read this beautiful, gentle important book, I can whole-heartedly say that it is one should should seek out immediately.
And if you haven't checked out The Bookbag, it's a great place to find reviews of all kinds of books for all ages, child or adult.

Pottermore..... the owls have landed....

And it's all go at Pottermore. Here's the link, and on you go....

CILIP Carnegie/Kate Greenaway Medals 2011

Congratulations to Patrick Ness, who has won this year's prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal for his young adult novel, Monsters of Men (the third in the brilliant Chaos Walking trilogy.) Ness used his acceptance speech to launch a fierce defense of libraries, and an attack on the current government policies, which plan to staff UK libraries with volunteers in a cost cutting measure (along with the closures and down-scaling), calling such policies:
"a one-sentence, Big Society idea whose ramifications and consequences they haven't even remotely considered".

Also awarded today was the equally prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration. The medal went to Grahame Baker-Smith, for his beautiful, expressive work FArTHER. Beating out the previous winner, Anthony Browne (who, if he won, would have been the only person to do so three years in a row), Baker-Smith said the book was inspired by his own father and by becoming a father himself. The Greenaway judges described FArTHER as :
"a beautifully conceived picture book with a dream-like quality that captures the imagination of readers of all ages."

Heartfelt congratulations to you both!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potter Countdown Clock

The owls are gathering.... we're nearly there now....

Julia Donaldson: New UK Children's Laureate

As you've all probably heard by now, Julia Donaldson (author of so many children's picture books they can't be listed, but best known as the 'Gruffalo's Mummy') has been announced as the new UK Children's Laureate. In her two year term, Donaldson is planning on using her position as one of advocacy for public libraries, and for emphasising children's interactivity with books and stories through performance.
While each laureate has created a different emphasis during their past terms, Donaldson has also paid homage to their work and their expertise.

Donaldson adds: "I think the children's laureate role has done something for children's books although not perhaps one thing in particular. Anne Fine's My Home Library initiative and Michael Rosen's poetry website for children to perform poems still exist.
"Each children's laureate has done different things and I don't want those things to die so I'll be looking at ways to bring attention to the contributions of all the former laureates."
(Caroline Horn, Bookseller Wednesday, 20 June 2011)
In the Bookseller article linked below, Children's Laureate: an evolution, an explanation is given as to how the UK Laureateship has blossomed and changed throughout it's 12 year history. A most interesting inclusion is a list of all the past UK children's laureates and their particular focus during their term.

Top 100 Children's Books of All Time

This was a list recently shared by Sarah Webb, so I just had to pass it on to you. Every book on this list is a wonderful piece of children's literature... and largely for the younger child, so plenty of picture books! It was originally posted by Junior: the world's finest parenting magazine on 20th April 2010 (by 'Junior's discerning readers), so, no, it isn't breaking news. But it is well worth a scroll through to find such great books as The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (at number one!), Winnie the Pooh, The Jolly Postman and at number 96, our own Oliver Jeffers with The Incredible Book Eating Boy. Oh, and there are 96 more books that you may have forgotten.
What are your top 100 children's books?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals

Just a quick reminder, the shortlists for both the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals in children's literature have been out since 1st April. I mention it again because the winners of these two extremely prestigious awards will be announced on June 23rd... just a few short days away.
Here's the shortlists again...

The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2011
Doubleday (Ages 12+)
ISBN: 9781406310276
Oxford Children's Books (Ages 10+)
ISBN: 9780192756022
Walker (Ages 14+)
ISBN: 9780385617031
Puffin (Ages 12+)
ISBN: 9780141383934
Orion (Ages 12+)
ISBN: 9781842551875
Andersen Press (Ages 14+)
ISBN: 9781849390484

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist for 2011 BAKER-SMITH, GRAHAME FarTHER
Templar (Ages 8+)
ISBN: 97848771260
Doubleday (Ages 4+)
ISBN: 9780385614894
Walker (Ages 5+)
ISBN: 9781406321555
GREY, MINI (text by Hilaire Belloc) JIM
Jonathan Cape (Ages 6+)
ISBN: 9780224083676
HarperCollins (Ages 5+)
ISBN: 9780007182305
Macmillan (Age range: 3+)
ISBN: 9781405051989
Macmillan (Age range: 3+)
ISBN: 9780230529199
WIJNGAARD, JUAN (text by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham) CLOUD TEA MONKEYS
Walker (Age range: 8+)
ISBN: 9781406300925

Friday, June 17, 2011


JK Rowling, creator of the famous 'Harry Potter' books has launched a new mystery website, Launched a month before the release of the eighth and final Harry Potter film (July 15th), so far all the website is giving away is a 'Coming Soon' entry page. While there is a rumour that some select Potter fans have been given a sneak preview of what the site entails, we'll just have to wait to see what this is all about. Pottermore also has a Twitter account ( and a YouTube countdown clock, which projects an author comment for early Thursday, June 23rd.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Titanic Books!

Well, so we know that May 31st was the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic's launch and all this year we are remembering the Titanic. I'd like to take a moment to recommend two new novels for young people (that I have mentioned before), both of which take the familiar story of the Titanic and present it with a new twist; both very different, both equally good reads.
First, I have to give a shout for Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce (published by O'Brien Press). This is the story of young Sam, who plunges to his death while working on the construction of the Titanic. He comes back to haunt her on her maiden (and final) voyage, giving wonderful observations of all on board and taking a special interest in one of the 3rd class passenger families. But can he find a way to save them from the Titanic's inevitable fate? Wonderfully written, you literally feel as if you are right there with Sam.
The second I want to mention is the first book in a new series (Forever Friends) by Judi Curtin. Entitled 'The Time Spell', the story begins when Lauren gets a cat. But as we soon discover, this is no ordinary cat! Having long white hair and eyes that don't match, Saturn, it seems, has very unusual powers. Before we know it, Lauren finds herself a passenger on the Titanic. While the whole situation seems like some crazy dream, the friends Lauren makes are all too real... as time will tell! This new work by the author of the famous  Alice and Megan series promises to be just as enjoyable and popular.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ColoursFringeFestival is Coming!

COLOURS Fringe Festival will take place in Galway from July 1st through the 8th in various venues and locations throughout the city.
If you missed the wonderful, interactive show Pirates, Dragons and Moon Monsters (created by Rab Swannock Fulton and Marina Wild), then here is a rare opportunity to see it all again. And do check out the blogspot, which will treat you to the poems, the illustrations and the link to the recording of Pirates, Dragons and Moon Monsters!

Friday, July 1st; Saturday, July 2nd & Sunday, July 3rd, 2pm

Art Gallery, NUI Galway
Pirates, Dragons and Moon Monsters

Commissioned for Múscailt 2011, this is an interactive show for children ages 3-10 with poems written and performed by storyteller and writer Rab Swannock Fulton and illustrations by Marina Wild.

Entrance: 4 euro; parents and under-1s go free 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Young Readers Recommend

After 3 long months, there's a new set of fantastic reviews from the young readers at Dubray Books, Galway! This time they've included some of my favourite reads for the summer.... The Emerald Atlas, A Year Without Autumn, Dead Hairy, Bruised.... and a few others. I always say, if you want to know about good books for children, ask them! Just go to the 'Our Young Readers Recommend' page, and you'll find their recommendations for June. The March recommendations are still there as well.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Guardians Children's Fiction Longlist 2011

Julia Eccleshare (chair of this year's judges) has announced their selection of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011. While there are numerous awards given to children's literature, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize is by far one of the most prestigious. Past winners have included such notable authors as last year's winner Michelle Paver, Patrick Ness, Jacqueline Wilson and Philip Pullman. There are eight books included in the longlist, selected by this year's judges. Julia, Michelle Paver, Julia Golding and Marcus Sedgewick.
- My Name is Mina by David Almond (Hodder) ages 9+
- Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) ages 8+
- Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan) ages 11+
- Momentum by Sacci Lloyd (Hodder) ages 12+
- Moon Pie by Simon Mason (David Fickling) ages 8 +
- Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan (Simon & Schuster) ages 10+
- My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion) ages 10+
- My Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton (Egmont) ages 7+
Great list! It includes 2 of my favourites from the last year, My Name is Mina and Twilight Robbery.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kevin Waldron Wins Wildlife Illustration Award

Illustrator Kevin Waldron has won the Bull-Bransom Award 2011 for his collaborative effort (written by Michael Rosen) 'Tiny Little Fly'. The Bull-Bransom Award is given to honour excellence in wildlife illustration, and  is quite an honour.
"Jackson Hole, Wyoming – May 26, 2011 – Children’s book illustrator Kevin Waldron is the recipient of the 2011 Bull-Bransom Award, announced the National Museum of Wildlife Art of the United States at a reception at the museum last night in Jackson Hole, Wyo.  Waldron was selected for the award, given annually for excellence in children’s book illustration with a wildlife and nature focus, for the 2010 picture book Tiny Little Fly (Walker Books).  Written by former UK Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, Tiny Little Fly champions the little guy as the fly encounters and outthinks a tiger, elephant, and hippopotamus, all rendered by Waldron in bold, colorful double-page spreads.

“Kevin Waldron's illustrations for Tiny Little Fly are a perfect example of how engaging illustrations can bring the printed word to life. He gave personality to creatures ranging in size for the tiny little fly to a great big elephant - on the same page!” said National Museum of Art Curator of Art Adam Harris, who served as one of the judges for this year’s award.  “Waldron’s work exemplifies excellence in contemporary wildlife illustration, making him a wonderful choice for this year's Bull-Bransom Award.”  

The Bull-Bransom Award is given annually in the form of a medal and $5,000.00 cash award.

Congratulations to Kevin!!!