Wednesday, February 29, 2012

World Book Day Extravaganza... Day 3

What an incredible day this was!!!! Nicola Pierce came all the way down to Galway to speak to 4 5th/6th year classes from local schools about her wonderful book Spirit of the Titanic. She shared a wealth of information about the Titanic and the lives of the people for ever changed or lost by that one fateful day.
Told from a completely unique perspective, Spirit of the Titanic is one book you all must read.
Many, many thanks to Nicola for an event none of us will ever forget!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

World Book Day Extravaganza.... Day Two

At Dubray Books, Galway, it was another busy World Book Day event day, with 118 children from local schools coming through the shop. Today they were entertained by! reading to two classes.  But even more exciting than that, the magnificent Patricia Forde read to two local class groups. She had some 'secret' new works that she shared with the children, helped them create their own stories and read from Binji, and great favourites, Frogs Do Not Like Dragons and Hedgehogs Do Not Like Heights. What a brilliant day!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

World Book Day Extravaganza... Day One

My favourite week begins... excited!
Yes, day one of the World Book Day Extravaganza (Dubray Books, Galway) is done and dusted; and what a brilliant start to the week! Here's some photographic evidence....

Kevin Whelan reads his work to enthralled 3rd class students.

A very animated Rab Swannock Fulton entertains...

... two local school classes with his scary tales.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'A Monster Calls' wins Red House Book Award

A Monster Calls has been awarded  the Red House Children's Book Award 2012. The Red House Book award is unique in that it is voted for only by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by children's book groups across Britain. Over 80,000 votes were cast this year and the winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the South Bank centre as part of the 2012 Image Festival. Big congratulations to Patrick Ness!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

World Book Day.. two weeks and accounting!

It's exactly two weeks until the actual World Book Day! (so ridiculously excited!) I'm pleased to report that, at Dubray Books, Galway, we're all set for a knock-out week! Five days, 18 sessions and a wonderful group of authors and story-tellers; not to mention the all-important and totally fabulous school classes who are all lined up and ready to go!
We have the following wonderful people who have graciously donated their time to make this the most wonderful World Book Day extravaganza ever.... so many, many thanks in advance to:
Rab Swannock Fulton
Kevin Whelan
Patricia Forde
Nicola Pierce
Dolores Keveaney
and Maeve Friel.....
This is going to be great!
And to all of you out there... make sure your children have received their World Book Day €1.50 tokens from the schools. The tokens can be used to purchase one of the books specially produced for World Book Day; or they can be used against the cost of any other book. (One token per book) The tokens are valid from  27th February through 25th of March.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Congratulations to Mary Arrigan

Mary Arrigan has just received high praise indeed for her childrens' novel The Rabbit Girl. This beautiful, gentle and intriguing book has been selected as one of the Outstanding International Books 2012 by the Committee of the United States Board on Books for Young People. This is a wonderful read crossing generations with a surprise revelation; charming, literate and exquisitely written with both a fascinating plot line and memorable characters. But I'm just going to let you read the information for yourselves.


Author Mary Arrigan’s latest teen novel. The Rabbit Girl (published by Frances Lincoln UK), has been selected by the Committee of The United States Board on Books for Young People as one of the forty Outstanding International Books 2012 worldwide. The Rabbit Girl is set in three layers - thirties Ireland,
World-War II in London and Windermere, and in modern day London which features the irrepressible Mallie and her friend         who set about reorganising Mallie’s mum’s love-life. Linking all the strands of the narrative together is a delicate sketch of a rabbit.
The novel has also been short-listed in England for the Calderdale Award and the Hillingdon Book Of the Year.

Mary, who has 42 books published so far, is no stranger to international recognition as many of her books have been translated into 10 languages. Past awards include The International White Raven (Munich) and the Bisto Merit Award. Her adult short stories have won The Hennessy Literary Award and the Sunday Times Crime Writers Award.

Extracts from reviews of The Rabbit Girl.:

Touching and cleverly crafted, how the stories different times are linked through a picture is ingenious and wholly absorbing. Julia Eccleshare (The Guardian UK)

 What a lovely book! Beautifully written, a cracking story, and a pleasure to read. I am so glad I came across this novel. (Goodreads UK)

The Rabbit Girl is a subdued tale that reverberates with human resilience overlaid her characteristic suspense. Mary Shine Thompson (The Irish Times)

In addition to The Rabbit Girl, Mary Arrigan has also written The Choclate Moon, Esty's Gold... and many, many other wonderful reads for young people.
Congratualtions, Mary!!!

Belfast Children's Festival

Young at Art presents the 14th annual Belfast Children's Festival! This is an oppotunity not to be missed. With so many workshops, performances and events for children of all ages available to take part in from the 9th to the 16th of March, you're sure to find something to enlighten, entertain and plain enjoy. But, try to book early. Loads of the events sold out in advance last year. The highlights this year will include: Garrett Carr (in association with No Alibis) on Friday March 16 at 6:30pm,  Once Upon A Time: Create your very childrens book on Saturday & Sunday March 10 and 11 for ages 7+,  Making Art in Public Spaces for ages 9 to 11 on Saturday March 10, the Festival In A Weekend on the Belfast Waterfront... so very much more! What are we waiting for? Here's the link for more information:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Julia Donaldson Writes poem for Library Day

Today is National Library Day in the UK, where the people have banded in support of public libraries. Children's Laureate and author, Julia Donaldson, has put pen to paper (of course!) and released a poem in praise of libraries and to make it very clear that the fate of the public libraries rests in people's need for them and the expression of that need... in a very light-hearted and fun way. (I'd love to see this become a picture book!)And here it is:
Library Poem by Julia Donaldson
Everyone is welcome to walk through the door.
It really doesn't matter if you're rich or poor.
There are books in boxes and books on shelves.
They're free for you to borrow, so help yourselves.
Come and meet your heroes, old and new,
From William the Conqueror to Winnie the Pooh.
You can look into the Mirror or read The Times,
Or bring along a toddler to chant some rhymes.
The librarian's a friend who loves to lend,
So see if there's a book that she can recommend.
Read that book, and if you're bitten
You can borrow all the other ones the author's written.
Are you into battles or biography?
Are you keen on gerbils or geography?
Gardening or ghosts? Sharks or science fiction?
There's something here for everyone, whatever your addiction.
There are students revising, deep in concentration,
And school kids doing projects, finding inspiration.
Over in the corner there's a table with seating,
So come along and join in the Book Club meeting.
Yes, come to the library! Browse and borrow,
And help make sure it'll still be here tomorrow.

In a number of counties in the UK, there have been successful campaigns against library closures... but elsewhere, there have been many losses. This includes a court attempt to save six libraries in Brent, north-west London.
What would we do without our libraries??????

Thursday, February 2, 2012

'A Wrinkle In Time' Turns 50!

This year, the book, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle is celebrating it's 50th year of publication. (I'm sure I mentioned this as upcoming sometime last year... and thanks to David Maybury for the blog reminder). A truly incredible journey of a book... if you haven't ever read it, you really should. Give it to your children, share it in the classroom... please, please pick up this book ASAP. If you have read it, read it again. It will amaze and enchant you all over again.
Also, one of the best books of last year is Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, which was written (in part) as a tribute to Madeleine L'Engle's outstanding story.
Happy 50th Birthday, A Wrinkle In Time. You gave me more years of joy than I could have imagined. (But that's what great books do!)

p.s. I will also take the opportunity to remind you that another great childrens' contemporary classic The Phantom Tollbooth turned 50 last year! What a great time it was for children's literature..... (and other nostalgic thoughts....)

The 20 Most Beautiful Bookshops in the World

On this chilly February morning (February 2nd...Happy Groundhog Day, by the way), here's a link for 'The Most Beautiful Bookshops in the World'. Pointed out by our good friends at Children's Books Ireland, they really are spectacular. If you're feeling particularly cold and dismal, check out the bookshop in Ojai, California (above and link via Book Chatter blog to more of Bart's Books 2nd below). It'll warm you right up!