President Michael D. Higgins Announces Laureate na n'Og
Here's the youtube video of Michael D. Higgins announcing Niamh Sharkey as Ireland's second Laureate na n'Og. He tells some marvellous stories himself and talks about children, children's stories, the importance of libraries and children's literature and respecting the integrity of children as readers and as human beings. Oh!!! And his comments about children and actually handling books!!! Just delightful.What a marvellous introduction!
Again, congratulations to Niamh! I'm looking forward to the next two years, because I'm sure it's going to be wonderful.
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…