Showing posts from 2013

Merry Christmas to you all!

A very Merry Christmas to all of you! (If you don't celebrate Christmas, then a very happy season, whichever holiday you are observing at this time of year.) I hope you have enjoyed the Advent Calendar of Books this year. And I wish you many, many new books for Christmas and all the year long.
I also want to thank all of you who have been checking out Fallen Star Stories this year. Many welcomes to all my new viewers from all around the world. It's always great to see you!The postings have been irregular at times, but life does have a tendency to get in the way of such things. Anyway, I do hope you enjoy enjoy them.
Thank you; much warmth and love and BOOKS!

Tracking Santa

A bit late with this, I know. It has been a manic couple of days in the bookshop, and now I am home and settled into tracking Santa on his worldwide journey via the NORAD Santa Tracker. If you see this, here's the link... and you can track Santa, too!

Some of the Best Childrens' Books!

Here are some of my favourite books for young readers this year. There have been some fantastic books and it is so difficult to select 'the best'. See what you think. In no particular order.....

WAFFLE HEARTS: Lena and Me in Mathildewick Cove
author: Maria Parr translator: Guy Puzey
Walker Books (2013) ISBN: 9781406341362
In a small fjord-side village in Norway, Lena and Trille get up to all kinds of adventures! Singing Christmas Carols in summer for change; re-enacting Noah's Ark, visiting with Auntie Granny; they are always together. Trille knows that Lena is his best-friend, but does Lena feel the same? This book is about friendship, family and living in community. A gentle, fun and warm book that shares all the best traits of writers like Astrid Lindgren!

FLORA AND ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adventures
author: Kate DiCamillo illustrator: K.G. Campbell
Walker Books (2013) ISBN: 9781406345186
Flora Belle Buckman is 10 years old and a self-proclaimed cynic. She is an avid reader …

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 winners have been announced this evening.
Taking the prize in the 7-14 years group is....(drum roll, please!).....
Jim Smiths' Barry Loser: Still Not A Loser
 And in the category for ages 6 and under is.......
A big, hearty chuckle of congratulations to both!
The Roald Dahl Funny Prize was launched in 2008 and celebrates its sixth year. It's goal is to promote laughter and humour when reading. Over 200 school children across the UK participate each year in the judging process for this award... an award given by the readers who really count. The awards were announced at the Cambridge Theatre in London (home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.) The winner in each category has received an award of £2500.... and the laughter and joy of children everywhere.
Follow the link below for more on this year's awards and the complete shortlist...just for laughs!

Favourite Picture Books of the Year

I wanted to share some of my favourite books of the year...and I thought I'd start with the picture books. These are a few of the 'stand-out' picture books from the past 12 months; maybe a few that you haven't thought of yourselves.
As last month was Picture Book Month, hopefully you were looking at the site and learned from 30 'picture book ambassadors' the importance of picture books (in printed form!) in all our lives, not just the lives of our children. And please keep in mind, picture books are not just for the very young or pre-readers. Many are not written for young children (take Sally Gardners' new book 'Tinder' with it's evocative illustrations by David Roberts. That qualifies as a picture book; as does the original edition of 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness with it's illustrations by Jim Kay.) But I digress...
Here a just a few of the wondrous picture books that I particularly loved this year.

author/illustrator: A…

Happy December

Welcome December and all that it brings! Today, in Galway, it was a grey, dismal day...just perfect for curling up with a good book or two; and for contemplating the holiday season and the new books coming our way.
I've begun Mary's Advent Calendar of Books again this year... each day will feature a different book for the season right up to Christmas! There may be some repeats of last years' selection, but some books are too good not to mention again. Check out the page each day...see what you think!
I'll also be making some recommendations of my favourite books of the year and hoping you will find something to delight and entertain the whole family!
So, Welcome December...bring it on!

Closing Michael Morpurgo Month & Picture Book Month

The end of November brings the close of what was both Michaael Morpurgo Month and Picture Book Month. I hope you have spent time reviewing and enjoying your favourites of both.

For the last day of Michael Morpurgo Month, today's book is Kaspar, Prince of Cats; the incredible story of Johnny Trott, bellboy at the Savoy Hotel who is entrusted with the care of Kaspar, Countess Kandinsky's cat and their worldwide journey together that ultimately leads the onboard the Titanic. Enthralling stuff! But then, all of Morpurgos' books are enthralling... he is truly one of the most gifted storytellers of our time.

As we come to the close of Picture Book Month, I want to mention the last two author/illustrators to share Why Picture Books Are Important.
Yesterday, the delightful Mercer Mayer (and his Little Critter) shared a few brief words on the importance of picture books. Mercer Mayer is an old…

Also.... Last Week of Picture Book Month

We have also been celebrating the wonder of picture books this November and are now in the last week of Picture Book Month (as you may have heard!)
Today's entry of Why Picture Books Are Important is written by April Pulley Sayre.

"Of course, how we read picture books—together with loving grandparents, parents, teachers, and librarians—makes picture books a beautiful kind of bonding."

What a lovely and urgently important message! In a world that is all too frequently hurried and hassled, picture books are the perfect opportunity for reconnection and deeper bonding, creating a memory of warmth and comfort that every child will carry with them throughout their lives... and every parent and grandparent will cherish as the years go by. You will never be alone again!

What is your favourite picture book memory?

Last Week... Michael Morpurgo Month

We have entered the last week of Michael Morpurgo Month: celebrating 70 years of this incredible storyteller. Morpurgo has written books for all ages; each one memorable. His body of work encompasses over 120 books since the early 1970's.
Each week, Michael Morpurgo Month has focused on a different theme in his books. This final week, the emphasis is on 'Voyages'; beginning with the beautiful Kensuke's Kingdom, a stunning classic that reads like a dream.
Also included this week will be Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea, Twist of Gold and Kaspar, Prince of Cats.
Take these last few days to bring more Morpurgo into your life.... magic of the most wonderful kind.

Picture Book Month continues... with Rebecca Emberly

Today's post on the Picture Book Month site is by Rebecca Emberly. Rebecca has been writing and illustrating picture books for a number of years now, and she's part of an amazing, creative family. He father, Ed Emberly is an absolute icon in the world of picture books. Her brother is Michael Emberly, another prolific children's illustrator and her sister-in-law is the one and only Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. But Rebecca is a giant in her own right, having written and illustrated over 20 beautiful picture books for young children. Her illustration art is fantastic, using bright clear colours and patterns that amuse and intrigue. Here's a quote from what Rebecca has to say on Picture Book Month:
"The marriage of words and pictures is magical. Long before a child can read, they look at pictures and listen to the sounds you make when reading to them. It brings the world into perspective for a child in a way that nothing else can, while still allowing them to interpre…

And speaking of Picture Books....

And speaking of picture books, here's the link for the New York Times Best Illustrated Books 2013! What a wonderful list! It includes Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer, My Brother's Book by Maurice Sendak, The Dark by Lemony Snicket/illustrated by Jon Klassen and the completely sumptuous Journey by Aaron Becker (review on my Picture Book page.). Wow...just wow!

Picture Book Month Calendar

I know you know it's Picture Book Month by now. I did want to include, at this time, the Picture Book Month Calendar. This outlines which Picture Book Champions will be sharing their thoughts each day throughout November. And you can always go back in time on the site and read or reread any entry from your favourite champion. The first was by the wonderful Tomie DePaolo. Rosemary Wells was there on the 8th. Upcoming exciting author/illustrators include Rebecca Emberly on the 22nd! (She'll be writing on the topic of 'Bugs') And an old family favourite of ours, Mercer Mayer, whose books have delighted us for years is upcoming on the 29th November with his entry on 'Monsters'! Something for every single one of us... ENJOY!

CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 Nominations Announced

All submissions are in and the (rather extensive) lists for both the CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 have been announced. I'm not going to recount the entire list(s) here, because of space considerations. But I will mention a few of my favourites included on the lists.
The criteria for these very prestigious and minutely considered awards are very specific. Even to be nominated is an amazing honour for an author or illustrator.

For the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2014, the list includes:
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
Check out the link below for the complete longlist.

On the list for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014, you'll find included
The Pap…

Rosemary Wells on the Importance of Picture Books

Today's post on Picture Book Month is written by none other than long-time picture book champion, Rosemary Wells. Wells' warm and timeless books have always been a favourite in my house, and I'm sure so many of you reading this have been familiar with her books from your own childhood. In her lifetime, she has produced over 130 books for children of all ages.

My favourite? Noisy Nora! This is a wonderful picture book that chronicles the experience of being the young child in the middle... Jack the baby gets loads of attention; her older sister is soooo clever (and so bossy), so all Nora can do is make a lot of noise. But what happens when Nora decides to leave?
Here's a bit of what Wells has to say on the topic "Why Picture Books Are Important":
"Picture books teach the child to imagine a world which is not immediately present.
They create a huge opportunity for parents to share golden talk time with their kids. Nothing on a screen can do this."
For …

Don't Forget: It's Picture Book Month

I really can't praise this initiative enough and I want everyone to get on board. Picture books are important in the lives of our children... and in our own lives. Picture books are a child's first exposure to literacy, art, to life experience.. to understanding the world. That simple act that we all take for granted (and in an IT world... sometimes distain) of turning the page does more for the development of a child than we realise. One of my own enduring memories is that of sitting on the floor in the front room with my books.... MY books... and turning the page; back and forth pondering for hours the intricacies of the pictures within, studying the faces and the scenes to glean every last detail and always finding something new! (Though, of course, at the time I would not have expressed it as such. I was just "reading".)
Each day the Picture Book Month website includes a post from a different Picture Book Champion. Though I'd include a few quotes here to get…

Little Island Book Sale

Here's another quick entry, just to alert you all...there is so much going on in the world of children's books at the moment.
Those brave and wonderful people at Little Island are having a sale for teachers and schools. Check this out!
Fantastic books; all of them!


This is just a quick shout out... wouldn't want you to miss it!
Today is the day! The day you've been waiting for...... OUT NOW...right now!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: HARD LUCK
You just can't keep a Wimpy Kid down... though, given all he's been through, I'm not so sure he's all THAT wimpy.....

(And now for my ever present plea: This will be available in every bookshop on the planet. Please support your local independent bookshop.)

It's Also Picture Book Month!

November is also designated as Picture Book Month! This is an international initiative that sets out to celebrate the picture book in print form. The world needs picture books.  In a digital age, we are being sold the idea that printed books are becoming a thing of the past...outmoded and unnecessary. Not true, I say! And especially not true of picture books.There is nothing more satisfying, no memory evoked so strongly throughout life as the turning of a physical page in a picture book. The instigation of visual literacy is what fires us on to be able to read at all, and reading a picture is where it all starts...and where it continues. It is in fact our first experience of art in our lives. So important in many ways, I was absolutely delighted to learn of this initiative and invite you all to celebrate November with your favourite picture books. (By the way...I shouldn't have to say this but you are never....NEVER...too old for picture books!)
Here's the link to the Picture…

Welcome to Michael Morpurgo Month!

Here we are in November; nearly at the year's close. And this is quite a special November. This November is Michael Morpurgo Month! In honour of his 70th birthday (which occurred on the %th of October), this November has been designated to honour one of the most prolific and well-loved children's authors of all time. Each day throughout November, a different book will be highlighted. (As it's the 3rd, today's book is The Dancing Bear.) Also, there are online interviews and events with Mr. Morpurgo himself.
His books have truly charmed and fascinated us all for many, many years. Take time this month to read and reread your favourites. Some favourite old titles have been relaunched with new covers and a new bind-up collection; Of Lions and Unicorns: A Lifetime of Tales from the Master Storyteller, is available now containing the most comprehensive collection of Morpurgo writing to date.
The website will give you every bit of information you need to know about Michael Mor…

Happy Haunting!

Good morning! Just a quick notification for all of us in Galway. Today, in the city centre, there will be a Halloween Treasure Hunt. Put on your costumes and gather the family at Brown Thomas on Shop at 3pm and get your maps of all the shops participating in this year's treasure hunt. Then, off you go! The object is to go to all the businesses on the maps, collect a stamp or sticker from each (and some Halloween goodies, as well.) The arrive back at Brown Thomas by 4:15pm. Each child presenting a full map will receive more goodies and... one lucky child will receive a prize for the best costume! Halloween fun for everyone!
Now... before the treasure hunt, you will definitely want to be at the Galway City Museum. From
2pm to 3pm, the brilliant Rab Fulton will be there to delight you with some scary Halloween stories! (You've not been scared until you've been scared by Rab!) All the family from ages 7+ are welcome. Rab is so great... don't miss it! (I'll have to mi…

Roald Dahl Funny Prize!

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 shortlist has been announced!
Each year, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize celebrates the funniest books for children in two categories: for children under six and for children aged 7 to 14 years. This year's shortlist features a host of yeti's, bottoms, weasels, geeks and parents out of control (among others.) There have been six books selected in each category, and the winner of each will receive £2500. The prize will be presented in an awards ceremony on Tuesday, December 10th at the Cambridge Theatre in London.
As ever, this year's judging panel is chaired by the incisive Michael Rosen. The panel consists of author/illustrator Sarah McIntyre, comedian John Kearns, columnist for the Guardian Marina Hyde and last year's winner in the 7-14 category, Jamie Thomson.
And the shortlists are:
Funniest Book for Children Aged 6 and Under:
Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)Spaghetti With the Yeti by Adam and Charlotte Guillain, illustrated by Lee Wildis…

MS (Ireland) Read-A-Thon 2013

Anyone out there involved in the MSI Read-A-Thon?
The Read-A-Thon is running from October 11 through November 11 and here in Ireland, it's the longest-running sponsored reading event for children. Going strong for three decades... WOO-HOO!
As always, there are prizes to be won and great activities to get involved in. But have you ever wanted to be a book reviewer? We all have those absolutely favourite books that we want to shout about to the whole world. Here's a great opportunity for young book reviewers!
You can now write those reviews and submit them online on the MSI website. Why not help out all the other MS Read-A-Thon book-bots who are wondering what to read next? Write a review of any (or all!) of the books you are reading for the MSI Read-A-THon and submit them straight away! All reviews will be published on the website, so be sure to check back every week to see your reviews and find out what everyone else is reading. Just follow the link.....…

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize has been awarded this evening to the wonderful Rebecca Stead for her latest offering, Liar & Spy. (See review on What Are You Reading page)
Judges Julia Eccleshare, Andy Mulligan (author of Ribblestop), Jason Wallace (Out of the Shadows) and Hilary McKay have made the decision from a formidable list of contenders, which included John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and David Almond's The Boy Who Swan With Piranhas.The rules first opened up to include US writers in 2012.
Eccleshare said of the book;
"It's a novel about how children have to navigate the world, and it has an open-handedness which means that readers may be surprised as to where it finishes."
Rebecca Stead's second book, When You Reach Me, won the covetted Newbery Medal in 2010.
Congratulations, Rebecca Stead, for your truly insightful and mesmerising story.