Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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 miss it, I'm afraid... I'll be at work, so call in to say 'trick-or-treat'.)
So... remember... 2 to 3pm; spooky Halloween stories with Rab. Then run to Brown Thomas to collect your treasure hunting maps!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

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 Wildish (Egmont)
  • Troll Swap by Leigh Hodgkinson (Nosy Crow)
  • Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty (Simon and Schuster)
  • Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo by Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Sara Oglivie (Red Fox, Random House Children’s Books)
  • Noisy Bottoms by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Mark Chambers (Usborne)
Funniest Book for Children Aged 7 to 14 Years:
  • The Grunts All At Sea by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Axel Sheffler (Nosy Crow)
  • My Parents Are Out of Control by Pete Johnson (Yearling, Random House Children’s Books)
  • Pants Are Everything by Mark Lowery (Scholastic)
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins)
  • Fish-Head Steve!  by Jamie Smart (David Fickling Books)
  • I Am Still Not a Loser by Jim Smith (Egmont, Jelly Pie)

Friday, October 25, 2013

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.....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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.

Red House Book Awards 2014

The shortlists for the Red House Book Awards 2014 are out now! Children and young adults all across the UK are being asked to vote for their favourites from three categories, that include former UK Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson, Alex T. Smith for the latest in his absolutely delightful Claude series, and the marvellous Eoin Colfer. This is the only UK nationwide book award voted for entirely by children, so it is a real honour.
Voting will close in mid-January, and the winners will be announced at the Southbank Centre on Saturday the 22nd of February. Good luck to everyone on the shortlist!
Here are the categories:
Books For Younger Children
Superworm, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Walter and The No Need To Worry Suit,
by Rachel Bright (HarperCollins)
How To Hide A Lion, by Helen Stephens
(Alison Green Books)
Hippospotamus, by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
Books For Younger Readers
The Land of Neverbelieve,
by Norman Messenger (Walker)
Atticus Claw Breaks The Law,
by Jennifer Gray
(Faber & Faber)
Claude In The Country,
by Alex T Smith
(Hodder Children's Books)
Books For Older Readers
 Killing Rachel, by Anne Cassidy
The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey
The Reluctant Assassin, by Eoin Colfer
Here's the link that will take you straight to the website so you can vote. Remember, you have until mid-January, young readers of the UK! Make your vote count!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ursula Le Guin!

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my favourite fantasy writers, Ursula Le Guin! This marvellous and gifted lady was born on October 21st, 1929, which makes her 83 years young today.
Having won dozens upon dozens of awards for, well, just about everything she's written; it would be a ridiculously long entry to list her books. I will say, the Earthsea books have had a lasting impact on me, and are probably responsible for creating such a love of fantasy literature in my heart. In particular, the third in the series, The Farthest Shore... simply wonderful.
So again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And thank you.

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Robert Dunbar's Favourite Books....after 25 years!

In today's Irish Times, Ireland's ultimate authority on children's literature celebrates 25 years of reviewing, recommending and commenting on children's books. Robert includes twelve books which, over these years, continue to have impact after multiple readings.
Some of my favourites from his list are Airman by Eoin Colfer; the new (and last) in the Father of Lies Chronicles, Arthur Quinn and Hell's Keeper by Alan Early; Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd.... oh, let's face it; they're all brilliant choices!

Monday, October 14, 2013

October... a busy time for children's literature!

Just a brief entry here...
Well, the CBI Kid's Lit Fest is in full swing with still plenty to see and plenty to do. I won't go on and on. Just get yourselves down to you local library or bookshop and pick up the Kids Lit Festival brochure with hundreds of reviews and recommendations on new books for children of all ages!
Here's the link to the CBI Festival programme, where you can kind out what's going on in your area. Check it out!

And if you're in Galway... it's Baboro time! That's right.. Baboro; the international arts festival for children. While the schools have already scheduled their events for the children, you might want to see what else is going on.
Here's the link:

Please, please go and have a good look at Pictuir... a brilliant exhibition of Irish Children's Book Illustration at the Galway Arts Centre on Dominick Street. Curated by our own Laureate na Nog, Niamh Sharkey, it's been touring internationally and now is your chance to see it in Galway! Oh, don't forget the kids.....

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Andrew Lane was here!

As you well know by now, Andrew Lane was here! On Thursday, 3rd October he regaled over 80 mesmerised school children from St. Nicholas Parochial School and Scoil Iognaid in Galway with his stories of Young Sherlock Holmes, how the series came about, becoming an author... just about everything you could want to know.
Here's the evidence....

So a big, big thank you to Andrew and to David Adamson from Macmillan for giving us an absolutely outstanding day! And if any of you Sherlock fans out there haven't read the books yet, what are you waiting for??? (The latest in the series.. Knife Edge...takes place in Galway.)