Thursday, April 24, 2014

We're Going on a Bear Hunt! (Again!)

If you find yourself in Galway with the kiddies this Saturday (26th April) at 11:30am, do call in to Dubray Books Galway branch, 4 Shop Street. It's storytime and we'll be '...Going on a Bear Hunt.' I'm going to make stick bear puppets with the children, so they'll all have their own bear to take home with them...and, of course it will then be participation time as we read the iconic 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt.' All invited...come join the fun! (I LOVE storytime!)
I'm no Michael Rosen....but then who is? But I'm really looking forward to a great morning! (If there's time after, we may just read another 'hunting' story that's a bit quieter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

We're Going On A Bear Hunt....for 25 Years!

I know everyone out there knows this book... We're Going On A Bear Hunt is 25 years old! So much fun and all the kids love it (Sometimes to the complete distraction of their parents and teachers.) To say Happy Birthday to We're Going on a Bear Hunt; here's a video of the completely fantastic Michael Rosen performing the book that he 'helped make' and has given so much joy to all of us children (big and small) everywhere. Now, everybody! All together now!

Booktrust 2014 Shortlist

Here I am playing catch-up again! At the end of March, Booktrust announced the shortlist for their 2014 Best Book Awards. This is a brand new prize in children's literature, selected solely by the votes of the reading public. There are five age categories, plus a special sixth prize, Best Tech Book, recognising the growing importance of digital storytelling. The final deadline for voting is June 20th, so there's loads of time to read the shortlisted votes and cast your vote on the Booktrust website. The winners will be announced on 2nd July (during Children's Book Week.)
And here are the lists. Better get reading!

0-5 years: Best Picture Book
1) Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo by Amy Sprakes, illustrated by Sarah Ogilivie (Red Fox)
2) Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins (Walker Books)
3) The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty (Alison Green Books)
4) The Storm Whale by Benji Davies (Simon & Schuster)

6-8 years: Best Story
1) Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)
2) Penny Dreadful is a Record-Breaker by Joanna Nadin, illustrated by Jessica Mikhail (Usborne Books)
3) The Great Galloon by Tom Banks (Hot Key Books)
4) Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephen Pastis (Walker Books)

9-11: Best Story
1) Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney (Puffin)
2) The Jade Boy by Cate Cain (Templar)
3) Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Doubleday)
4) The Mysterious Misadventure of Clemency Wrigglesworth by Julia Lee (Oxford University Press)

9-11 years: Best Fact
1) Not for Parents: How to be a Dinosaur Hunter by Scott Forbes, illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock (Lonely Planet)
2) Operation Ouch: Your Brilliant Body by Dr Chris van Tullekan and Dr Xand van Tullekan (Little Brown Young Readers)
3) The Romans: Gods, Emperors and Dormice by Marcia Williams (Walker Books)
4) Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Ivan Evans (Ivy Kids)

12-14 years: Best Story
1) Dead Romantic by C J Skuse (Chicken House)
2) Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin)
3) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin)
4) You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett (Chicken House)

0-14 years: Best Tech
1) Alex Scheffler's Flip-Flap Farm by Alex Scheffler (Nosy Crow)
2) Signed Stories: The Lark in the Ark by Peter Bently, illustrated by Lynne Chapman (ITV SignPost)
3) Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Ed Bryan (Nosy Crow)
4) The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Childrens Books)

Remember: this award is voted on by YOU, the readers, so have a good read of the shortlist and cast your votes on the Booktrust website by 20th of June. Just follow the link below and register with the Booktrust site. By the way, there is tons of other information that Booktrust puts out there. If you love children's literature and want to see every child reading, this is a great site to be in touch with!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waterstones Children's Prize 2014

The Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014 celebrated it's 10th year on Thursday, 3rd of April (this is a little belated, I know...apologies) at a ceremony at it's London Piccadilly flagship store with festivities surrounding the announcement of this years' winners. The prize celebrates new and emerging talent in the field of childrens' literature. Uniquely, this is the only childrens' literature award that is voted for solely by booksellers. So, take a bow, my comrades in the trade; you have chosen very well, indeed.
The overall winner and Best Fiction 5-12 category is:
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Rooftoppers tells the story of Sophie, believed to be an orphan after a tragic shipwreck left her, a small baby, floating in the English Chanel in a cello case. But Sophie believes there is still a chance her mother may have survived. When the Welfare Agency writes, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands. She flees Paris to seek out her mother on her own. Beautiful, lyrical writing and a compelling story about a determined heroine set this novel apart. Simply wonderful!

Winner in the Best Picture Book Category is:
Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and Nicola O'Byrne

A totally grumpy crocodile has fallen into the wrong storybook! He is furious! And he begins to eat his way out; chewing on the pictures, gobbling up the letters.... Are you brave enough to take a peek, or will you slam the book and put it back on the shelf forever more?

And in the Best Book for Teens category, the winner is:
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Brainy geek Harriet Manners is spotted by a modelling agency and lunges at the chance to reinvent herself; from freaky geek to beauty queen. Even if it means hurting her best friend and lying to the people she loves. Easy to follow, fantastically funny and wonderfully engaging.
Congratulations to you all! Well-done!

It's Nearly CBI Conference Time!

The Children's Books Ireland (CBI) annual conference is coming! This fantastic weekend long event is happening on the 24th & 25th of May this year, and am I ever excited! (Just a bit...) This year, as ever, the line-up of speakers is incredible. And the buzz any childrens' literature enthusiast gets from just being there will sustain you for an entire year (guaranteed!)
The theme of this years' conference is "The F Word: Failure". Let's face it; failure stories are far more interesting than success stories and I'm sure we will all be listening most attentively for the moment when each speakers builds through the struggle to that one moment. It's something we all go through....again and again and again....
Have a look at this taster of what's in store. With all that's on offer, how can you NOT want to be there!:

  • A keynote address from Laureate na nÓg 2014-2016
  • A debut writers panel featuring O’Brien Press author Sheila Agnew (Evie Brooks: Marooned in Manhattan), Irish novelist Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (Back to Blackbrick) and American novelist Leslye Walton (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender).
  • Author of the controversial When Mister Dog Bites, Brian Conaghan
  • Performance poet and children’s author Laura Dockrill (Darcy Burdock)
  • Irish language legend and festival director, playwright, teacher and children’s books author Patricia Forde (Mise agus an Dragún etc)
  • Creator of books for the very small Leslie Patricelli (Yummy Yucky etc)
  • lllustrator David Mackintosh (Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School etc)
  • Award winning novelist Jane Mitchell (Chalkline etc)
  • German writer Kirsten Reinhardt (Fennymore and the Brumella)
  • Creator of Dirty Bertie David Roberts
  • Irish based illustrator Steve Simpson (Cáca don Rí etc)
  • Historical fiction writer Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity etc)                                                         

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

International Children's Book Day

Happy April everyone! Spring is here and, as usual, there is much happening in the world of children's books.
Today, April 2nd, is International Children's Book Day! April 2nd is Hans Christian Andersens' birthday, and every year since 1967, this day has been marked as the day to celebrate and call attention to children's books and to continue to inspire a love of reading in the world. Each year, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)designates a different country to sponsor the day and create excitement through a specific theme. This year, Ireland is the sponsor and the theme is Imagine Nations Through A Story. There is huge scope for learning and understanding within this theme.
Ireland's first children's laureate, Siobhan Parkinson has written a wonderful letter to the children of the world. In it she says:
"...the reader is just as important to the story as the writer. There is only one writer for each story, but there are hundreds or thousands, or maybe even millions of readers, in the writers own language, or perhaps even translated into many languages.Without the writer the story would never be born; but without all the thousands of readers around the world, the story would never get to live all the lives it can live...."
So true; so very true. And that is just a small part of the magic of reading For children, even more for all of the grown-ups in the world, the difference reading can make in their own lives and the life of the world, is immeasurable.
My challenge to you for International Children's Book Day (and for the rest of the month) is to read a book with your child(ren) that you might not have considered before; one that speaks to the lives and imaginations of somewhere other than where you live. Translations are freely available everywhere now, so you, too, can experience a different place and time than your own. Trust'll be so glad you did!