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Showing posts from May, 2014

Bank Holiday Tuesday (???) Event

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So, we all know there's a Bank Holiday Monday coming here in Ireland, making this a long weekend. But it came to my attention that some of the schools (here in Galway, anyway) have the following Tuesday off as well! (Just so we're clear...it will be important in a minute...that's Tuesday, 3rd of June). Whatever will we do with the kids to make sure they have a fantastic day?
It just so happens, I have a solution for some of you. On Tuesday, the 3rd of June at 11:30am, Dubray Books Galway branch (4 Shop Street) will be hosting an author event that will suit girls aged 10 + years to the tea. Sheila Agnew will be with us talking about her brilliant new book: Evie Brooks is......Marooned in Manhattan.

"After Evie Brooks’ mother dies, she is forced to go live with her uncle Scott, a vet in New York City: between the pets, their owners, Scott and his lawyer girlfriend, the Summer quickly becomes a whirlwind of change and activity!"

Lively, funny and fast-paced, this …

CBI Conference: Using the "F" Word...day 2

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Sorry...two days later I'm returning to my musings on the conference. It was just as brilliant as day one, but exhaustion set in, as did time to absorb all the wonderful (and occasionally weird) failures that lead to success.
(Included.... how about some poor quality conference photos? (Sorry, dead camera on the first day...I'm sure I mentioned it....)
There was a bit of scheduling reshuffle, as Laura Dockrill couldn't be with us. But Rachel Bright stepped in a the last minute and filled the gap beautifully. Rachel describes herself as a wordsmith and eternal optimist, and she certainly is a Renaissance woman. Her background is that primarily of a printmaker (something near and dear to my own heart), having attended Bristol University where she learned etching and letterpress. (Ahhhh...letterpress.....) In the creation of her fantastic work (both stationary and childrens' books) his has served her well. Brights' books include What Does Daddy Do and the Love Monster s…

CBI Conference: Using The "F" Word

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First of all, I have to tell you all that my camera battery died first thing yesterday. All I have (photographically speaking) are a few very poor photos from my phone and a couple that I have borrowed (and by borrowed, I mean robbed) from a couple of colleagues at the conference. There is something poignant about failure in that for me. What it gave me was the opportunity to fully listen, without the worry of getting a photo record of the day....very liberating!
Yesterday was just wonderful. The conversation between Elaina Ryan and our new childrens' laureate, Eoin Colfer was enlightening and entertaining as he reflected on his own background, family and what this new office was bringing. Eoin is (as we have had a taste of for many years now) a true story-teller; and I, for one, am counting on him to fulfill his promise to "find you and tell you a story." There are so many children out there who desperately need that in their lives.
The day was filled to the brim with f…

CBI Conference: Talking About the "F" Word....Failure

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So...here I am in Dublin, as I always am this time of year, for the annual Childrens' Books Ireland Conference. This year we will be talking about the "F" word.....failure. A very exciting schedule is lined up for us this year, including the very first CBI address from our new childrens' laureate; Eoin Colfer. Joining him today will be a host of childrens' writers from near and far including Leslie Patricelli, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, Leslye Walton, Sheila Agnew,Patricia Forde and David Mackintosh. Just can't wait....and I won't have to. Registration begins in a hour!
Just check out this schedule:

.....and watch this space. There will be further evidence.
http://www.childrensbooksireland.ie/conference-and-events/

CBI Book of the Year Awards 2014

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The CBI Book of the Year Awards 2014 have been announced! Now in their 24th year, big, big congratulations go out to:

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (author and illustrator extraordinaire!) has won the overall Book of the Year Award, as well as the Judge's Honour Award for her marvellous novel, Hagwitch. Hagwitch takes us on a remarkable journey between 16th century London and the modern day to spin a spell-binding tale.

The Children's Choice Award went to Oliver Jeffers for his illustrations in The Day the Crayons Quit (author: Drew Daywalt). This award is chosen by Junior Juries throughout Ireland.


Paula Leyden received the Judge's Special Award for her brilliant novel The Sleeping Baobab Tree. The judges said, ‘Combining robust character development with vivid descriptions of the Zambian landscape, Leyden skilfully creates an evocative and atmospheric narrative that explores themes of friendship, family and human rights.’

And finally, this years' Honour Award for Illust…

It's Storytime...again!

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Here's an open invitation to EVERYONE. Come in to Dubray Books Galway branch on Saturday, 10th of May at 11:30am for STORYTIME!
This week, I'll be reading the colourful, wonderful books of Chris Haughton, beginning with
SHH.....WE HAVE A PLAN

Also, I won't forget OH NO, GEORGE and A BIT LOST.... and a bit of colouring and some stickers, as well.
So, see you there, everyone!

It's Eoin Colfer!!!!!

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As you may have been aware, today we came to the close of Laureate na n'Óg Niamh Sharkeys' term. Niamh was a wonder for the past two years, and we have all been anxiously awaiting the answer to the question; who will be Irelands' third childrens' laureate? Well.....
IT'S EOIN COLFER!!!!!
...and I haven't stopped smiling since I heard the news. This is going to be sooooo cool! (Sorry, I'm a wee bit excited.)
Colfer was quoted as being "incredibly honoured and incredibly petrified" to be following in the footsteps of Niamh Sharkey and Siobhán Parkinson.

“I feel I am representing my family and my county and indeed all book people in Ireland, which is not something I mean to take lightly. I intend to spend my time spreading stories to every nook and cranny in the country. “Nobody is safe. It doesn’t matter where you hide – I will find you and tell you a story,”

Quite frankly, I'm counting on…

Robert Dunbar on the Upcoming CBI Book of the Year Awards

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In todays' Irish Times, there is a thought-provoking article focusing on the upcoming CBI Book of the Year Awards by Robert Dunbar. As Irelands' premiere authority on childrens' literature, Dunbar has devoted a lifetime to the consideration of excellence in the field, so when he speaks, I think it is most wise to listen. In what is a rather brief article, Dunbar gives a lot up for consideration. He is very good at that....making you think. The aspect Dunbar would like you to consider here is this notion of excellence; what does it mean and where are we with it today. For example, the Eilís Dillon Award (for first-time writers) is sadly missing from the CBI Awards list for one reason only; that no 'first-time' submission was deemed worthy of inclusion in the shortlists.
I don't want to belabour this post with endless thoughts on Dunbars' thoughts, but I do think it's worth considering this question of excellence and where we stand with it. The shortlist …