Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Maeve Friel

It was with utter sadness that yesterday I learned of the death of Maeve Friel. Maeve was an incredible, no, utterly extraordinary woman and I was extremely blessed and privileged to, not only have access to her wonderful catalog of childrens' books, but to know her personally.
Maeve was born in Derry, and was went to University in Dublin. She had lived in many, many places...including a small village in the middle of nowhere in Spain, which became the inspiration for the setting of the marvelous, adventurous Tiger Lily books. (And I was always pretty certain that the inspiration for Tiger Lily was the author herself.) Always generous with her time, energy, knowledge and humour, Maeve lit up the life of every child she met.
She wrote 18 books for children of various ages and many short stories, including the afore-mentioned Tiger Lily books (my personal favourites), the Witch-In-Training series and the moving, exquisite Lantern Moon, for which she won the Bisto Merit Award for 1996/1997 cycle.
Maeve, you will be sorely missed by your friends and colleagues...and all those whose lives you touched. Thinking of your beautiful family at this time. RIP, dear lady.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dept 51 Welcomes Jandy Nelson

Jandy Nelson made an appearance in Dublin yesterday as part of her UK and Ireland tour. (Sadly, I missed her...stupid cold.) Hopefully..you did NOT miss this unique opportunity to meet the most incredible author of young young adult fiction. But if you did, you can, of course, still read her books...and please do, immediately.
Jandy writes with an eloquent, strong, voice filled with insight and feeling, both powerful and gentle at the same time. Her first novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, tells the story of 17 year old Lennie, who has always happily lived in the shadow of her fantastic older sister. But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie finds herself as the star of her own life and struggling with grief, love and all the conflicting emotions that haunt us throughout life. Heart-breaking and uplifting, filled with joy, this is a book that MUST be read.
I'll Give You The Sun, her latest offering, is no less compelling. Twins Jude and Noah were incredibly close...at one point. The a family tragedy drives them apart and shatters their world. Told in the alternating voices of the twins, Noah at age 14 and Jude at 16 (after the event), each carries only one half of the story and must find their way back to each other. The impact of this book is breath-taking....beautiful, fearless and revealing. Just read it....you'll see what I mean.
So, sorry to have missed you, Jandy. Safe home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fiona's Birds for Syria

Hello! I'm back!
Before I enter into my 'Mary plays Catch-up' game that I have to play all too frequently (spoiler alert: that is about to change), I want to bring Fiona Gibson's fundraising efforts to your attention. We are all aware of the horrific conditions and the plight of the Syrian refugees that are in the news. The stories are appalling, heart-breaking and frightening, particularly the stories of the dangers faced by thousands upon thousands of children caught up in this situation. But it becomes overwhelming, and so difficult to feel that we can do something to help.
Author and journalist Fiona Gibson (http://fionagibson.com/) has created a unique fundraising effort that allows you to support Save the Children's refugee fund and receive a beautiful, unique piece of artwork, while giving just £10. Recently, Fiona has been creating a series of mini birdcage artworks based on vintage postage stamps and it gave her an idea of how to raise some funds to support the refugee children. For a £10 donation via her JustGiving page, you can buy on of these gorgeous little pictures and help Save the Children's refugee fund. For more information. just click the link below. It will tell you everything you need to know.
Please help if you can...if you find yourself unable to donate, please spread the word.