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Showing posts from March, 2016

Review Round-Up

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Hello! There have been soooo many fabulous books released in the last couple of months, and it is difficult to keep up....or to find space to review all of them. With that in mind, here are some of the new books that I am recommending, with a small review as to why. In no particular order....
The Secret Life of Daisy Fitzjohn
author: Tania Unsworth
Orion Childrens Books (March 2016)
ISBN: 9781444010268
Daisy Fitzjohn has spent her entire life in the rambling, crumbling Brightwood Hall alone with her mother. She has NEVER left the grounds of the mansion. Her mother spends some time each day carefully wrapping one item as a memory of the day, cataloging their entire life. One day, her mum goes shopping and doesn't return, leaving Daisy alone... and no one outside Brightwood Hall even knows she exists. A stranger arrives with a suitcase, and a plan that threatens Daisys' whole world.
A seemingly improbable story that is eloquent, gripping and suspenseful.Part family drama, part myste…

Galway Launch of Needlework

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If you are in Galway this Friday evening (and why wouldn't you be....), everyone come along to the Galway launch of wonderful Deirdre Sullivan's new YA novel, Needlework.
"Needlework is intricately woven with the rhythm and delicacy of a fine tapestry. It is a book that is both difficult to take and impossible to put down. Sullivan is dealing with an extremely sensitive topic here, and she does so with great subtlety and nuance. The writing is exquisite and poetic, the story, a compelling one that ebbs and flows as you follow. It handles its' subject matter without succumbing to sensationalism and without pushing the reader; a task that is very difficult to achieve. The voice and perception is eloquent, powerful and starkly genuine. The result is a story that needs to be told, needs to be read and considered and felt deeply. I think Tara Flynns' comment sums Needlework up to perfection; "A brutally beautiful book." Needlework is a rare work amo…

CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Short Lists 2016

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This years' shortlists for the coveted CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals were released yesterday.
The CILIP Carnegie is is quite teen/YA heavy, with Patrick Ness aspiring to become the first author ever to win the CILIP Carnegie three times. Thematically, all are linked by issues surrounding secrets and lies, those things that are hidden and must be revealed. All the novels are eloquent and expertly written with a clear understanding of how it feels to be a young person coping in a world of very adult concerns. The list is as follows:
Patrick Ness, The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Frances Hardinge The Lie Tree
Nick Lake, There Will Be Lies
Sarah Crossan, One
Robin Talley, Lies We Tell Ourselves
Kate Saunders, Five Children On The Western Front
Jenny Valentine, Fire Colour One
Marcus Sedgwick, The Ghosts of Heaven

The Kate Greenaway Medal makes a return to traditional picture books, as opposed to lasts years' list. Three of the illustrators on he list, Anthony Browne, Helen Oxenbu…

CBI Book of the Year Awards 2016 Shortlist!

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The Childrens Books Ireland shortlist for the Book of the Year Awards was announced yesterday, Tuesday the 8th of March at the Duncairn Arts Centre in Belfast. This is the 26th year of the most prestigious awards in childrens' literature in Ireland, and what an amazing shortlist! The list includes titles for every age group from picture books through Young Adult titles.
These awards include the wonderful Childrens Choice Award, voted for by children all over the country. This is my favourite award! I have always said if you want to find a really good childrens' book, ask the kids. They will not steer you wrong. So, as I look at the list, of course I have my favourites, but I am wondering what the kids will say.

Here's the list, in no particular order:
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers
Gulliver retold by Mary Webb, illustrated by Lauren O'Neill
The Boy at the Top of the Moutain by John Boyne
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, ullustrated by O…

World Book Day Extravaganza 2016

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Before I move on with the rest of the month, I need to wrap up the goings on of the World Book Day Extravaganza 2016! Friday was the final day and a day which saw me take the reigns completely. I read to 3 wonderful classes, Junior Infants, 4th class and 1st and 2nd class. It was an "excited" day....really nice to see that kind of enthusiasm for books. There were 95 students in all, that day, listening to stories, telling me about their favourite books, asking questions and asking for recommendations...just wonderful! 
A fourth class popped in a bit later in the day to choose their World Book Day books and spend their vouchers (all very organised!) This reminds me to remind you all....though the extravaganza is over (at least here in Galway) for another year,  World Book Day events do continue. Check out their website and find out what's happening near you.
I thought it might be interesting to let you know which of the World Book Day Books was most popular among the yo…

HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY!!! (or the World Book Day Extravaganza - Day 4)

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Yes....Thursday, 3rd of March....World Book Day, indeed!
I hope you all had a wonderful World Book Day. I know we did in the bookshop. Let me begin by letting you know the daily total. 149 local school children visited us today, filled with enthusiasm, questions, favourite books and stories and so much more!
While I began the festivities by reading to one of my best classes of little ones( Blue Penguin by Petr Horacek; The Beginners' Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak...well, it wouldn't be World Book Day if I didn't), the day picked up a whole new pace when Andrew Lane joined us to talk to 3 classes. There was the intrigue and  mystery of his Young Sherlock series (the 6th book of which takes place in Galway!); there was the specialist science of cryptids of the Lost World series; there was "How To Be A Writer In 5 Easy Lessons"....and much, much more! The above statements really do not cover it....there w…

World Book Day Extravaganza - Day 3

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Today was another busy, excited day in the bookshop as the World Book Day Extravaganza continues! I read to 3 very lively classes...some lovely, boisterous little ones who really enjoyed the story-time and a bright, inquisitive older class that thoroughly enjoyed hearing a bit from David Baddiels' The Parent Agency.
But the best part of the day was a visit from Patricia Forde, who spoke to a class from Scoil Ide. Trish shared information about how she became an author, how and why we tell stories and her last book The Wordsmith. She even gave a glimpse into the book she's working on now...but I can't give anything away....apart from this; this is going to be great!
And here's some more photos!



World Book Day Extravaganza 2016 - Day 2

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The World Book Day Extravaganza is rolling right along! This was Day 2, and we opened the festivities with me(!) reading to two wonderful local class groups who were enthusiastic and excited about hearing from such stories as David Baddiels' The Parent Agency, The Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and David Roberts and, my old favourite, Where The Wild Things Are.
But the big event of the day was the amazing Debbie Thomas who made her way to Galway to talk to classes from Scoil Iognaid and Scoil an Linbh Iosa about creating stories (everywhere you go!), reading, how to be a writer and her last book, Class Act.
Today, we hosted a total of 101 area school children; making our new total 216! And there's more to come!
Here's a bit of photographic evidence: