MYSTICAL JOURNEY: To The Island by Patricia Forde

The island of Hy-Brasil has long haunted Irish legend. As the stories go, this magical island appears off the west coast of Ireland just once every seven years...and for one night only. Over time, many have ventured out to find the island. Some explorers of old have even charted its' location on maps and in their explorers journal. But are these just the dreams of old sailors? Is Hy-Brasil merely the subject of old poems and songs? We may soon find out. For the next scheduled appearance of Hy-Brasil is this year; 2020! And to celebrate, here is one little girls' story...

author: Patricia Forde
illustrator: Nicola Bernardelli
Little Island Books (10 September 2020)
ISBN: 9781912417513
Fia longs to go to the magical island of Hy-Brasil, where the air is thick with secrets and mystical beings. Her dreams are filled with this longing as she gazes out the window of her Galway home. Then one night, a mist appears, swirling around her and whispering "Come away, come aw…

THE MUSIC OF FOLK TALES: The Quiet Music Of Gently Falling Snow by Jackie Morris

Over 15 years ago, best-selling author and illustrator Jackie Morris was commissioned by  the charity Help Musicians UK to create designs for Christmas Cards. Each of the 16 images, filled with complex detail and exquisite rendering were produced at the rate of one per year. As you can imagine, these were the type of Christmas cards that you held onto, gazed at over and over again and cherished.
Based on those images, Jackie created this book, which has now been republished in a compact gift edition...

author/illustrator: Jackie Morris 
Graffeg Ltd. (20 August 2020)
ISBN: 9781912654987
A lyrical collection of interconnected folk-tale type stories that have been "worked backwards" (in Jackies' own words) woven in and around the commissioned illustrations, this book is simply extraordinary.
The stories unfold intuitively, creating a landscape and journey fired by the ever-present music that establishes a path of sound and feeling. There …


Dolores loves bees! She had been learning and researching bees and became inspired to write a picture book to share her knowledge and information with children to aid their understanding and appreciation of these marvelous little creatures that do so much for life on planet Earth. So 12 years ago, her picture book journey began with a wonderful book called "If I Were A Bee." Since that time, she has published 12 more childrens' books (one with some storytelling help by her grandchildren), all with her beautiful, instantly recognisable painterly illustrations. And now, we are back to the bees with her latest...Dee the Bee.Dee the Beeauthor/illustrator: Dolores KeaveneyStarfish Bay Childrens Books (1 September 2020)ISBN: 9781760360962Do you know what you would do if you were a bee? One bee; Dee the Bee is very busy! It's her job to pollinate all the fruits and vegetables she can  possibly find, flying from plant to plant, garden to garden, tree to tree. Pollination isn…

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER: Somewhere To Go, Adventures To Have

Here we are in August, trying to squeeze in that last moment of summer holiday before we (fingers and toes crossed) get the kids back to school. But it is difficult. Traveling away from our immediate surroundings is, and in these pandemic times, should be restricted. We need to stay safe and well! And maybe you aren't in the position to go anywhere! But we are all restless, particularly when thinking about what to do to give our children some joy, to have adventures. Picturebooks can help! There's a big, wide world out there, filled with laughter, excitement and wonder...and who knows? Some of these may inspire you to have some adventures of your own....even if you have nowhere to go. The Walloos' Big Adventure by Anuska Allepuz (Walker Books ISBN: 9781406362411) takes us away from their small, rocky island on an tropical-exotic island adventure all of Little Walloos' own devising. The entire clan gets pulled in, just as excited about sailing away as Old Walloo and Litt…


It's official! Today is the publication day of Molly and the Lighthouse by Malachy Doyle, exquisitely illustrated by Andrew Whitson; published by Graffeg Ltd! I have been waiting to wish a very Happy Book-Birthday to this, the third book in the wonderful Molly stories (fourth, if you count the special download colouring/activity book, Molly and the Shutdown...which I do. Wonderful story!) And it was well worth the wait!
In case you haven't been reading them, here's a little catch-up: Molly lives on a very small island with her Mum, fisherman Dad and a wonderful collection of island residents, including her best friend, Dylan. Their life may seem quiet enough, but so far they have faced ferocious storms, helped a stranded whale, been caught in the covid_19 shutdown on their isolated little island home; all while displaying great fortitude and a fantastic sense of empathy and community. And now...there's trouble at the lighthouse.
author: Malachy …


In an interruption to my regular posts of journeys in books for this strange summer holiday season, I have to take a moment to celebrate probably the most iconic book illustrator/author working in the world of childrens literature today:
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHIRLEY HUGHES!!! Born on 16th July, 1927, Shirley Hughes has written more than 50 books and illustrated over 200 books, which have sold more than 11.5 million copies worldwide. (You would be hard-pressed to say that you have never seen her work.)  In 1997 (for Dogger) and again in 2003 (for Ellas' Big Chance, her own interpretation of Cinderella), Shirley Hughes won the Kate Greenaway Medals for Childrens Book Illustration. In 2015, she won the inaugural lifetime achievement award from Booktrust. Her illustrations are timeless and heartwarming, capturing glimpses and moments of life in a style that is instantly recognisable; uniquely her own. While best known for her illustrations; she began in the 1950s-1960s by illustratin…


Previously: With summer holiday plans changing dramatically, travel limited and 'stay-cations' looking like the norm this year, lockdowns and home/online-schooling are leaving us all in need of a break; especially the young people in our lives. Social distancing and isolation are causing a new and different type of stress, but I have to say, the kids have been real heroes. They need to be uplifted now more than before; they need to know there are still adventures to be had, friends are still out there and life is still vibrant and exciting.
Books offer many opportunities for young people (well, all of us really) to "get away from it all" and experience life in the realms of the imagination. Whether you're crossing the border into an unknown, magical land, delving into the depths of an historical world or looking at your own surroundings under unusual circumstances, books make any holiday or stay-cation memorable. Here are a few of my very best recommendations that…