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YOU CAN BE A #2MINUTESUPERHERO: KIDS FIGHT PLASTIC

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"You are probably wondering why we need superheroes. It's simple. We need superheroes to FIGHT PLASTIC and SAVE THE OCEAN. Our oceans are dying because we are using them as a dump, allowing them to fill with plastic, Our plastic rubbish is hurting the creatures that live in or around the ocean. If we don't watch out, rubbish will hurt us, too." It's that simple. We have been making and using plastic since 1907. That's over 110 years of plastic. And as we got good at making plastic, we just made more and more of it. Then, when we've used it, we throw it away. We throw A LOT of it away and it doesn't break down and it doesn't just disappear and most of it ends up in our oceans. It's a real problem...one we need to do something about NOW. We see it on the news everyday. Whole beaches full of plastic; whales and sea turtles and sea birds dying because of the plastic they've eaten..it seems to me like we're swimming in plastic quite literall…

A Strange Kind Of Brave

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Last week, I ventured down to O'Mahony's Bookshop in Limerick for the launch of a truly phenomenal new book by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald; A Strange Kind of Brave. This is Sarahs' fifth book for young people and she simply goes from strength to strength. Her books all deal with children facing some of the biggest challenges imaginable and finding the inner resources to meet them head on. While engaging with some heavy issues, she manages to communicate the stories with humour, imagination and a deeply effective light shining through the dark, making each one not only gripping, but a delight to read; the kind of books that young people will pick up and not want to put down. 
A Strange Kind of Brave is certainly no exception; it's utterly consuming. It will strike a chord and continue to vibrate through the reader long after they have finished the book causing it to be one of those that will be read repeatedly. A Strange Kind of Brave not only tells a deeply fascinating stor…

SUMMER READING 2019: SEVERAL FOR SMALLER FOLK

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Summer is a time for adventure and wonder, wandering and dreaming. And picture books add to the marvels of imagination that every summer day can bring. Here are a few beautiful picture to engage and amaze the smaller folk during these wondrous summer days (and the bigger folk, as well.)

Molly and the Whale by Malachy Doyle, pictures by Andrew Whitson; I have been anxiously awaiting this one to arrive at my door, and today it arrived. And it did not disappoint! In this follow-up to the wonderful Molly and the Stormy; we revisit Molly on her little island to discover that the tide has stranded a whale. Everyone bands together to help the whale, but will she make it back to sea? Absolutely joyous, filled with love and the most exquisite illustrations!
How To Be On The Moon by Viviane Schwarz; a clever and creative picture book that is filled with excitement, adventure and clever dialogue that even grown-ups with enjoy. Anna decides that she and Crocodile will take a journey to the moon! I…

SUMMER READING 2019: SOME MORE FOR SUMMER (MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION)

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As July, and the summer is moving quickly along, it's time to take a look at some more summer reading recommendations. This time, it's the middle-grade (or MG) group, generally intended for children 8 to 11 years or so.(I still, after all these years, have a great resistance to 'age-banding' when it comes to books, but that's a discussion for another day.) We think of this age-range as the golden-age of childrens' reading because it is the time when they are most encouraged and most enthusiastic about books. Libraries all have Summer Reading programmes and the bookshops are filled to the brim with fantastic books to lose yourself in over the summer months. And time some time to read with your children. It matters more than you can ever know. While I know this can be a busy time, there's always time for a good book.
The shelves in any childrens' section can be an overwhelming place, so here are some recommendations to get you going.
Malamander by Thomas …

Oh Wow! It's Cressida Cowell!

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Just a very quick post: I would like to offer my most heartfelt congratulations to Cressida Cowell, who today was appointed the new Waterstones UK Childrens Laureate!
The author of the hugely popular How To Train Your Dragon series, not to mention her latest books, The Wizards of Once; follows 10 previous laureates that include Lauren Child and Chris Riddell (complete list below.) She begins her 2 year incumbency with a giant to-do list. Her mission is to "take on TV" and promises to make the magic of books "urgently available to absolutely everyone." Cowell wants children everywhere to fall in love with reading for pleasure. And, personally, I am right behind her.
Congratulations, Cressida Cowell. The next two years are going to be marvelous and exciting.

Past UK Childrens Laureates:
Quentin Blake (1999-2001)Anne Fine (2001-2003)Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005)Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007)Michael Rosen (2007-2009)Anthony Browne (2009-2011)Julia Donaldson (2011-2013)Malo…

Summer Reading 2019: YA Seven For Summer

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Good morning! Happy July, everyone! So school is out and we are all facing summer holidays, so it's time for a quick post of some recommended summer reading. I'm starting with the YA sector and there are some fantastic books out so far this year (or in the case of one of the above, out very soon.) Generally speaking when we're off for the summer, the trend I notice (especially among the YA reading crowd...and yes, grown-up people, that includes you) is for a bit of escapism. We want to escape into other worlds, other dimensions; but mostly, other peoples' lives. We want to understand how they handle their joys and their tragedies; their impossible situations that would never happen to us (or would they?) And then there is the desire to live vicariously.....
So, very quickly then... (if you want more information about any of the books, check out the review pages. They're all there.)
The Cantankerous Molly Darling by Alvy Carragher is page after page of sheer delight a…

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS- Mental Health, Homelessness & Young People On The Edge

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In July 2018, a truly moving book hit the YA market. Behind Closed Doors deals with young people living under the threat of homelessness due to the action, or inaction of the adults in their world that are supposed to protect them. The characters and their lives are laid out on the page with openness; frankness. Realistically written, it is compelling, riveting and unique in its' content. Far from being dismal or depressing, while it is hard-hitting in its' revelations, it is also filled with humour and kindness.


I had the opportunity to interview author, Miriam Halamhy about her choices in the issues portrayed in Behind Closed Doors and the development of the friendship between two unlikely girls. Her answers, like the book itself, give much pause for thought. Let's see what she has to say....




1.What inspired you to write a book about young people facing the possibility/reality of homelessness? In 1966 as a teenager I saw the film, Cathy Come Home, by Ken Loach on British TV…