Showing posts from 2014


Interesting bit of information for all you bibliophiles...and all of us in general. In Iceland, in the run-up to Christmas, the country absolutely revels in its' annual jólabókaflóð ; which is Icelandic for "Christmas book flood". This refers to the fact that new books are generally only published during the Christmas season in Iceland. All newly published books are listed in a catalog-type annual called the Book News ( bókatíðindi) and distributed free to every household. On Christmas Eve, Icelandic people open their gifts (books, of course) and then spend the rest of the evening reading, snuggle up in bed with books and, perhaps, some chocolate. This is a traditional mainstay of the culture. The Icelandic passion for books and literature dates back to the Middle Ages. The volume of books published, purchased and read per year out-strips other countries by a significant margin. And it doesn't show any signs of slowing down. To the good book-loving people of Ic

Getting Ready for Santa

It's been so very, very busy this year! I can hardly believe we're at the 22nd of December. At home and at work, I've still so much to and I just know that, once again (like most of you) it will be right down to the wire. I hope you've been enjoying the Advent Calendar of Books page. It's a joy for me each Christmas season. Todays' entry had to be How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We need a little reminder this time each year to remember why we enter into all this madness. Look  at all the little Whos surrounding you; enjoy the wonder and joy in their hearts and eyes and be a little bit more like that! As Santa will be coming in just under 2 days (depending on where you are on the globe), once again it's time to prepare to track him on his voyage...fabulous fun. A big thank you to NORAD for setting this up all those years ago. Here's the link so you can join in.... and work out when Santa will be arriving to your home! (I get soooo excited....) http

Tenth of December

Happy Book-mas! I don't know what it is about this day. When we reach the tenth of December, everything seems much more's actually happening. Here, in Galway, the weather has hit, the winds are howling, showers of rain burst out of the sky and we are all grateful to be warm... but we are all really busy!!! Don't let the rush of the season take over so easily. It's not about the's about the time. Take the time to read with your children, have hot chocolate and biscuits in the evening before bed, wear warm socks...and ENJOY! This season comes but once a year.

Books for winter!

I hope you are all enjoying the Advent Calendar of Books. It is one of my favourite ways to share a selection of wonderful books to make the winter and the holidays a wondrous time. Nothing beats snuggling up with a great book. This is a habit I encourage from childhood through to old age. In the bookshop, I've devoted a shelf in the 8-12 section. A small but fantastic selection to warm the heart, mind and imagination in the dreary winter months. I thought I'd give you all a glimpse..... From left to right, the books are: The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell...a favourite from last year, now out in paperback. And what a gem it is! The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck....a magical dream of a tale that transports you from Charitys' privileged isolated world into another realm. Winterkill by Kate Boorman...The Councils' rules are strict and suffocating, but necessary for the good of the settlement. Grave danger awaits any who venture to the other side of the

Welcome December

Christmas Bookshelf Advent Calendar/ Bodleian Libraries Shop Oxford University Here it is...the first of December! Where has the year gone? I just wanted to let you all know I have begun my seasonal page... .Mary's Advent Calendar of Books . I started this a few years ago, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to keep it as a feature every year. Each day (up until the 25tth of December), I'll post a daily suggestion for a wonderful book of the season. Some of them will have Christmas themes; others are more generally winter related.There will be picture books, novels for young readers, young adult books....some old favourites, some brand new! I hope to have a little something to suit everyone; but mostly, I hope you'll all enjoy them. To start the page off right, my first entry is Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson. I just love Moomins! So, keep watching....there will be a new book each day. p.s. The image I've used above is from the Bodleian Libraries Shop

Picture Book Month...the final day

I hope you have all been savouring Picture Book Month. But we've made it through November and the final entry has been posted. I think it really is the perfect post with which to bring this month long celebration of picture books to it's close. The Picture Book Champion of the day is Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and the focus of the day is creativity. As we grow up, we seriously do forget how much picture books meant to us as children, and how much they coloured our lives; the magic and wonder they bring; how very important they were to us. I could continue, and certainly will at a later date, but Debbie's entry says it all. "Picture books are important because childhood is important. Picture books help inspire today’s young people into becoming tomorrow’s thought leaders. Picture books help create a lifelong love of reading. Picture books enable even the busiest of us to enjoy a good story in just a few minutes. In a world where so much is rushed, picture books en

Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2014

Last night, the winners of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards 2014 were announced in a ceremony at Dublins' Double Tree Hilton hotel. Big congratulations to all the winners, but as this blog is concerned with childrens' books, an even big congratulations to the winners in the childrens categories. The Specsavers Childrens Book of the Year in the Junior Category goes to the brilliant Chris Haughton for his new (and extremely beautiful and delightful) picture book: SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN (published by Walker Books)    In the senior category, the Specsavers Childrens Book of the Year went to Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy for the wonderful, funny and touching Moone Boy: The Blunder Years (published by Macmillan Publishing Based on Chris' popular tv series, this book is bound to be a favourite in every home! So, it was a year for Chris-es, it seems! Congratulations to you both and thank you for the fantastic reads for children, young and older... For

Picture Book Month: René Colato Laínez

I hope you've all been enjoying Picture Book Month this year. As November draws to a close, there are only a few days left of this wonderful celebration of picture books world-wide. Todays' Picture Book Champion is René Colato Laínez, using the theme of holidays. "A picture book is a window to the imagination. A window that is always opened to explore new worlds, meet new friends and live great adventures. A window that can be kept next to a pillow, in a bookshelf, on a dinner table, on a desk or on your favorite sofa. There is no need for a magic key or to say a secret code, all you need to do is to open it with your fingers and the real magic begins." To read more of Renés' post...and to catch up on all the wonderful Champions' thoughts about "Why Picture Books Are Important" follow the link below to the site, where all the posts are waiting.So many good reasons.....

Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize 2014

Congratulations go out to Piers Torday for scooping the Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize 2014. His book The Dark Wild (sequel to The Last Wild ) was chosen over a fantastic and competitive shortlist in the only prize for childrens books judged by fellow authors. A beautiful and compelling world was created by Torday in his first book, and followed through with here. Memorable, stirring 2wildly inventive" (as noted by judge Frank Cottrell Boyce), The Dark Wild takes us on a journey that is at once dynamic, chilling and heart-felt. This dystopian world where the wildlife has been all but annihilated acts as a stark warning, while never offering simplistic or didactic answers. Complex and wondrous, this is an amazing everyone should read. Congratulations to Piers Torday, who receives £1500, along with the respect of his contemporaries. And further congratulations to all the shortlisted authors...glad I didn't have to judge this one!

Christmas is coming, you know....

Yes, that season is well on its' way and before we get side-tracked by all the rush and hurry, let's stop to make a plan. Every year, we run around looking for gifts and goodies and spending mad amounts of money and thinking about how nice it would be to make something/ create something with our children and grandchildren. Enter Adventivity. .. This is a fantastic Advent Calender for the whole family. No, there are no chocolates (which is what a lot of people look for in an Advent Calender.) But what is there is a project a day from December 1st right through and including the 25th! It includes decorations and cards and gift pouches and...well, all sorts. Each door on the calender reveals an image directly related to the project of the it's a wonderful way to build excitement. The projects are easy to make, with press-out card components, and they are gorgeous! And, they only take a few moments of your time...wouldn't this be a great way to give the family a mo

Picture Book Month: School and Food

These days are getting busier and busier...but I always take the time to check out the daily calender for Picture Book Month. So much there! Yesterday's theme was school with a wonderful post from Picture Book Champion Alexis O'Neill ( The Recess Queen, Loud Emily, The Kite That Bridged Two Nations .) I love of my favourite preoccupations is kite flying. It brings an interconnectedness that is not unlike reading a good picture book...takes us all to another place and time while keeping us right here. "A picture book connects generations upon generations curled on couches, snuggled in beds, perched on chairs, swaying in rockers. And when a picture book hangs from its spine in threads, when it bears the smudge of jelly and mud, when the pages are dog-eared or torn, when the parent says to the child, Here’s a book I loved when I was your age, that’s how we know why picture books are important." And what better food for the soul than a picture boo

Picture Book Month: Why Picture Books Are Important

I am really loving Picture Book Month, and I hope you are, too. Each day brings us another Picture Book (Pecan Pie Baby, Big Red Lollipop, The Baby Tree) showed us a world to share....snow and volcanoes and everything! Today, Anna Dewdney (Llama Llama Red Pajama, Nelly Gnu and Daddy, Too) gives us a love of language, feelings, empathy, and llamas (of course). Month Champion and another reason why picture books are so very important. Yesterday, Sophie Blackall " Reading with children makes an intimate, human connection that teaches that child what it means to be alive as one of many live beings on the planet. We are naming feelings, expressing experience, and demonstrating love and understanding… all in a safe environment." Anna Dewdney What better way to learn about the world and all it has to offer than through sharing a picture book? (Psstt...they make great 'travel guides' before children go off on their adventures in life.)

Picture Book Month: What Is A Picture Book?

As we celebrate Picture Book Month this November, here is a lovely video by author Katie Davis. Included are quotes from some of the most beloved author/illustrators seeking to answer the question, "What is a picture book?" Here are Mercer Meyer, Tomie de Paolo, Peter many of the best working today with their thoughts and insights. Picture books are so very important, not just to the young, but to all of us. They open up new worlds and new ways of seeing. They introduce us to art, language, stories and perception. Todays' picture book champion is Ann Whitford Paul. Ann talks about her experiences as a mother reading to her children and what picture books brought into their lives and relationships, all with the constant phrase 'Read it again'. How many of us hear those words (sometimes, we think, to the point of distraction!) But it it long after the children are grown.... because anything that can be said about children and t

Picture Book Month

Image Today's entry for Picture Book Month is by Stefan Jolet. Stefan is a full-time graphic designer and the illustrator of such wonderful, unique books as The Legend of Acornhead and Cinderellaphant. (And as you might guess from the last title, is focus on the daily post is around the theme of elephants.) " Picture books unlock children’s imaginations and inspire them. They help children express themselves and encourage bonding time between family and friends. And best of all, they can be enjoyed at any age and passed on for future generations to enjoy over and over again." To help you keep daily tabs on what's happening all month during Picture Book Month, here's the calendar noting each days' Picture Book Champion and their theme for the day...where they're coming from in regard to picture books and their work. Each day, the Picture Bo

November is....Picture Book Month!

Image November is, indeed, Picture Book Month. This is an international initiative that celebrates the beauty, wonder and importance of picture books in print. Please follow the link above....these wonderful people will tell you everything you need to know about Picture Book Month. Every day in November, there is a new post by one of the selected picture book champions. Here, they explain why they feel picture books are so important. We live in a digital age. (Well, you are reading this on a blog.) Every day it seems someone is proclaiming the death of books in print. But we cannot deny the importance and the joy of books in print. Particularly, picture books. No other form of media has the broad ranging affects on the lives of children as the picture book. This is where we learn to read. We have our very first exposure to visual art through picture books. And the sense of awareness and observational skills that comes with sharing a picture book with small c

Some seasonal reads....

Before we come into THAT season, we shouldn't neglect the end of autumn and the great books (for all ages) that are just perfect for Halloween... here's a few of my favourites: The Wizardling author: Binette Schroeder Little Island ISBN: 9781910411001 An absolutely perfect book for Halloween time! Wizzo, a wizard-in-training, ignores his grandfathers' cautions and goes flying off on a little adventure. Where does he end up? Dragon Rock, of course...but that's where all the fun begins. (ages 4+) Pumpkin Soup Helen Cooper Corgi Childrens Books 9780552545105 Cat, Duck and Squirrel live in a little cottage within a big pumpkin patch. Everyday, Cat slices up some pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in some water and Duck adds some salt for a delicious pumpkin soup. Until the day Duck wants to stir in the water that is... a wonderful autumnal tale of friendship and sharing; not at all scary, but perfect for youngest children at this time of year. Classic! Witches D

Halloween is coming!

I have to say that this is my favourite time of year. The darkness creeps in to the world, the weather becomes more dramatic and the harvest is (mostly) in...even though we tend not to pay too much attention to the natural world and it's doings. (Mistake, by the way.) While some mourn the passing of the summer and dread the oncoming winter, I prefer to look around at the worlds' most beautiful cloak. So turn your attention to the warmth of the fire; gaze upon the beauty of the leaves and the sky (yes, the sky) and prepare yourselves for the moment when 'the veil between the worlds' is at it most fragile...Halloween is coming and there will be ghosts and witches about....usually they are quite small and carrying bags demanding treats... For my they schools are on a midterm break this week, I have a very special Halloween Storytime and Costume Party planned at work (Dubray Books Galway branch; 4 Shop Street) from 4 to 5pm on Friday..Halloween. So if any young

Patricia Forde: Witches Do Not Like Bicycles!

A big, big thank you goes out to Patricia Forde. She visited the bookshop yesterday and entertained these wonderful school children by reading her new book, Witches Do Not Like Bicycles . (Very important information for this time of year.) Patricia also read her earlier book in the 'Lola' series, Frogs Do Not Like Dragons , and then got the kids to tell their own stories about being locked in the bathroom....which was very exciting, I have to say. Anyway, the day was fabulous, Patricia was fabulous....the kids were fabulous; even 'Lawrence' (you can 'see' him seated invisibly next to Trish in the photos below)  was fabulous....although he did have trouble deciding on a new best friend. I hope he behaved himself, as he went off to school with the class for the rest of the day. So....many thanks to you made my day! See...Lawrence is seated just beside Patricia on the left!

And promised...Debbie Thomas

So, the plan was to invite a few authors in to help me celebrate the Childrens Book Festival, or as it's known this year, Stories Are For Everyone; Baboro and childrens' books in general (which I do try to celebrate every day.) The first to step up was the wonderful wonderful Debbie Thomas; author of Dead Hairy, Jungle Tangle and Monkie Business, that brilliant trilogy of books featuring best friends Abby and Perdita, the families and friends and the uber-evil Dr. Hubris Klench. The local school classes came in and were totally engaged and in wonder at Debbie and her books. They talked about stories, where stories come from (everywhere and everything, as it turns out) and how Debbie came to write these wonderful books. Basically, it was a fantastic day for everyone! Thank you so much, Debbie! You are always a joy!