Monday, October 31, 2016

November Is International Picture Book Month!

November 1st each year is the beginning of Picture Book Month, an international literacy initiative that celebrates the (print) picture book. Each day throughout the month,there is a post for a different picture champion explaining why he or she thinks picture books are so important. In this busy and all too digital world, picture books need love and attention. We sometimes forget the sheer wonder of physically turning the pages of a beautiful picture book, of being able to enter that world; to go back and forth within it and embark on a journey of discovery and joy, whether we are very young, or not so young any more. So, during the month of November, you are invited...all of you worldwide, to remember, to reconsider and to fall in love with picture books.

You can follow along on the calendar above to find the picture book champion and their theme for the day. Each post will encourage you to read, share and celebrate the magic of picture books, whether in a school, library or at home. (And it is perfect for all the homeschoolers out there!)
I am a huge picture book fan (as you probably know) and believe that actual, physical picture books are one of the most important art/literary forms we have. You are never too old for picture books! Or too young, for that matter.
Here's the link. Get involved! Celebrate! Remember the joy and keep it with you always!

Friday, October 28, 2016

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal Nominees 2017

In more catch-up type news, the UK's oldest, most prestige childrens books award, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, have announced their long list earlier this week. 114 books have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people. A further 93 books have been nomiated for the Kate Greenaway Medal for excellence in illustration.
The CILIP Carnegie Medal list reads quite YA heavy, but this is understandable given the large number of YA fiction titles that show exceptional qualities in writing, storytelling and vibrancy. Nominees include:
Tanya Landman for Hell and High Water
Jackie Morris for The Wild Swans
Phillip Reeve for Railhead
Gavriel Savitt for Anna and the Swallow Man
Stewart Foster for The Bubble Boy
Timothee de Fombelle for The Book of Pearl
Malorie Blackman for Chasing the Stars
Lauren Wolk for Wolf Hollow
Kiran Millwood Hargrave for The Girl of Ink and Stars
....and many, many more incredible authors/titles

The Kate Greenaway Medal has an equally impressive list which includes:
Dieter Braun for Wild Animals of the North
Emily Gravett for Tidy
Petr Horachek for The Greedy Goat
Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen for A Great Big Cuddle
Jane Ray and Kevin Crossley-Holland for Heartsong
David Roberts and Michelle Robinson for A Beginners Guide to Bear Spotting
Birgitta Sif for Where My Feet Go
Sam Usher for Rain
Fiona Woodcock for Hiding Heidi
...and, again, many, many more beautiful illustrated books.

Have a good look at the list. I'm sure you'll find something magnificent that will completely WOW you. And the best of luck to everyone on both list!

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017

I'm playing a little catch-up here.
On  the 16th of October, the long list of candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) 2017 was released. 226 candidates from 60 countries have been nominated. Of these 63 candidates have been nominated for the first time.This list is a veritable gold mine for anyone interested in childrens' literature and represents the vibrant and powerful world of childrens' books. Representatives from every continent on the planet epitomise the best of the best.
Established to honour the late Astrid Lindgren, creator of Pippi Longstocking, Ronia the Robbers' Daughter and so many other truly magical and beloved childrens' books, The ALMA Award is presented yearly to indicate the importance that childrens' books have in the lives of young people and to inspire authors, illustrators, storytellers and promoters of reading everywhere.The award is chosen by a jury, the 12 members of which include authors, librarians, literary critics, illustrators and scholars. One member represents the family of Astrid Lindgren. It rewards artistic activity on the very highest level and continues to preserve and promote the ideals and spirit of Astrid Lindgren.
The 2016 ALMA laureate award went to the superb Meg Rosoff!
Of course, due to its' extensive nature, I won't recount the entire 2017 list here, but I will attached the link, not wanting to exclude any of the worthy candidates. And they are all worthy!. And here are a few that I have taken note of...
From Ireland, we are every excited to see two of our Childrens' Laureates, past and present make this list: Eoin Colfer and PJ Lynch!
The list from France includes several of my favourite authors and illustrators: Timothee de Fombelle, Tomi Ungerer, and Jean-Claude Mourlevat.
From the Italian segment, the work of Beatrice Alemagna has been included.
The Swedish list includes Eva Eriksson, Eva Lindstrom and Ulf Stark.
From South Africa, we have Beverly Naidoo, among other notables.
I love that Polands' nominee is the organisation All of Poland Reads to Kids!
The Uk has quite an extnsive selection, including Malorie Blackman, Neil Gaiman, David Almond, Patrick Ness, Shirley Hughes.....
As does the US, which includes Eric Carle, Ursula LeGuin, and Mildred Taylor.
Impressive, no? And that's just a taster. For the complete list worldwide, just follow the link:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize Shortlist

The shortlist for the Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize was announced today. The four authors listed have demonstrated incredible excellence in the field of childrens' literature.

Tanya Landman has a brilliant backlist of work and is no stranger to such nominations and awards,
having taken the 2015 Carnegie Medal for Buffalo Soldier. She is nominated for the Guardian for her latest book, Hell and High Water, set in 18th-century
England. It is one of two historical novels up for the prize; the other being Brian Selznicks' wonderful book, The Marvels. The Marvels interweaves a story told in illustration that begins in 1766 with a lone survivor of a shipwreck with a text story in 1990 about a boy who runs away from school to the house of his uncle.

Also shortlisted are two contemporary novels. Crongton Knights by Alex  Wheatle is set on a fictitious council estate and follows the adventures of McKay during the course of one night. And finally, Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon tells the poignant, eye-opening story of Subhi, a young boy who has spent his entire life in a refugee detention centre.
All are very powerful contenders for one of the most important awards in childrens' literature today.

The winner will be announced on 17 November.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It's Baboró Time!

In just a few days, the 2016 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will kick off. From October 17 through the 23rd, venues all over Galway will host will play host to a wide array of events for anyone and everyone from 0-100 years, with theatre, puppetry, dance, film, animation, talks and workshops. Each year, Baboró brings a variety of artists from every field and all over the world. In addition to family events, Baboró hosts dedicated school everyone has a chance to attend something. And this year, they've even added "Something for the Grown-Ups" events.
A few of the incredible acts at this years' festival include: Cruthanna/The Shape of Things, a bililngual event for ages 0-4 yrs.; The Secret Life of Suitcases, puppetry filled with wit and humour for ages 4+; Dream City/Droomstad with De Dansers from Holland; A Feast of Bones for ages 9+; Cartoon Saloon bringing us both Song of the Sea and The Long Way North; Becoming: the Adventures of Growing Up,a beautiful exhibition of poignant and wondrous art; Patricia Forde and her must-read novel, The Wordsmith; for the Grown-Ups, PJ Lynch, our own childrens' laureate in conversation with Tarsila Kruse and Shona Shirley Macdonald....and so very much more.
So, keep an eye out as you're wandering around Galway. You'll be sure to find the Baboró brochure filled with's hard to tell who you'll meet!
For more information, and to book your tickets NOW, here's the link to the Baboró website:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

BA (Children's Studies) at NUI Galway

On Friday, 30th of September, I was invited to the official launch of an exciting new programme of study at NUI Galway. The new BA Children's Studies is a ground-breaking field of study. This 4 year programme is the only interdisciplnary programme of it's kind in Europe, encompassing every imaginable field of study to do with practical and theoretical approaches to childhood and adolescence. Whether the individuals' emphasis is on arts, literature, teaching, social services, legal and human rights, the programme is covering it. Community-based service-learning and enquiry-based learning are embedded within the degree and the third year placement combines with practical experience to prepare its' students with a wide range of specific career goals. I could go on, but suffice to say, I think this is one of the most exciting approaches to the field of childhood and youth study I have seen, and long over due.
The programme was launched by Minister for Children and Youths Affairs, Katherine Zappone.
Here's the link to find out more: