Monday, July 24, 2017

LAI Children's Book Awards

The Literacy Association of Ireland have announced their shortlist of books for the upcoming LAI Children's Book Awards.
There are 4 categories in this particular award; 0-4, 5-8, 9-11 and Young Adult. These books are currently being reread and considered. The winners in each category will be announced on  October 5th at the LAI annual conference.
In the 0-4 category, the nominees are:
A Dublin Fairytale by Nicola Colton; published by the O'Brien Press.
How To Get Rid of a Polar Bear by Rachael Darby; published by Choice Publishing.
Elifint Óg Agus an Folcadán by Tatyana Feeney; published by An Gúm,

In the 5-8 category, we have 3 title in Irish language for young readers:
An Pota Folamh, published by An Gúm
Óró na Círcíni by Gabriel Rosenstock, illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald; published by An Gúm (and also nominated for the CBI Book of the Year Awards this year).
Ná Gabh Ar Scoil by Maire Zepf, illustrated by Tarsila Kruse; published by Futa Fata

The 9-11 category offers the following shortlist:

A Cage of Roots by Matt Griffin, published by the O'Brien Press
The Book of Learning by ER Murray, published by the Mercier Press
Kings of the Boyne by Nicola Pierce, published by the O'Brien Press

And finally, in the Young Adult category;
The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde, published by Little Island
A Lonely Note by Kevin Stevens, published by Little Island
The Butterfly Shell by Maureen White, published by the O'Brien Press

The LAI Book Award is given in alternate years, and chosen from an outstanding selection of books published in Ireland during the two years previous.This year, there will be separate awards given to books in the four age categories.

Best of luck to you all...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Incomparable Shirley Hughes

On the 16th of July, Shirley Hughes, one of the best known and most loved childrens' author/illustrators celebrated her 90th birthday.
Shirley Hughes has given us an exceptional and accurate into the childs' view of the world throughout her long and celebrated career. Her first book, Lucy and Tom's Day was published in 1960. Her Alfie and Annie Rose stories are not simply charming; they are an insightful look into the culture of children, as Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose navigate the world with their own particular view and Alfie proves himself to be quite a problem-solver and keen observer of life around him. And they are joyous! Dogger (1977) won the Kate Greenaway Medal and became her first book to be
published world wide, proving an international appeal. The awards she has been given for her work make for incredible reading, and include, in 2015, BookTrusts' inaugural lifetime achievement award.
A keen observer of childhood interaction herself, Hughes feels
“It’s my job with a picture book to slow children down, make them pore over the drawings and recognise their world. Even before they read, they are learning to be readers, to notice things and make connections.”(The Telegraph, Judith Woods, 17 July 2015)
And she does this incredibly well. There is much to look at, much to understand in all her many books, and all from a childs' perspective.
I could go on and on, but others have done that much better than I over the years. What I really wanted to say in this brief, rather meager attempt her is simply this:
Happy Birthday, Shirley Hughes...and many thanks for all the gifts you have given us. Your stories, your pictures and your insight have meant the world.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

How To Catch A Star at the Galway Arts Festival

The Galway International Arts Festival will soon be upon us offering two weeks of music, art, theatre, street name it, it will be happening in Galway. There will be something for everyone!
But there is one production that I am particularly excited about. Branar Téatar do Pháistí will be presenting (a World Premier, thank you very much!) How To Catch A Star, based on the beloved picture book by Oliver Jeffers.
Branar is a locally based theatre production company for children. In their own words,
"We strive for a simple, elegant form of theatre for young people, that achieves intricacy through the creative use of few means. A style that stimulates the ability to imagine and challenge, while opening a dialogue with our audiences and providing a catalyst for education."
Their production of How To Catch A Star combines puppetry with an
original musical score to bring Oliver Jeffers first picture book (originally published in 2004) to life. Once there was a boy who loved the stars very much. One day, he decides to catch one and make friends with it. This is the story of his adventure and reminds us all to keep following our dreams, wherever they may lead. This is a non-verbal production and is recommended for audiences aged 4 +.
How To Catch A Star will be at the O'Donoghue Theatre NUI Galway from 18 through 28 July (no shows on 22-24 July). Check out the programme for times and booking information. And while you're at it, have a good look through the entire I said, something for everyone.