Showing posts from January, 2020

WE MUST NOT FORGET: Auschwitz, the Holocaust and Books to Help Us Remember

Today, 27 January 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; the day when the Red Army arrived at the gates of this most infamous of the Nazi concentration camps and saw, for the first time, the horrors that it held. It stands today as a memorial; a stark, gut-wrenching reminder of what human beings are capable of doing to other human beings in the name of...I'm still not sure. in my mind, it must be in the name of some kind of insanity that I hope never to fully understand. Today, we honour the few remaining, who have opened their memories to tell us what really happened in the horrific time and place as first-hand witnesses and survivors of the atrocities. But 75 years is a long time and soon, I fear, we will lose these living memories. We need to understand what can happen, what did happen and what we must not let happen again.  Our children need to know what happened in those dark times and why. We must not let the memories of the survivors fade...we m


Just a quick shout out for my favourite day of the year; World Book Day 2020 is on it's way!!! In just over a month, all over the UK and Ireland it will be time to celebrate the joy of reading and the love of books. Now in its' 23rd year, on Thursday, 5 March children of all ages will come together to show their appreciation and excitement of reading. And it is usually very loud, always very happy! This is a very busy time for authors, illustrators and storytellers, for schools, libraries and bookshops as the doors are flung wide open, all in the name of reading for pleasure. There will be author visits, children dressed as their favourite book characters, parties, games and, of course, the release of this years' World Book Day books, specially created to mark the day. Each year, a selection of books for children of all ages are published; 11 books in all. These books all cost only £1/ 1.50euro each. Or, if your child has a World Book Day book token (sent out to all

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER (part 2): The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

In case you haven't heard, last week the New York Public Libraries released their list of the 10 Most Checked-Out books in its' history. This is a very significant list, as the NY Library books have been circulating throughout homes in New York City for 125 years. It is the largest library system of its' kind in the US and one of the largest worldwide. What it has to say about what people read matters...a lot. It may not surprise anyone to learn that the majority of this list consists of childrens' books; half of them picture books. This indicates the huge impact books have on readers of a very young age. While I was delighted to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight, Moon, The Cat in the Hat and Where The Wild Things Are represented, to learn that the number one, most borrowed book ever in its' history was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats caused an overwhelming feeling of quiet joy within. But what makes this book shine over all the others? The Snowy

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER (part one): Picture Books and Their Makers: Caroline Magerl

Picture books offer a unique window into the world; into life and all its' shades and nuances. The first books we hold that create that desire to read, they call upon us to decipher those little squiggles and scratches we call words and know the story they are trying to tell us. They are our first glimpse into literature and art, with a rich and varied history of their own. But in the infinite variety of picture books we see, they do far more than that. Regardless of our age (erroneously, picture books are frequently seen as the realm of the very young), picture books ask us to look deeper at the world and at ourselves and truly understand. Some thoughts on the Quiet Picture Books of Caroline Magerl: Caroline Magerl first came to my attention as a picture book artist last year with Maya and Cat . This is a peaceful, cosy kind of adventure; a story of being lost and belonging.  It is the story of two friends' determination to do the right thing for each other. The illustrati