Thursday, March 30, 2017

Waterstones Childrens Book Prize 2017...and the winner is....

A huge congratulations is going out to Kiran Millwood Hargrave (and publisher Chicken House) on winning the overall Waterstone's Childrens Book Prize 2017 with the truly magnificent The Girl of Ink and Stars. The award was announced just a few hours ago at Waterstones' flagship shop in London Piccadilly.
The Girl of Ink and Stars is the story of Isabella, daughter of a cartographer, who lives on the small island of Joya under the watchful eye of a strict and dictatorial governor. When a school friend, Lupa, disappears into a deep and strange forest under mysterious circumstances, Isabella volunteers to lead a rescue party, using old maps and the islands' dark, eerie legends to locate her. Having to conceal herself as her brother, she treks out on a dangerous journey into the unknown. They've called it mesmerising...and they are not wrong! A stunning debut novel and a well-deserved winner.
The Waterstones' prize for illustrated books went to the sumptuous and entertaining picture book, There's A Tiger in The Garden by Lizzie Stewart. Bright, beautiful and contemporary, the illustrations jump off the page in a story that is both exciting and reassuring, without losing an ounce of fun. In the older fiction category, Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence stood out as being bold, honest and filled with rounded, believable teen characters.
The quality and strength of all the winners stands as testimony to the type of contemporary childrens' literature being produced. Absolutely exceptional work! Well done and congratulations to you all!


https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/30/waterstones-childrens-book-prize-kiran-millwood-hargraves-the-girl-of-ink-and-stars

Monday, March 13, 2017

CBI Book of the Year Awards 2017

The shortlist has just been announced for this years' Childrens Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards. And, once again, what an exciting shortlist it is! I won't ramble on about it. Here's the photo!
I do have to mention, however, that this is the moment for the Shadowing Groups to start getting busy! They've a lot to read before the awards date. The awards will be announced on 23rd of May at Smock Alley Theatre as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin...and by Rick O'Shea, no less!
Everything you need to know about the awards and Shadowing scheme is on the website. Just follow the link:
http://childrensbooksireland.ie/cbi-book-of-the-year-awards/

Sunday, March 12, 2017

More World Book Day Events 2017

Last week...for the second week....I had more wonderful World Book Day events with two of my favourite authors and more of my favourite schools came to visit at Charlie Byrnes Bookshop. A bit unusual perhaps, but if it were up to me, every day would be World Book Day. So to keep the message going, Patricia Forde came to say us and spoke to the girls from Mercy Primary about her writing life and all of her books, but especially about the incredible novel, The Wordsmith. If you haven't read The Wordsmith yet, I strongly recommend this incredible book. And, I'm told it is to be published in the US later this year as The List.








We were also treated to a visit by Marguerite Tonery, who graciously spoke to two class groups and took us all away to Kapheus, the fantastical world of light. The kids from St Nicholas Primary and Scoil Iognaid were mesmerised by the journey...as was I. Marguerite has three Kapheus books out now, each one as amazing as the each other.



















Finally, I had a visit from the 1st/2nd class from St Nicholas Primary, during which I got to read to them! My favourite thing to do. We read A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston, The Knight Who Wouldn't Fight by Helen & Thomas Docherty and, of course, Where The Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak. It wouldn't be a World Book Day celebration without it!
Big thank yous to everyone! I'm already looking forward to next year.



Monday, March 6, 2017

World Book Day Events 2017

Last week, I had some wonderful World Book Day events at my new home as Childrens' Books Specialist; Charlie Byrnes Bookshop. It's been a more low key than in years past, but the energy and enthusiasm for World Book Day remains just as high.
I started off last week with a visit to Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh in Galway, where I spoke with 4 wonderful class groups. We, of course talked about World Book Day...now in its' 20th year...and what the kids had been reading, their favourite books, etc. I also read to them from one of my favourite books published over the past year, Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery. The enthusiastic response from the children and the teachers was very much appreciated. I should also mention that, while there, I ran into Geraldine Mills, who was there to speak to 4 slightly older class groups about her absolutely brilliant book, Gold. (Lucky kids!) A huge thanks to the school for inviting me out to meet such a great group of young people.
On Thursday, March 2nd...World Book Day itself, one of my
favourite authors, Nicola Pierce visited Charlie Byrnes Bookshop and spoke to two local school groups, the 6th year class from St Michaels Boys School and 5th/6th class from St Nicholas Primary. She spoke about her writing life, how a book comes into being and focusing on her new and fabulous historical fiction book for young people, Kings of the Boyne. The kids were fascinated and had many thoughts and questions...and a few customers even joined the session. It was fabulous! Thank you so much once again, Nicola! As usual, you were brilliant!


To round off the week, on Friday the 2nd year class from Scoil Iognaid arrived for a very special treat: Julian Gough was in to tell us all about the lives of Rabbit and Bear as portrayed in his books; Rabbits' Bad Habits and The Pest in the Nest.
After giving us Rabbit and Bears' back story, he even worked with the kids to create a story of their own involving a cat-gummy bear stuck inside a crocodiles' stomach and how he was going to get out. It was lively and amazing! Thank you very much, Julian! The kids and I had the best time ever!

This upcoming week, I have a few more WBD events happening...so I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

World Book Day 2017!

I know I've been rather quiet about World Book Day this year, but now is the time to shout out loud...
This Thursday, 2nd of March, is World Book Day 2017 and we are celebrating 20 years!
That's right. For 20 years, we have been celebrating the one day per year especially set aside to sing the praises of childrens' literature, reading and the pure joy and delight of books. That is really what it's all about. And I have absolutely loved every year; seeing the school kids, reading to them, watching them interact with authors, illustrators and story-tellers...it is utterly amazing.
As always, there is a special selection of books published for World Book Day.
We have Peppa, The Famous Five, Horrid Henry, those crazy Underpants-loving Aliens and much more, including a special offering from David Walliams....Blob!




And because we're in Ireland, we get one more....those great people at The O'Brien Press have produced a book from our own Judi Curtin; Fast Forward; another time-traveling adventure with Beth and Molly.
These World Book Day books cost only one World Book Day €1.50 voucher each, which are distributed to schools and given to each child. (The World Book Day vouchers are only valid from 27th February through the 26th of March...so don't forget.) This way, every child can get a book of their own. The books are displayed in bookshops throughout the country. All you have to do is take your child into a bookshop with their voucher and let them pick up a book.
Also, there are events, storytime activities, author visits...more than you can imagine happening in your area. And not just on World Book Day...they could be happening all month long. We all like to pull out all the stops to bring the joy of books to school children. Check with your local bookshop, library or ask your school what events are on offer. Or check the website below for events in your area.
Happy World Book Day, everybody!
http://www.worldbookday.com/

Monday, February 27, 2017

Branford Boase award Long List 2017

On February 16, the long list for the 2017 Branford Boase Award was announced. Twenty-two books have been selected and by May 8th, they will be narrowed down to the short list with a view to the selection of the winner this summer.
The Branford Boase was set up to honour the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to recognise excellence in writing and publishing. The award is given annually to the most promising book for 7-year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist. This years' list is very strong (and includes many of my favourite novels over the last year.)
Included are:

-Fenn Halflin and the Fear Zero by Francesca Armour-Chelu; editor: Sarah Handley; published by Walker Books
-Alone by DJ Brazier; editors: Charlie Shepperd & Chloe Sackur; published by Andersen Press
-The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull; editors: Sarah Leonard and Megan Larkin; published by Orchard Books
-Cogheart by Peter Bunzl; editor: Rebecca Hill; published by Usborne Books
-Why I Went Back by James Clammer; editor: Charlie Shepperd; published by Andersen Press
-Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke; editor: Emma Matthewson; published by Hot Key Books
-We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd; editor:Niamh Mulvey; published by Quercus
-Little Bits of Sky by Sue Durrant; editor: Kirsty Stansfield; published by Nosy Crow
-Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan; editor: Bella Pearson; published by David Fickling Books
-The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster; editor: Rachel Mann; published by Simon and Schuster
-The Otherlife by Julia Gray; editor: Chloe Sackur; published by Andersen Press
-The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill; editor: Siobhan Parkinson; published by Little Island
-Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton; editors: Alice Swan and Kendra Levin; published by Faber and Faber
-The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave; editor: Rachel Leyshon; published by Chicken House
-Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler; editor: David Stevens; published by Scholastic
-Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence; editor: Emma Goldhawk; published by Hodder Childrens Books
-Beetle Boy by M G Leonard; editors: Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon; published by hicken House
-Girl Out of Water by Nat Luurtsema; editor: Emma Lidbury; published by Walker Books
-The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol; editors: Kesia Lupo and Barry Cunningham; published by Chicken House
-Riverkeep by Martin Stewart; editor:Shannon Cullen; published by Penguin Random House
-Kook by Chris Vick; editor: Nicholas Lake; published by HarperCollins Childrens Books
-Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold by Steve Webb; editor: Charlie Shepperd; published by Andersen Press
So...that's the long list in full. If you are looking for a really great read for the young people in your life (or yourself for that matter), I can highly recommend any or all of these books. Quite frankly, I've got my fingers crossed for all of them.
I also want to mention that the Branford Boase awards does a marvelous job of recognising not only first-time authors, but their editors. The editors are frequently overlooked, but are the unsung heroes of the publishing world, working long and hard to make sure to bring the best books into existence. I'll keep you updated!
http://www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk/BBA_Current/BBA_Long_List.html

Monday, February 20, 2017

Alice and Pinocchio at the Crossroads

CHILDREN’S STUDIES SEMINAR SERIES

School of Languages, Literatures and Culture




Children’s Studies and Italian, NUI Galway
Invite you to join us for a Public Seminar
by
Professor Laura Tosi (Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy)
Alice and Pinocchio –
At the Crossroads of Genre, Nation and Identity
5.00- 6.00 pm, February 23, 2017
GO11, James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway
This Thursday there will be another outstanding Children's Studies Seminar at NUI Galway. Dr Laura Tosi will speak about genre, nation and identity in the context of comparison/contrast  of Alice (in Wonderland) and Pinocchio. 
So, if you're in Galway, at loose ends and as passionate as I am about childrens books, you should come along. This plans to be a particularly interesting and timely seminar.