Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A whistle-stop tour of Leitrim

Getting up at 6am: check.
Taking 1 bus, 2 trains, 3 taxis and a tram: check.
Chatting with the book-mad kids of Mohill and Carrick-on-Shannon: check.
Read my first John Green: check.
Carved a pumpkin: check

Well, not bad for a Tuesday, right?
The white board of fame! Chuffed!

Who doesn't want a Wendy house in their local library?!

 So, yesterday saw the last of the October madness for me with a quick dip in and out of Leitrim under unexpected sunshine (most of the time). Three cheers for Gráinne in Mohill Library, and the lads and lasses of Saint Manchan's NS and Dangan NS.
Super Pig et al.
People, if you're wondering where all the zombies have gone, seek no further: they're in Leitrim! Covered in moss or re-incarnated as frogs, they amble along beside Super Pig, Stitch Man or the delicious (not!) Slobbers in stories full of princesses, villains, monkeys from outer space, popcorn, bacon and tractors.
Talent abounds! Well done to all and to you (was it Jack?) who has a mission while in France: bon appétit!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Drenched and Delightful Dalkey

My accomplice Sadie Cramer and I headed to Dalkey in Dun Laoighaire-Rathdown yesterday for a busy, fun and yet very well-behaved morning with the ladies from Loretto Primary (4th class).
One cool project glimpsed in a shop window.
A library with its own garden!
In between bouts of live illustration and shouting, I mean reading, we took a kettle-powered trip to the Moon, put on underwear with SUPER PIG written on them, nearly got a whole class out of homework (sorry, girls), heard one of the best opening sentences to any story ("This is the beginning of the mayby-end, but actually it was the middle of..."), were left hanging off numerous cliffs and designed some pretty dashing super-hero logos.
Oh and it rained a tiny little bit...

Monday, October 13, 2014

T'was a dark and stormy... er... day

 So, October madness is upon us again and once again it's been a hoot so far. Last week, I took to the wilds of Waterford, braving thunderstorms, stroboscopic lightning, power cuts and hotel gyms. Thankfully, I was in good company, from my splendid reading material (left) to the dedicated librarians who looked after me, via the crazy chickens who came and cheered and chatted and wrote and read and were generally very cool to meet.
Room with a view

Here's to Niamh and Loretta, to Ardkeen and Tramore libraries, to the guys and girls (and aforementioned chickens) of Holy Cross, P.E.N.S., Saint Ursula, Scoil Eanna and Glor Na Mara. Here's, also, to Hamantha (a superhero whose secret weapon is... ham), a pig called Bacon, Super Bra (seriously, guys, tsk...), the Land of Popcorn, marshmallow hats and monster sleepovers.
We had fewer zombies and exploding frogs, but lots of minions and, you know, kettlemen.
Keep it up, Waterford!
Room with a sentient TV!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kirkus Review - Starred, if you please!

Kirkus is a pretty cool website that looks at books for all sorts of people, in all sorts of genres, as well as at iPad book apps. And guess what it turned its reviewing eyes to this week? A "brisk and hilarious tale" about "A boastful young sleuth [who] obliviously aids a group of disguised dinosaurs".That's right, Dinos in Distress. Icing on the cake, our Dinos got a Kirkus Star, which they award(or so they themselves say) to "Books of Exceptional Merit".
It would have been extra nice for the writer (yours truly) and the illustrator (Claire Chavenaud) to be credited, but that info might appear along the reivew in the March print edition, right?
Meanwhile, I shall let you enjoy the review in full while I go and buy myself some wellies. And a submarine.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Carnegie and Greenaway long, long lists

That's it, they are out, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals longlists. Both are really quite long, incredibly diverse and packed-full of talent. Let me tell you I do not envy the jury.
The Guardian have the Greenaway nominees in pictures (thanks, guys!) and the Telegraph will run you through the fiction selected for the Carnegie. It has to be said that Ireland is very well represented in the Greenaway with the likes of Yasmeen Ismail, Malachy Doyle, Oliver Jeffers and PJ Lynch. David Almond and Jon Klassen appear twice on the list(s). Well done all!

Here goes:
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond (Walker Books)
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry (Templar)
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (Penguin)
The Child's Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston (David Fickling Books)
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head)
After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross (Oxford University Press)
• Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin)
Blood Family by Anne Fine (Doubleday Children’s Books)
Infinite Sky by CJ Flood (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (Electric Monkey)
Monkey Wars by Richard Kurti (Walker Books)
Hostage Three by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Positively Last Performance by Geraldine McCaughrean (Oxford University Press)
Brock by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
Binny for Short by Hilary McKay (Hodder Children’s Books)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Jonathan Cape)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo)
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber)
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (Andersen Press)
The Wall by William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)

One Gorilla: A Counting Book by Anthony Browne (Walker Books)
Open Very Carefully by Nicola O'Byrne (illustrator) and Nick Bromley (author) (Nosy Crow)
The Paper Dolls by Rebecca Cobb (illustrator) and Julia Donaldson (author)(Macmillan Children's Books)
Weasels by Elys Dolan (Nosy Crow)
Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde by Joyce Dunbar (illustrator) and Jill Barton (author) (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) and Drew Daywalt (author) (HarperCollins Children's Books)
The Dark by Jon Klassen (illustrator) and Lemony Snicket (author) (Orchard Books)
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
Where My Wellies Take Me by Olivia Lomenech Gill (illustrator) and Clare and Michael Morpurgo (authors)(Templar)
Mysterious Traveller by P. J Lynch (illustrator) and Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham (authors) (Walker Books)
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David McKean (illustrator) and David Almond (author) (Walker Books)
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children's Books)
The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon (Pavilion Children's Books)
Abigail by Catherine Rayner (Tiger Tales)
The Lemur's Tale by Ophelia Redpath (Templar)
Oliver by Birgitta Sif (Walker Books)
Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (illustrators) and Alix Barzelay (author) (Templar)
Too Noisy! by Ed Vere (illustrator) and Malachy Doyle (author) (Walker Books)
Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett (Templar)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No.Mi.Nate. The New Laureate na nÓg needs to hear from you!

It's everywhere, even on the Irish Times website. You have another 10 days to put in your nominations for the next Irish children's laureate: writers, illustrators and high achievers who can do both, take your pick. The 'only' requirements are that your nominees are Irish OR living permanently in Ireland, AND that they are really cool and madly talented people with an established body of work (one book won't do it, sorry).
This year, for the first time, you, yes YOU, are invited to give your input. Children's and class nominations are especially welcome, so go on, grab your nearest youth, put your thinking caps on, download the form and nominate!
You have until Saturday 15 February 5pm. More info here.