Monday, 15 December 2014

Children's Book Festival 2014 - Clare County Library blog

Thanks for the lovely comments County Clare Libraries :-)

Children’s Book Festival 2014 ended on the 23rd of October with the last event of the month presented by David Lyons of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in deValera Public Library, Ennis. David was just one of the many visitors to our branches over the four-week festival that saw thousands of children join in this year’s celebrations.

Children’s authors who visited included Nicola Pierce, Debbie Thomas, Alan Early and Paula Leyden. All were well received, the children and teachers attending their talks appreciative of the added dimension that each author brought to the exploration of their books in the classroom.

Paula Leyden, whose book The Butterfly Heart endorsed by Amnesty International in 2011 won the Eilis Dillon Award in 2012, talked to classes about her homeland of Africa. She had a particularly engaging group from St. Tola’s National School in Seán Lemass Public Library, Shannon, where children in her audience came from a variety of countries and could speak a variety of languages including Bangladeshi, Arabic, Spanish, Polish and Afrikaans.
Nicola Pierce brought the story of the Battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War in pictures and words to eager learners inspiring them to read or re-read her latest book, City of Fate.

Sadie Cramer hosted four amazing workshops on story creation keeping each and every one of her listeners busy from the start to the end of her sessions doing lots of different activities. Drawing, creating and listening to stories and exploring the amazing world that lies between the pages of every book occupied and delighted her audiences from beginning to end.

Wayne O’Connor was the success story of 2013’s Children’s Book Festival and so just had to be part of this year’s line-up also. All six of his story and drawing workshops had children jumping out of their seats with suggestions for his hilarious illustrations or for the zaniest reconstructions of the well-loved Roald Dahl stories that he told, with a difference!
Storytelling events came courtesy of Simone Schuemmelfeder and Michael Phelan of Storygate, and Pat Ryan.

Terence Finnegan of Learn Differently brought hands-on science experiments into libraries. He demonstrated force, gravity, energy, flight etc. using everyday objects to the fascination of his young audiences many of whom got a chance to assist. Hovercrafts, rocket and explosions were all part of the show which was simply but very effectively presented.
Senior classes from four schools explored poetry creation under the stewardship of award-winning poet Stephen Murray. The hour-long sessions produced some memorable creations that were performed and shared with everyone present at the end of each workshop.

The signature event for this year’s festival was Niall de Burca’s one-man World War 1 show at Glór Theatre in Ennis on the 9th of October. In his hour-long presentation called “Where the Poppies Grow” he held over five hundred adults and children mesmerized from beginning to end.

Close on sixty events took place celebrating books and reading for children in Clare during the month of October. Library staff members look forward to welcoming the audiences that attended these events back to our branches in the months and hopefully, years ahead.

The Library gratefully acknowledges assistance with funding Children’s Book Festival from local organizations and businesses from within the community. A list of this year’s contributors is on the library website.

Friday, 5 December 2014

We Need Diverse Books

Books written and illustrated by people of colour

Sadie Cramer

Full, full, full of love Trish Cooke and illustrated Paul Howard - 2003
Daughter's day blues - Laura Pegram illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu - 2000
A is for Africa - Ifeoama Onyefulu - 1993
A Caribbean Counting Book - Faustin Charles and Roberta Arenson - 1996
Down by the River - Grace Hallworth and illustrated by Caroline Birch - 1996
How the Kangaroos got their tails - George Mung Mung Lirrmiyarri illustrated by Australian School children - 1987
Nancy D. Tolson says - "I am asking my FB family to make Book Selfies. To promote the true visibility of diverse books across this country let us all take a selfie with one of our favorite books written (and if it is a children’s picture book - illustrated) by a person of color. Please give the title of the book, author, (and illustrator) and copyright date on your WNDB selfie. I would like to collect all of these photos and place them on We Need Diverse Books Selfie Pinterest page. My goal is 200 by December 31st. Please join me. Make solo selfies, friend selfies, or family selfies. But please make one.‪#‎WeNeedDiverseBooks‬

Friday, 28 November 2014

Children's Rights Alliance UNCRC Parallel Report

A number of Nationwide Consultations took place in Ireland this week (Dublin, Carlow, Galway and Cork - Limerick's to follow) to support the development of the Children's Rights Alliance UNCRC parallel report. 

'The UN Convention for the Rights of the Child UNCRC is an International agreement that establishes  legal standards to help States make better decisions and achieve successful outcomes for children. On ratifying the convention, Governments agree to be assessed periodically by the UN committee on the Rights of the Child on their progress in implementing the rights in the convention. A review of Ireland has taken place on two occasions 1998 and 2006 and the next review is scheduled for 2016. The review will be based on the State's report which will be submitted to the committee in September 2016 - it details progress on implementing the Convention since 2006.' Children's Rights Alliance

Parallel report 
The Committee also accepts reports - known as Parallel reports - from civil society groups. The Children's Rights Alliance will submit an independent report on behalf of it's membership and civil society together with a report created by children and young people.

I attended the Galway consultation at NUIG on Monday which was informative and thought provoking. We were encouraged to look at the 41 different rights of the Child and form an opinion based on the area we work in. 

The Voice of the Child (Article 12)

Requires that a child who is capable of forming their own views, has the right to be heard, with due weight being given to their opinion in accordance with their age and maturity. This includes the right of the child to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child. 

UN Committee's 2006 Recommendation to Ireland

Strengthen it's efforts to ensure, including through Constitutional provisions, that children have the right to express their views in all matters affecting them and to have those views given due weight in particular in families, schools and other educational institutions, the health sector and in communities.   

Ensure that children be provided with the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting them and that due weight be given to those views in accordance with the age and maturity of the child, including the us of independent representations (guardian ad litem) provided for under the Child Care Act 1991, in particular in cases where children are separated from their parents.

Take into account the recommendations adopted on the Committee's day of general discussion on the right of the child to be heard in September 2006.

I'm particularly interested in the area highlighted red. We're being encouraged to make a written submission by 19th December 2014. More later..

Friday, 21 November 2014

Igniting Creativity

It was an absolute pleasure to deliver the lecture 'Igniting Creativity' to thirty three students on the Child Studies course at NUIG on Tuesday 18th November. I learnt a huge amount from the experience and trust the feeling was mutual.

Students from the Child Studies course at NUIG

Friday, 7 November 2014

Reviews for Inis

BLOOMSBURY 2014 (PBK) 32pp £6.99
ISBN 978-1-4088-3950-8

Gliori's new book is a celebration of difference and a heart-warming story about adoption. Much of the visual narrative is played out on a white background- a personal favourite as it allows the reader space to project their own thoughts but also focuses the eye on the characters. 

The illustrations are hand executed in what looks to be charcoal and pastel pencils so the results are slightly smudgy and extremely charming. The written narrative is the back story of Bib & Bib's unusual family, beautifully told by Gliori. The 'book blurb' describes her as a master storyteller and this is no over inflated statement on the part of the publishing house- it takes certain skill to deliver a tender story which is not saccharine. This book already feels like a classic and is sure to be a good investment for any young family as it's bound to be read and re-read many times. Our own children adored it. This book has award-winning potential and is everything a picture book should be. Go and buy it! 0-4 5-7


HODDER 2014 (HBK) 32pp £11.99 ISBN 978-1-444-90818-3

Multi-award winning Fitzpatrick's new book has a theme all children can relate to - peer group pressure or the fear of being excluded if you don't conform. When Ellie arrives on the street, all the other children are curious to meet her but they immediately see her difference as a thing to ridicule. Ellie however, stands her ground and uses her imagination to instil humour into an otherwise awkward predicament. This is a big risk on her behalf as it could exclude her further but luckily things work out to her advantage and the other children see the fun in it and want to join in the game. The story is told in the first person by a boy who stands apart from the jeering but in turn,  gets envious when his own position in the group is threatened. However, there's a happy ending and Ellie becomes one of the gang.

The atmospheric hand painted narrative begins on the beautiful end pages where we see the street kids hanging on a wall. The scene is reminiscent of a Cork townscape. We then move onto the title page where we see a close up of the children's houses and their faces peering out of the windows as a removal truck unloads its contents into an empty house. The open door of this house and a close up of the gang gathered outside is the first double page spread in the book. This is a wonderful introduction to a lovely, thought provoking book.5-7


MACMILLAN 2014 (PBK) £11.99 ISBN 978-0-230-76378-4

Based on a well known children's song, this wonderful debut is sure to appeal to toddlers  everywhere. Flat blocks of colour, reminiscent of Mattisse, 'zoom' across the pages and the result is both enchanting and vibrant. Manolessou screen prints much of her work and certainly, this book has a beautiful, rich quality rarely seen in digital imagery- the colour is saturated and it sings.

The story begins on the title page, all the animals are asleep in the jungle except Monkey and Bird who decide to zoom to the moon. There they meet a four-armed pink alien who shows them a good time and as the title indicates, everything's on the move. We get a real sense of motion from the arching, spinning objects. This is a brilliantly conceived book, words and pictures marry perfectly and there's a feeling of having been on a journey and that the journey is a tiring one (a gentle indicator if this is being read as a bedtime story.) The closing pages gradually show Monkey and Bird falling asleep and finally shows all the animal families huddled together in the jungle again. This book is bound to stimulate and provoke discussion from lively young children and is well wort buying or borrowing. Really looking forward to seeing more work from this lovely new talent. 0-4


O'BRIEN 2014 (PBK) 32pp
ISBN 978-1-84717-687-5   

When a band of fearsome Vikings invade an ancient village, panic breaks out. Everything's thrown into turmoil until Brian, the smallest and cleverest member of the tribe, has a brilliant plan to defeat the marauders. A hybrid between a traditional picture book and a comic, this is an excellent book for new readers. There's a distinct visual narrative which works without the words yet the story is a humorous page turner too.

This wonderful collaboration between two image makers is an interesting departure for author/illustrator Judge who wrote the text and only added a few distinctive flourishes to the final product. The illustrations are Wickham's, a subtle blend of digital and hand execution resulting in a lively and comical style which is very appealing. The compositions are wonderful and the palette evokes an autumnal view of an Irish past.

It is essential that the reader notes the blurb on the back as otherwise it's not clear that the story is about Brian Boru, the little boy who would grow up to become the High King of Ireland. A child reader would definitely be inspired to know that no matter how small and insignificant they might seem to be, they too have the potential to do anything. This is a beautifully produced book. 5-7


Friday, 24 October 2014

Lovely Leitrim Library Visit

It was especially nice to be asked back to Drumshanbo library in Co. Leitrim yesterday. They've made amazing progress in just a few months, the upper part of the library space has now been converted into smart studios for local artists and there is also an events room for visiting speakers etc... It's so inspiring to see public libraries evolving or recreating themselves like this, therefore enhancing community connectivity.

I met St Patrick's and St.Bridget's National Schools yesterday and we were the first to test out the events room (I think we can say we've left our mark there.)
As always, they were a pleasure and the craic was mighty!
Lough Allen

Lough Allen

Senior infants

Very hard work

Children's Book frolics...Children's Book... Children's Fe-Book something or other... 2014

2nd and 3rd class pupils

Halloween frieze
Halloween frieze

Monday, 20 October 2014

Amococo - Architects of air

We all had such a busy week but we did manage to get to see a show and the awe-inspiring Amococo at Baboró this year. Is it really nine years since we saw Eggopolis? (it's smaller brother). Feeling totally sated and inspired.
Amococo is the most labyrinthine luminarium, featuring as it does 86 triaxial domes and 71 pods that together create a complex of pathways where the visitors may happily lose themselves.
Built in 2008, Amococo’s common visual motif is the ‘oculus’ – an ovoid window that allows light to gently diffuse into the domes. This is most strikingly effective in the cupola of the central dome where the ceiling resonates with iridescent rainbow hues.
Amococo is the luminarium with the potential to be set up in a very long narrow configuration approaching 80 metres in length.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Clare libraries tour


There's so much I want to say about the incredible work happening in Clare libraries, all under the protective wing of Patricia Fitzgerald (executive librarian). There is connectivity and a wonderful flow which is also very apparent in Meath. What is it that makes everything work so well? Is it vision and dedication or sheer hard work? 
It took so long to edit the photos that I'll save the 'schpeel' for another time. Today I just wish to say, Children of Ireland, I LOVE YOU. YOU TRULY MAKE MY HEART SING!!!
Thank you Kilkee, Kilrush, Six-mile-bridge and Ennis for a wonderful, wonderful time!



Below are photos of the simply stunning Kilkee library

Beautiful Kilkee library

Percent for art contribution in the library courtyard

Looking good

Fantastic balloon sculpture by local artist 

Second class pupils getting creative

Kilkee library also has a state of the art theatre space


This little girl goes to Kilrush library most days with her father., it's her playground. She adores the books and demands attention from all the staff

Exciting ideas forming

Definitely not double trouble

Two gorgeous girls collaborating from different schools

Fantastic 2nd class pupils


Looks spooky on the outside (a perfect setting for Halloween frieze making)

Bet this place looks great at night-Imagine it lit with tea lights

But warm and friendly inside

A beautiful window but a Harry Clarke window once resided in it's place

Chris Haughton's eye catching poster

Six-mile-bridge National School

2nd class children who are definitely 1st class

Halloween frieze


2nd class children from Barefield National School

Spooky Hallloween Frieze