Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The magic of night time in County Clare libraries

Continuing the theme of magic and the dark, we shared stories, made art and had a ball in Kildysart and Kilmihil libraries in County Clare yesterday.

Here's what they said at Kilmihil 

They thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, plenty of stories and drawings with a Halloween theme.
I had met Sadie in Kilrush before, she is a very nice lady and great with the children. 
“Excellent workshop, highly participative and entertaining.” - Thanks a million Frances Xx

Monday, 19 October 2015

Spirit Babies - Mizuko Kuyo

by Katherine Brind'Amour, Benjamin Garcia 
Mizuko Kuyo is a Japanese Buddhist ceremony that focuses on a deceased fetus or stillborn child. This ceremony was originally developed to honor Jizo, a god believed to be responsible for transporting dead fetuses or children to the other world. The practice has become more popular in the last half century due to the growing number of abortions taking place and the particular views that Japanese Buddhists have about fetuses and abortion. Japanese Buddhists believe that honoring Jizo will ensure that their aborted fetus successfully makes it to the other world, where it can be reborn in the future. In a religious context, Mizuko Kuyo provides an example of one of the many ways that fetuses are viewed and treated both in natural death and in abortion.
Literally, Mizuko Kuyo is the “water child memorial service” and the ceremony is deeply meaningful for those who practice it. Traditionally, the mizuko were buried underneath the parents’ house since it was believed that the natural water would wash the mizuko to the natural springs under the earth’s surface. It was believed that these springs were part of the beginning of life. The mizuko, or water child, is said to go from the water of the womb to its original liquid state upon its death. Water is important in Japanese Buddhism, as it represents both death and a faithful acknowledgment that the child will be reborn. Mizuko Kuyo is traditionally practiced on three main holidays. These are the spring equinox, the summer solstice, and a day referred to as “bon,” which is a summer day typically used to honor ancestors.
The mizuko are also celebrated at the Buddhist temples. At the temple the parents may buy a stone tomb and place a statue of Jizo on top of it. This statue usually has a red bib and Jizo is holding a stick with bells on top of it to help the mizuko walk. The stone also has the word “kaimyo” written on it, a traditional name given to someone after they pass away. Jizo statues may be placed in a park outside the temple. These parks are designed specifically for the mizuko and often contain swings, slides, and other playground equipment that children usually play on.
Although these tombs and playgrounds may seem like places to grieve, it is often exactly the opposite. In fact, they are quite happy places. Families of the aborted fetuses or deceased children come to these playgrounds to clean their statues and observe a moment of silence for their mizuko. They put seasonal clothing on Jizo and even set up umbrellas to cover them from the rain. While their other children play, the mothers, and sometimes the fathers, take a bow to honor their mizuko. They also bring toys and flowers and light candles to honor them.
Japanese Buddhism does not regard abortion as harshly as many religions and societies do. Abortion is becoming a common practice in Japan due to its cultural acceptance as a social necessity to protect family values. Mizuko Kuyo is practiced in order to prevent people from feeling that abortion is becoming trivialized and to provide the parents with a therapy for understanding their emotions and dealing with their loss.
by Katherine Brind'Amour, Benjamin Garcia 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Lovely Leitrim Library visits

Had such a wonderful day at Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannnon libraries. Thanks you for inviting me back! Really enjoyed exploring the magic of night-time with 66 children (who always astound me with their knowledge.) Visited Knocknashee (hill of the fairies) and caught up with Ruth Le Gear (who is doing incredible work in this part of the country) so all in all, a day brimming with magic and sparkle. Really love you Leitrim Xx

Upcoming events at Inner, Beauty Holistic Centre, Terryland, Galway

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Spirit Babies Support Group

There was such an amazing response to Saturday's workshop both by those who attended and by the many who couldn't. It was a beautiful day and what became apparent, even before we commenced, was the need for continued support for those who have suffered the loss of a baby at whatever stage. So in response, I am setting up a 'Spirit Babies Support Group' which will meet on the first Monday of every  month at the  ‪#‎Innerbeautyholisticcentre‬, Terryland, Galway.
Our first date will be on Thursday 12th November@ 7.30pm followed by Thursday December 10th. Anyone who has had a loss; be it in pregnancy or post pregnancy, whether it be recently or in the distant past, is welcome and as this seems to be a theme that resonates with all women regardless of their experience, I open the invitation to all. 

Given the response locally I've been invited to travel elsewhere with this workshop. If you'd like to propose a venue, please contact me. Sadie Cramer 087 2940458

Here's a response from a lady about my last post and why we need to meet agin and again Xx 

Beautiful read Sadie, best of luck with the day, it sounds so healing and wonderful. I spent 6 months in home for unmarried mothers 34 years ago and had my baby taken from me at six days old... Thankfully I was one of the lucky ones and got her back for good when she was a month old. My profile pic is me, my daughther and now my gorgeous grand daughter. I only took the time in recent years to allow myself the compassion for the trauma of it all heart emoticon xxx Love to you and & your six children xxx

Angel wings made by the ladies at the Spirit Babies workshop

Friday, 2 October 2015

Spirit Babies

Several years ago I had a miscarriage which was horrendously painful and distressing (a bit like a mini labour.) I was 15 weeks pregnant and somehow managed to catch the embryonic sac mid flow. I was astounded to see this seemingly perfect life form lying in the palm of my hand; it even had little fingers and toes. Very quickly (like so many other women) I was wrenched from this beautiful spiritual moment and thrust into the harsh reality of the hospital, where I was pushed and prodded and told that it was normal (which it is) and that I’d get over it (which I have) but it took revisiting that time in my life, honoring it and consciously asking for healing around it.  

That incident and another miscarriage a year later have had a huge impact on me. I deliberately took the time to face my grief head on by working though it in artistically (I have a collection of paintings and sketch books from that time) and it really did help. Luckily I have been blessed with a beautiful family (two boys and two girls) but I also allow myself to think of who the other two could have been.
 Since the first miscarriage I have met so many women who’ve had similar or worse experiences and it is evident and palpable how so many of them still carry the pain of their particular incident years later. I have met elderly women who still well up about the still birth they had in their twenties or the shame and guilt they carry over adoption or abortion. The discoveries around the mother and baby homes really struck a chord with the nation and the need to acknowledge this common experience is enormous.

  #‎Innerbeautyholisticcentre‬ ‪#‎Galway‬ 

All these experiences draw on our shared humanity, we feel each others pain or at least have empathy for the loss or mistreatment of another. In order to acknowledge our individual or collective loss I am leading a daylong workshop which is simply called Spirit Babies. It will be a day of meditation, healing and sharing.

Saturday October 10th at the Inner Beauty Holistic Centre, Terryland, Galway.  10.30-4pm. All welcome. €50.00
Please contact: Sadie Cramer – 087 2940458  to book a place

Thursday, 1 October 2015

What's on in Clare County Libraries this month

Thank you to Clare libraries for the lovely endorsement. Really delighted to go return to beautiful County Clare Xx

Read Everywhere
Read Everywhere

Níl Turas Níos Fearr Ná Turas le Leabhar!
Clare County Library celebrates Children’s Book Festival 

This year, wherever you are in Ireland, events and activities will be taking place to encourage children to enjoy the experience and the magic of reading! With stories that can be read everywhere, October is a jam-packed month of fun-filled opportunities featuring authors and illustrators, and catering for the reading preferences of everyone from toddlers to teens and beyond. 

Activities will be running in libraries throughout Ireland in October. This will include everything from readings by popular authors to writing and illustration workshops, plus storytelling, competitions and much, much more! With so many opportunities for fun there’s no doubt bookworms everywhere will be satisfied. The festival is the biggest celebration of books and reading in Clare County Library’s events calendar for children and this year’s programme features some of the best authors and entertainers for young people that Ireland has to offer.
The festival’s main event takes place in Glór on October 20th. Shane Hegarty will meet with over 500 children from schools in the county to bring them the background to, and stories from Darkmouth, his sensational series that has secured him record-breaking publishing deals in the UK, US, Germany, Brazil and further afield. Movie rights to this first book in the series have already been sold for a six-figure sum with a strong possibility the film will be produced next year. 

Other authors and illustrators touring library branches this October include Alan Nolan who is famous for his Big Break Detectives Casebook and the Murder Can Be Fatal Mysteries series of graphic novels. His humorous hurling novel Fintan's Fifteen, “hooked” young readers from the first page with its variety of narrative techniques including traditional story text, comic strips and Alan’s trademark graphics. His latest children's illustrated novel, Conor's Caveman, about a boy and girl who find a caveman frozen in a glacier in the Wicklow mountains, is available now!

Ré Ó Laighléis is a writer of novels, short stories, plays and screenplays and picture books in both English and Irish. He writes for child, teenage and adult readerships and many of his award-winning works have been translated into various languages. Novels and collections of his have been required reading on curricula both here and abroad. Currently, his novel Gafa is on the Leaving Certificate Irish curriculum. Ré is a regular participant in the library’s programmes for teenagers.

Le linn a sheisiúin, léifidh Ré as saothair éagsúla agus tabharfaidh sé indearcadh ar a mbunúis agus a ndéanamh. Labhróidh sé ar an draíocht a bhaineann le húsáid teanga agus an tábhacht atá leis an eadarghaol idir inseoireacht agus comhrá maidir le múscailt spéise agus coinneáil aird an léitheora. Tá memoir ar a óige díreach críochnaithe ag Ré trí mheán an Bhéarla agus tá súil len é a fhoilsiú i 2016.

With his 2015 publication for children, Matt Griffin has created an exciting world, one in which the lead character encounters a "fate that has been lying in wait for centuries". Early reviews have described the book as "a remarkable of those rare books that has the potential to imprint itself permanently in your memory". Matt has received many awards and accolades for his work in publishing, advertising and, in particular, the field of poster art. Clare County Library is delighted to welcome him to six of its branches this October.
Derek Mulveen’s Irish Tour to promote his book Oisin the Brave - Robot Island takes him to Clare this October with a Doodle Hour and Story-Time that will captivate the imagination of young listeners. Published by Eire's Kids Publishing, Oisin the Brave - Robot Island is a whimsical and imaginative adventure through The Dolmen of Time. Derek’s stories will inspire his audiences to help him create exciting illustrations when he visits local libraries during Children’s Book Festival 2015.

Kim Hood grew up in Canada, but has chosen North Clare, with its wild seas and barren landscape, as her home. Finding a Voice is her first novel and was nominated for the Bookseller’s inaugural Young Adult Book Prize earlier this year. Her second novel Plain Jane will be released in the spring of 2016. Kim offers talks for teenagers that will touch on themes of not fitting in, mental health, disability and diverse families while her workshops for older children in Primary School will focus on facilitating students to find their own writing voice. 
Children are invited to join the buzz and explore the magic of stories with author Debbie Thomas in Kildysart, Kilmihil, Corofin and Newmarket on Fergus libraries. In her story workshops children will create their own characters, plots and settings using themes from Debbie’s new book Class Act, a buzzing tale of bees, courage and Curly Wurleys. Debbie’s sessions are guaranteed to be very participative and lots of fun, drawing on her experience of having written four books to date for children; Dead Hairy, Monkee Business, Jungle Tangle and her very latest is called Class Act.

Sadie Cramer’s delightful workshops for younger children were loved by teachers, librarians and children last year and this October Sadie will visit Kilmihil and Kildysart libraries. Her work with schools has been recognized by Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, earning her their inaugural ‘Above and Beyond’ Award in 2011. She is the illustrator of Juliette Saumande’s best-selling book for children Chop Chop Mad Cap. Sadie’s wide and varied experience in working with children ensures that her workshops will be accessible, participative and hugely entertaining for her young audiences.

Storytelling always features in the children’s book festival and this year is no exception. October is that time of year when the days grow dark and the nights grow long, - the perfect time to get together to hear a story or two. Author Dave Rudden (Knights of the Borrowed Dark, due Spring 2016) and storyteller Gráinne Clear will be coming to your local library to share stories of sea kings, stuffed monsters, invisible warriors and a whole family of mysterious witches.

Niall de Burca will visit libraries in West Clare on the 7th of October with his unique style that turns traditional storytelling on its head and drives it into the 21st century. His storm of stories for CBF 2015 will leave his audiences asking for more.
Michael Moylan, known the length and breadth of Ireland for his live history shows visits Clare’s libraries again this October with a fascinating, lead-in event for the commemoration of the 1916 Rising. During his hour-long, not-to-be missed show, children will dress in the clothes of the time and take up the guns of the Irish Volunteers and the I.R.B. With Michael’s expert knowledge of history in a show that has unique appeal for children, they will recreate the rising of 1916 and discover how our country became a nation.

Music and story workshops come to us courtesy of singer, songwriter, musician, TV presenter and script writer, Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain who is also the founder and director of the publishing company Futa Fata.
I gcomhar le Tionscadail na Litríochta, Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge tá an t-amhránaí, údar agus stiúrthóir Futa Fata, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, ag tabhairt camchuairt ar leabharlainn na tíre leis an seó spraíúil, siamsúil, SPRAOI SA LEABHARLANN. Is ar pháistí bhunscoile a freastlaíonn ar Ghaelscoileanna atá an seó dírithe. Árdófar díon na leabharlanna le neart rannta, amhráin agus scéalaíocht. Bígí linn. 

Futa Fata believes in building audiences for Irish books and its publications Gugalaí Gug Peigín Leitir Móir and Ceol na Mara are widely used in Irish schools. Tadhg will bring these stories to life for the children of Gaelscoileanna when he visits Shannon, Ennis and Kilrush libraries on the 7th and 8th of October.
Muso songwriting workshops will form part of the CBF line-up in Scariff and Killaloe libraries. Muso is an educational company that provides alternative learning workshops to schools around Ireland. Their sessions will focus on the art of songwriting to explore key areas of literacy. 

The wildlife of County Clare will come alive for children who visit Tulla, Newmarket on Fergus and Sixmilebridge libraries to hear David Lyons, Wildlife Ranger, National Parks and Wildlife Service. David will talk about the amazing wildlife to be found on our doorsteps. From the smallest flower to the biggest animal this presentation examines some of the many living things we find around our local communities and how each plant, insect and animal have their own methods to survive and thrive in their environment.
Drawing and illustration are synonymous with children’s books and who better to give children an insight into story creation through drawing than Clare’s very own Aidan Courtney. Cartoonist, former bookseller, book reviewer, workshop facilitator, editor, writer and publisher Aidan is the founder of Coimicí Gael. He has also written for publications in Ireland, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was a judge with Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year 2014 and when he’s not doing all that, it goes without saying that he simply loves to teach kids all over Ireland (and particularly in County Clare)how to make comics through Irish and English!

The Inis Reading Guide, published annually by Children’s Books Ireland will be available free of charge, just ask at your local library. The guide contains 270 book reviews over 84pages, organised by age section from 0-2 up to Young Adult alongside specialist poetry and non-fiction sections. 
Children’s Books Ireland is running an exciting competition to celebrate Yasmeen Ismail’s inventive Read Everywhere artwork based on the theme of this year’s festival. Young readers are invited to share the places they like to read; on the bus, in your treehouse, in the cupboard under the stairs?
Children are asked to simply take a picture in their favourite or most unusual place to
read and share it on Children’s Books Ireland’s facebook or twitter, using the hashtag
#readeverywhere. The lucky overall winner will receive €1000 worth of books for their
school library as well as a special personal delivery of books!

The ever-popular O’Brien Press Cover Design Competition once again allows fledgling
illustrators and designers to see their artwork on the cover of a published book. This year
Gillian Purdue’s title Conor’s Canvas has been selected for re-design in Spring 2016. The
lucky winner’s designs will not only be featured on the covers of the re-published book,
stocked in libraries and bookshops throughout Ireland, but will also be invited as guests of honour, along with their entire class to a special awards ceremony where they will receive five complete sets of Gillian Purdue’s books for their school. Further details on both competitions can be found on the CBI website or at your local library.

With all of this and much more in store for October, 2015 is truly the year to read everywhere.
Let the celebrations begin!