Marian Finucane Saturday 9 December 2017
Children's Books for Christmas
Marian is joined by Aoife Murray from Children's Books Ireland.
The President’s Glasses by Peter Donnelly. This is a very charming and funny picture-book about the Irish president, who bears a striking resemblance to the current resident of Aras an Uachtaráin. The president has some important documents to sign but can’t find his glasses so it’s up to the presidential pigeon to find them and save the day. The pigeon’s journey across the city brings the real-life landmarks, sights and sounds to life for young readers and is one the entire family will enjoy.
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers. This is a special picturebook, inspired by the birth of Oliver’s son Harland. Like a lot of Jeffers’ work it works as an incredibly colourful engaging and inspiring book for young readers as well as a very cool coffee table book for those who like beautiful illustration and design. In it Jeffers tries to answer the big questions about the world we live in and the people who inhabit it, through the eyes of a child completely new to the planet.
Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough and Jim Field. That rare book that is both an excellent title for young readers who are keen to read by themselves as well as funny and engaging enough for the whole family to read together out loud at bed time. Rabbit and Bear are two pals who live in the forest but have very different personalities and outlooks on life. A very funny book, could suit a young reader who hasn’t quite yet found a book to love.
A Sailor went to Sea Sea Sea by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy. A beautifully illustrated collection of traditional childhood rhymes, songs and poems. Again, a perfect book to enjoy together as a family and one that grandparents would enjoy with their grandchild, passing on the rhymes and chants from their own childhoods. Steve McCarthy’s illustrations add a quirky element.
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. A first book for children by best seller and multiple award winner Emma Donoghue. This is a book that features an ensemble cast of a large blended family, with two dads, two mums and many children and pets. A book about the adventures of every-day life with many siblings, this is the perfect read for a thoughtful child, perhaps one who comes from a large family!
Another book for this age group is Darkmouth: Hero Rising by Shane Hegarty. This is the fourth instalment in the Darkmouth series and a good incentive to encourage a 9-11 year old reading to continue with the series if they have already started it, or start from the beginning if not. Children at this age love a long series with lots going on and these books tick all the boxes of adventure, a funny hero, and a little tiny bit of fear!
A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell. An excellent title for children of this age who are developing a social conscience or who perhaps need to learn more about social justice issues. Fiction is an excellent way of exploring potentially upsetting issues and this story of a thirteen-year-old Syrian refugee is very timely.
Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson. Irish children’s books have always been very strong on historical fiction and the latest title from Sheena Wilkinson is no exception. Set at the end of World War 1 Stella is a determined young lady who gets involved with votes for women, introduced in Ireland in 2018. A perfect gift for a young reader with an interest in the past and how it impacts on the present as we enter into the centenary year of women’s suffrage.
Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan. A collection of fairytale retellings from a feminist perspective. The retellings draw on the cruel nature of the original fairytales while challenging the idea of the damsel in distress or the maiden who needs rescuing. Karen Vaughan’s intricate line drawings recall the work of Harry Clarke. The perfect gift for a teen reader who loves beautiful books and questions to Disney-fication of well known fairytales.
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. Sarah Crossan writes in free-verse style in a thoughtful and engaging manner. Her latest novel concerns a convict on death-row and his estranged brother who wants to reconnect with him before its too late. A very powerful book about family, love and forgiveness which would appeal to any readers who enjoy a beautiful, truthful story.
Detective fiction is popular currently, books by Robins Stevens and Katherine Woodfine recall the adventures of characters like Enid Blyton’s Twins at St Clare’s with a touch of Agatha Christie
Fairytale retellings - Deirdre Sullivan’s Tangleweed and Brine earlier and we can look forward to Louise O’Neill’s retelling of the Little Mermaid in May next year.
Unusual Book Suggestions
Non-fiction continues to be very popular, books like Focloropedia by Fatti and John Burke are perfect for young readers who might prefer non-fiction knowledge to fiction.
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