Blog

Aunt they wonderful?

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Eva Ibbotson loved them. Enid Blyton confined them to the kitchen. Roald Dahl had it in for them (Spiker and Sponge were squished by James’s giant peach, and I’m sure Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull had nephews and nieces). Fairy tales aren’t keen on them, and history has condemned many to the woods as witches. But I […]

Wonder schools

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What exactly is creativity? It’s a word that can excite and delight or frighten, depending on family history, self-image and experience. There are a million ways to define it – and I’ve never seen a definition that quite does it justice – but one thing’s for sure: we’re all born with it and, I think, […]

My Secret Dragon’s Den

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A huge thank you to the young entrepreneurs of Scoil Naomh Treasa in Bellewstown, County Meath. Third and fourth class have put two and two together to make €700 for Nepal Leprosy Trust, a charity that works in Nepal to support people affected by leprosy (www.nlt.ie). After reading My Secret Dragon, the children spotted the […]

‘For me you’re just a person’

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An evening of brilliant down-to-earth inspiration last night at the IBBY Ireland Annual Lecture. Deborah Soria of IBBY Italia told the story behind the Silent Books project, which started in 2011 with her simple desire to offer practical help to refugee children arriving on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. Her vision has materialised into a […]

Dragon School

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What a wonderful morning at St Andrews School in Lucan. Two fifth class dragons (one with painted face and scales, the other in a scaly onesie) met me at the door. A wall of book reviews; painted pottery dragons; pupils dressed as characters; cakes and question after question about My Secret Dragon. It’s a gift […]

A different way of seeing

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Autism: “a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.” Oxford English Dictionary Loud and lively, playing with words and messing with metaphor, spontaneous, hilarious … children’s book festivals and school visits by authors, illustrators and other creative […]

Future Perfect

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‘More and more clearly, I came to realise that I must not look backward, but to the future, and … begin with children.’ Jella Lepman, founder of IBBY* Jella Lepman’s faith in children to shape a more peaceful, tolerant world was borne out this week, more than fifty years after she wrote those words in […]

Stories through sound and silence

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A mixture of speech and silence, words and pictures this week, with the chatter of Children’s Book Festival and the quiet of the Silent Books. Schoolchildren around Dublin learned how dragon DNA entered human gene history to create Aidan Mooney’s fire-breathing mum in My Secret Dragon. And in Galway, teachers, librarians, home-school liaison workers and […]

Wordless worlds

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Two wonderful, wonder-filled sessions with wordless picture books in County Clare this week. Syrian children brought their parents along to explore Clare Libraries’ set of Silent Books from around the world (based on the IBBY collection, (see http://www.ibby.org/awards-activities/activities/silent-books/?L=0). We started by using props to create a group story where humans turned into cats, jumped into […]

Multi-stories

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You’d think that once a book was on the shelves the story inside it would be over. But schoolchildren around Cork have been proving otherwise. Talks on My Secret Dragon during Children’s Book Festival have unearthed all sorts of different possible plotlines and motivations from the ones that drive the book. Reading short pieces from […]