The Silent Books are standing, leaning and lying proud in their latest home. The exhibition of wordless picture books from around the world has reached the last leg of its Irish tour, Tralee Library in Kerry, ready to wow the county’s children and adults.
After the launch by the Mayor of Tralee tomorrow, local primary school pupils will browse the exhibition and step into the shoes of refugees, for whom the books were originally collected by IBBY for the library on the island of Lampedusa. Imagining the challenges facing those who are forced to flee their countries and begin a new life, children will then create their own ideal nations, complete with flags, laws and national anthems.
All are welcome to the Silent Books exhibition, on display until June 16th in Tralee: a wonderful celebration of the power of picture books to tell stories that transcend words.
This weekend, IBBY Ireland will be taking part in Listowel Writers' Week, the National Children's Literary Festival in County Kerry. On Saturday 3rd June, from 3.30pm, pop into the Town Park for a free treasure hunt using books from around the world. Look for clues, 'visit' countries and continents, and don't forget to get your special passport stamped at each destination! Find out more on the festival website here. And check out the rest of the events which include talks and workshops with the likes of Holly Webb, Nick Sharratt, PJ Lynch, Oísin McGann, Sarah Webb, Cathy Cassidy, Mags Suggs and more. More info here.
Not many people get the chance to rule a country. And looking at the world today, some of those who do could have used better training. But tomorrow’s world looks brighter, at least if Irish children have their way. With the help of IBBY Ireland, primary school pupils in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South County Dublin have been creating nations - inventing new countries with laws, languages, flags and holidays, not to mention national puddings.
These 'Nation Creation' workshops are accompanying the Silent Books exhibition on its tour of the country’s libraries from Dublin to Kerry. With the help of writer Debbie Thomas and illustrator Tatyana Feeney, young nation builders begin by stepping into the shoes of refugees such as those arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, where the exhibition has its permanent home.
Children explore how Silent Books, with their universal stories beyond words, can comfort, educate and entertain those traumatised by war, persecution or natural disasters. They imagine the feelings that might accompany forced migration: from fear, anger and loneliness to more positive possibilities such as relief and the hope of a better future.
Groups then design their own ideal nation, naming and drawing the country and making its flag out of felt with colours and shapes that symbolise the country’s values or history. We’ve had pineapples representing health and natural abundance; magical, pure unicorns, and white circles of peace.
Laws range from the unsurprising - sweets every day, optional schooling – to the impressive free housing, taxes to pay for health care, bartering systems to replace money, internet regulation, gender equality and bans on guns and drugs. More disconcertingly, while kindness is often enshrined in law, the penalties are anything but: life imprisonment or even public execution.
Still, on the whole the future looks good in Ireland – as long as it’s ruled by under-18s.
You can catch up with the Silent Books Exhibition in dlr LexIcon until May 29, and in Tralee Library from 2-19 June.
The Great Reads Award, run by the School Library Association in the Republic of Ireland, was set up by a group of school librarians working in a variety of Irish second level schools who are passionate about introducing students to great books.
The aim of the award is to highlight new authors and diversify the reading of young adults. It’s also an opportunity for students to voice their enthusiasm about good writing for their age group at a time during the school year when examinations are less pressing.
The GRA organizers are now looking for nominations. The books have to answer the following criteria:
(a) Fiction with YA protagonists;
(b) Published between January 2016 and May 2017;
(c) Début authors to fiction or established authors who are new to the YA scene;
(d) Works written in English or translated into English (this includes authors who may have already published YA works in their own language but were translated into English for the first time.) Submissions must be suggested to a school librarian for consideration or to email@example.com
To celebrate International Children's Books Day this April, IBBY Ireland have teamed up with various libraries around the country to bring young readers some exciting events around international books and the theme of fairy tales.
Tatyana Feeney was in Meath at the end of March and will be in Ballyroan Library, South County Dublin, tomorrow 8 April, running a Fairytale Monster Doodle. Come and draw an enormous castle and help fill it with monsters, fairies, princesses, dragons, or any other creatures you can imagine!
Debbie Thomas will run 'Nation Creation' workshops in Ballyroan Library on April 11 and Tallaght Library on April 27 and entice young writers to create their own countries, making up their own laws, deciding on their flags, customs and national treats!
Juliette Saumande will run a storytelling and writing workshop around Disaster David, her picturebook inspired by an Armenian folktale, in Ballyroan Library on April 12.
These events are free but some are school events while others are open to the public. Check out details with the venues.
Saturday 8 April from 2pm come and join us in Ballyroan Library for the launch of the Silent Books exhibition. Take a tour around the collection, join in a Monster doodle with Tatyana Feeney and meet Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for a workshop around her wonderful wordless picturebook Owl Bat Bat Owl.
All events are free and family friendly! More info here.
You are all warmly invited on the Irish stand at the Bologna International Children's Books Fair next Tuesday 04 April for a drink and a chat. Come along!
IBBY Ireland is very proud to bring to Ireland the Silent Books exhibition to coincide with International Children's Books Day this April! This travelling collection of over 100 recent, exciting wordless picturebooks from around the world, from Argentina to the US via Finland, Iran and beyond will visit four libraries around the country: Ballyroan and Tallaght in South Dublin, dlr LexIcon, and Tralee in Co. Kerry with a launch in Ballyroan on Saturday 8 April.
Each leg of this free exhibition will also include hands-on activities from story time to illustration and writing workshops facilitated by local librarians and writers and illustrators such as Children’s Laureate PJ Lynch, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Debbie Thomas and Tatyana Feeney. Check out each venue for details of those events.
Silent Books on tour:
Ballyroan Library: 1-18 April
Tallaght Library: 19-28 April
dlr LexIcon: 2-29 May
Tralee Library: 2-18 June
The Mountains to Sea festival is in full swing this week in Dun Laoghaire with lots of children's books events to delight school audiences and the general public. Don't miss the wonderful exhibition of art by Italian-born, French-based writer-illustrator Beatrice Alemagna and Ireland's own Chris Haughton.
These two picture-book creators have produced, in very different styles, work that oozes with respect for their target audience, reflecting a world at a child's eye level, but, always, with something for the adult reader in it too.
Valerie Coghlan in her piece for the Irish Times (over here) sums it up:
"This exhibition reminds us that picturebooks are not only the preserve of preliterate children, recalling the words of Randolph Caldecott, the 19th-century illustrator, who is sometimes credited with being the father of the modern picturebook. Caldecott said that a good picturebook always has something there for the adult as well as the child. He didn’t mean that children were excluded, but that older children and adults see more – and perhaps interpret a visual story differently as their understanding develops."
Beatrice Alemagna and Chris Haughton will be in conversation with Margaret Anne Suggs in the dlr LexIcon this Sunday at 12. More details here.
So head over to Dun Laoghaire and dive into a World of Colour: there's something in it for everyone!
[Alemagna] spends a lot of time observing children and her interest in childhood and its temporal fragility is evident throughout her work. Her most recent books The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty (Thames and Hudson) and What Is a Child (Tate) evoke this, capturing the emerging individuality of the children who populate her pages. (Valerie Coghlan)
What better way to celebrate Paddy's Day than by reading great books written or illustrated by Irish children's book authors? There's lots to admire all round, for all age groups and in all genres. To help you pick a 'green' book this weekend, have a look at iBbY Ireland's selection of some of the best recently published books in English and Irish for iBbY Europe’s Children’s Books in European Languages. The selection can be searched by language and is widely consulted the world over.
Here are some of the titles we included: Ná gabh ar scoil! (Máire Zepf, ill. Tarsila Kruse, Futa Fata); An gabhar a raibh an-ocras go deo air! (Máire Ní Chualáin, ill. Natasha Rimmington, Futa Fata); Morf (Órna Ní Choileáin, ill. Olivia Golden, An Gúm); Rabbit and Bear (Julian Gough, ill. Jim Field, Hodder); Nothing Tastes as Good (Claire Hennessy, Hot Key); The Wordsmith (Patricia Forde, Little Island); The Ministry of SUITs (Paul Gamble, Little Island); Oasis (Eilis Barrett, Gill Books); Harold’s Hungry Eyes (Kevin Waldron, Phaidon) and more. Make sure to check these selections over here.
And if it's still not enough, the Children's Books Ireland's Book of the Year award shortlist was just announced this week.
Happy Paddy's Day!