On Thursday evening I was invited along to a launch for the new edition of ‘Mad About Books‘, the must-have guide from Dubray Books. While there I was honoured to meet Joe Prendergast and even more honoured when he presented me with copies of his books!
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Joe, he’s nine years old and he has TWO published books to his name with a third on the way. The proceeds of the books go to Cancer Clinical Research Trust, following the sad death of Joe’s dad. You can read a great interview with Joe here.
Joe was kind enough to sign the books for me!
The books themselves are about The Great Fragola Brothers, Italy’s most famous magic duo who get embroiled in the kidnapping of a famous actress, secret societies and even REAL MAGIC! I flew through the first one because I loved it so much. The books are funny, exciting, thrilling and full of edge-of-your-seat action. Go and buy the books. Not only are they for a great cause, but like I said, they’re also great!
I’m often asked what my favourite book as a kid was and I’ll always answer: ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl. I love the dark humour, the tenderness of Miss Honey and Matilda’s friendship and I love how scary it is in the final ‘blackboard’ scene. So, also being partial to the odd musical, I was very excited by the prospect of Matilda: the Musical.
The show managed to exceed my already high expectations.
It’s running in the West End of London now (and is opening on Broadway in 2013) and won a record breaking number of awards in the short year it’s been there. If you’ve read the book or seen the film, you’ll know the story already. But the writing team of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin (yes, the comedian musician Tim Minchin) took the fantastic novel and expanded on it in all the right places. I won’t give too much away but they added a really ingenious subplot between Matilda and her favourite librarian. Read the rest of this entry »
As I type these words, I’m on a train to Ennis. (I’m working on an Android tablet connected to a fiddly little keyboard that’s smaller than my hand and I have to slam each key to get the character up on the screen.) Anyway… I’m right in the middle of the glorious insanity that is Children’s Book Festival. Last week, I met ten different classes alone – in South Dublin Libraries, Meath County Libraries and my local bookshop, Dubray Rathmines. Over the next few days, I’ll be visiting Clare Libraries and, as the month progresses, I’ll be in various locations in Dublin, Cork, Longford and more. And all the while I’m working on Arthur Quinn 3 re-writes. I’d be lying if I said October isn’t tiring. But I’d also be lying if I said it isn’t LOADS of fun. Hopefully I’ll see you as part of CBF! If not, check out www.chrildrensbooksireland.ie for full listings.
I’m a big fan of Mad Men. One of my favourite characters is Ken Cosgrove. He’s often overlooked but I like him because, although he’s just a boring accounts guy at work, he secretly writes short stories at home. The creator of Mad Men has said that the series will end in the modern day and we’ll get to see what all the characters are up to. I always get the feeling that Ken will have left the advertising industry to become a full-time and very successful author.
Anyway, I read this blog and it reminded me a lot of Ken. Turns out Dr Seuss worked in advertising before becoming a children’s author.
Back in the early nineties, my uncle who lived in America at the time brought back a book for my younger brother Paul. It was the Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry. Paul loved the book (mainly because it had pictures of fire-fighters!) and I remember flicking through it myself from time to time. I don’t think it was ever sold in this side of the world. I never saw it in any bookshops then and haven’t now.
Anyway, this flickr account grabbed my attention when I stumbled on it. Turns out that there are two versions of Scarry’s book. The first was released in 1963 and then his revised version came out in 1991. (We owned the revised version.) It’s interesting looking at what he decided to change nearly thirty years later and will tell you a little about how the world changed too. Have a look.
I know I haven’t posted in weeks and for that I apologise. But I honestly have been so busy since Children Save Dublin started in January that this is the first time I’ve had to write a new blog.
So as a lot of you will know by now, my book ‘Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent’ was chosen as the featured book in the first ever ‘Children Save Dublin’ reading campaign from Unesco. From January to March children in city were encouraged to read the book and engage with it through web games, discussion, acting, art and meeting me. There were so many highlights that I really wouldn’t be able to write them all down here!
I visited 25 schools, libraries and bookshops in Dublin and a further 10 around the country – nearly all in four weeks! I met hundreds of young readers, dozens of teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents. In that time, I answered countless questions, read from the book so much that I know certain passages by heart and signed a cramp-inducing number of books. I even got the pleasure of watching a play based on the first five chapters of the book! Read the rest of this entry »