Monday, May 17, 2010

Possibly the best yet

Ok, I said I was going to make myself scarce over the next while, but after posting so many times about the CBI conference, I felt I HAD to write about how it went and how it was possibly the best I've attended so far (this was my fifth). Maybe it was all because of those lovely nibbles provided by the National Gallery.
David Maybury has a very comprehensive summary of the weekend, complete with photos and quotes, so you really should head that way. I thoroughly enjoyed all the speakers, and what will stay with me is:
1- Spanish illustrator Elena Odriozola's list of the 17 needs she has as an artist, from the proper colour of paper to the removal of her characters' feet (for improved stability); and the accompanying pictures where everything was exciting: the birds, the print on a girl's dress, the glowing cheeks of a baby, the fact that all the action is happening outside the page...
2- Nikki Gamble's illuminating point that the best books act as mirrors or windows for their readers and that ''a child's mirror is another's window''. Nikki asked the audience several questions which I think will be haunting them for some time: "which book is the most representative of your culture?'' is still bouncing around my head and demanding an answer.
3- the honesty and openness of the panel of new and newish Irish voices.
4- the enthusiasm and respect I felt flowing from Siobhán Parkinson and Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin  in their discussion of children's books in translation.
5- Michael Rosen's performance of his poems; the piece about tiredness is going straight on my fridge.
6- Niamh Sharkey's exploit in getting a roomful of delegate to stand up and sing and act the Hugglewug song (!).
7- Marcus Sedgwick's sense of humour.
8- The excellent company all round, on stage and otherwise.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On tour

This blog is going to be a bit quiet over the next few weeks as I'm going off to France where A la Recherche du Bonheur (In Search of Happiness) has been shortlisted for two awards in the sunny south. I'm going to meet my readers (aged 5 to 7), who are also my judges. So I've been frantically preparing my visits (4 days in the schools in total) and gathering material. I don't know if I'm really ready to stand and deliver yet (especially after watching that junior Bisto jury video), but I'm sure my young hosts will be the real stars of the show. The other titles short-listed are (don't they look deadly?):

Our new laureate

You've problably read this in a heap of places, but here goes anyway: Siobhán Parkinson has become Ireland's first children's laureate and what an excellent choice that is!
‘I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the first Laureate na nÓg. I believe that children's literature lays the foundations of the imaginative life of a people, and that every child deserves to have access to a reading haven -- a well-stocked and well-run library in their school and in their community.’
If you want to know how Siobhán will go about her new role, have a look at this, visit the dedicated website  or come to the CBI conference this weekend where she will give a keynote address at 10am in the National Gallery this Saturday.

The real deal

Haven't decided which is your personal winner on the Bisto shortlist yet? Maybe the junior jury from Scoil Cholmcille, Skryne, can help you there. They've put together a video where each member of the jury gives a critique of each short-listed book. They're enthusiastic, they're honest, they're deadly! Have a look at their blog and listen carefully, there's some seriously good analysis going on. It's right here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Are we there yet?

Only one more week to go before the CBI conference! Have you got your ticket yet? No? Well, here's your chance to get a free one.
To celebrate the Conference, we have two free weekend passes to give away! Tweet us @kidsbooksirel, or leave a comment on our Facebook page, telling us why you want to go to the Conference, in 140 characters or less!

You have until Wednesday 12th May to impress us with your brevity and wit, and the two responses that make us laugh (or cry!) the most will win free weekend passes to the Conference. These get you access to all speakers and panels at the event, as well as refreshments provided by the National Gallery.
Go on, you know you want to. See you there!