The sun shone, the daffodils bloomed and the crowds came out to celebrate this year’s very special ‘St Patrick’s Day Festival’. This was a four day celebration as an extra government holiday day was added to say an official ‘Thank You’ and to acknowledge the Trojan work of all Medical and Health Care staff during the past two years of the Covid outbreak.
To add to the festivities The National Museum in Collins Barracks in Dublin hosted a brilliant few days of fun, with music, bands, dancers street performances, food trucks and events for all ages to enjoy. I was happy to come along to the ‘Story Yurt’ and talk a little bit about my writing and books with the author of the wonderful ‘Boot’ books Shane Hegarty. It was so good to get back to meeting and talking to kids of all ages about stories and book ideas.
Today all over the world we are celebrating World Book Day so pick up a book and get reading!
It also marks 25 years since the start of World Book Day.
As a mad reader and total book worm it is great to celebrate all the wonderful books that have filled my heart and mind and life since I was a kid and all the great new ones too!
It doesn’t matter if you are 9 months, 9 years or 99 years old, there is always time for finding a good book and opening that first page and beginning a new adventure in reading.
In schools, bookshops and libraries all kinds of brilliant events are happening over the coming days so whether you are dressing up as your favourite book character, designing a new book jacket, acing it in a big book quiz , testing out mad scientists experiments, or taking part in a sponsored read, enjoy World Book Day!
There are lots of special euro 1.50 book tokens which you can use in your bookshop to buy one of the great special World Book Day books!
I am involved doing lots of lovely events , talking to schools in Sligo and Newry and a fun filled online event on the day itself with Sarah Webb, Judi Curtin, Gerry Daly and John Farrelly organised by the Halfway up the Stairs bookshop in Greystones and O’Brien Press.
Like everyone involved in the children’s book world I am very sad to hear about the death of much loved author and illustrator Shirley Hughes who somehow captured all the joys and ups and downs of childhood so perfectly in her wonderful children’s books.
She has always held a very special place in our family as my four children and now my grandchildren are introduced to her books from the stories of the wonderful Alfie who manages to close the front door locking his mum and little sister Annie Rose out of their house, to the missing much loved and nearly threadbare toy Dogger. In every book Shirley Hughes somehow captured all the special moments of childhood with her tell- tale art work.
From the wordless Up and Up where a little girl eats a magical egg and suddenly learns to fly ,taking to the sky and flying up and up over her house and school as neighbours and family and friends try to get her back down to earth. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without reading our well -worn copy of ‘Lucy and Tom’s Christmas’
I had the good fortune to meet Shirley Hughes when our daughter Mandy won a competition to design a book- mark for Waterstones Bookshops when she was young. Tim Waterstone was due to give her the award in Dublin, when suddenly it was all changed and Shirley Hughes, who had helped to judge the competition came to Dublin instead. Everyone was over the moon to have the author of Alfie with us. I remember that Shirley Hughes was kind and generous to us all and never stopped smiling and laughing for she was an author who clearly loved her work and meeting children and young readers.
She lived a long happy life of 94 years, and twice won the Kate Greenway medal for Illustration and was awarded both a British O.B.E and C.B.E for her Services to Children’s Literature.