Friday, 1 August 2008

Marita Conlon-McKenna is Clare County Library’s most popular children’s author

Safe Harbour by Marita Conlon-McKenna, first published in 1995, has been the top issuing children’s book in Clare County Library branches for the first six months of 2008. The book, suited to readers aged 8 or 9 and over, tells the story of Sophie and Hugh who are left homeless when their house is bombed during the London Blitz. Their mother is seriously injured and their Dad is away fighting, so the children are sent to their grandfather in Ireland. Sophie is scared they have never met grandfather but his letters cause such trouble in the house, and their Dad never speaks of him. How will they live in a strange country, with a man who probably hates them and will the family ever be together again?

Marita Conlon-McKenna is one of Ireland’s most famous and prolific writers for children. Her Famine Trilogy comprising Under the Hawthorn Tree, Wildflower Girl and Fields of Home has earned her worldwide acclaim. Born out of the author’s fascination with anything to do with the Irish Famine and a radio report she heard on an unmarked children’s grave being found under a hawthorn tree, her book of the same name has been translated into many languages and was at the top of the Irish bestseller list for two years after publication. Clare County Library welcomes Marita Conlon-McKenna to Ennis and Shannon libraries during children’s book festival 2008 in October. Other top issuing children’s books from library branches in the first half of the year include the ever-popular "Horrid Henry" books by Francesca Simon, the "Where’s Wally" books by Martin Handford. Constant favourites Darren Shan and Jacqueline Wilson are always top of the list and Captain Underpants, the greatest comic-book superhero in the history of elementary school, is now a long established favourite with Clare’s young readers.

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