Tuesday 4 September 2012

Children’s Book Festival 2012 - Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Libraries in County Clare are gearing up for Children’s Book Festival 2012 with events planned in all its branches over the month of October. Up to one hundred events are planned to spark the imagination of young readers from toddlers to teens! In association with Childrens Books Ireland, everything from readings by popular authors, to writing and illustration workshops, plus storytelling and competitions will be part of the line-up with countless opportunities to explore a wide array of books! Headlining this year’s festival in Clare are Marita Conlon McKenna (The Children of the Famine Trilogy), and literary superstar Derek Landy who will be celebrating the publication of the latest title in his Skulduggery Pleasant series, Kingdom of the Wicked. Both authors are making a one-off visit to Glór Theatre, Ennis, to celebrate Children’s Book Festival in County Clare. Bookings by schools for both events must be made by contacting 065 6846266 or by email to patricia.fitzgerald@clarelibrary.ie before September the 21st.

Other visiting authors to individual library branches include Alan Early whose first book Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent has enjoyed extensive media coverage and has been hailed as the Irish Percy Jackson. Alan Nolan will be here as well with his graphic whodunits for 10 to 14 year olds including The Big Break Detectives Casebook, Death by Chocolate and Six Million Ways to Die published by O’Brien Press and there’s more… Nicola Pierce will give four readings based on her novel Spirit of the Titanic, now in its fifth reprint since publication last year. And staying with the Titanic, Michel Moylan’s Irish History Live will present an interactive show to his audiences on the making of the ship, how it was powered, the class system on board, how the ship sank and more. Michael’s living history shows never fail to enthrall his audiences and are booked out on announcement whenever he comes to Clare.

Other authors who will celebrate this year’s festival with us include Gerry Boland, Laoise Ní Chomhraí and Tomi Reichental. Tomi Reichental’s visit to deValera Library, Ennis on Tuesday October the 2nd is exclusively for Leaving Cert students. His book I Was a Boy In Belsen, which coincidentally was ghost written by another CBF visiting author Nicola Pierce, tells the story of his life from the age of nine years old when he was rounded up along with members of his family in a shop in Bratislava and taken to a concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen. In Tomi’s words "the Holocaust didn’t start with ...'gas chambers and crematoria' but with whispers, taunts, daubing and then abuse and murder. One of the lessons we must learn is to respect difference and reject all forms of racism and discrimination". Altogether 35 members of his family died in the Holocaust. Now living in Dublin and one of only three Holocaust survivors in Ireland, he travels the country giving talks on his unimaginable wartime, boyhood experiences to Leaving Cert students. Clare County Library is honoured to have him visit deValera Library in Ennis as part of this October programme of library outreach events to share stories of his life with Leaving Cert students from Secondary Schools.

Storytellers Niall de Burca and Pat Ryan are regular performers at Clare’s children’s book festival and never fail to entertain and delight audiences of all ages with their folktales, myths and legends, riddles, rhymes and proverbs from all around the world. Both will be back this October to delight children in seven of the county’s library branches. Hands-on workshops facilitated by experienced artists are always popular and this year classes can choose from percussion workshops to journal writing by Isabelle Gaborit or story creation workshops with Donough O’Malley. Visual artist and co-founder of Dog and String Theatre, Sarah Fuller will also be on hand to guide children in making their very own animated film show based on characters they will create on paper.

By visiting the Children’s Books Ireland’s website www.childrensbooksireland.ie children can find out how they might win fabulous prizes for their school by designing a book jacket or writing a short story and there’s guaranteed to be loads more information and activity on that site in the coming weeks. Don’t forget to visit your local library and keep an eye on www.clarelibrary.ie for full details of all events here in County Clare. Events are planned specifically for school audiences and teachers are advised to book classes in early to avoid disappointment.

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