Friday 28 July 2017

Irish children's Book of the Year

Joanna Kiernan takes a look at the nominations for this year's Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children's Book of the Year

We all need a little bit of fun, a dose of adventure and a sprinkling of magic in our lives, and the shortlisted titles for this year's Dublin Airport Authority Irish Children's Book of the Year Award do not disappoint.

The Dublin Airport Authority joined the Irish Book Awards in the first expansion in 2006. Since then, it has become a cornerstone of the awards in general, particularly with its hugely popular annual children's competition.

Children's books are of particular importance, as it is during childhood our imagination develops.

Who among us can claim to experience the same magic and adventure of reading now as we did in our youth, while getting to grips with worlds and characters only imaginable in our wildest dreams?

So to pass on this magical flame of wonderment to youngsters or, indeed, re-ignite your own, the following eight shortlisted titles (Senior and Junior) are a great place to start.

From roaming through roaring rainforests and searching for secrets in an old button factory, to unearthing pirate treasure and exploring the Milky Way and beyond, there is something for everyone.

1. On the Road with Mavis and Marge

Award-winning author and illustrator Niamh Sharkey's new creations Mavis and Marge -- a cow and a chicken respectively -- have itchy feet and a longing for adventure.

Mavis and Marge succumb to their wanderlust, but in doing so get more than they bargained for.

Up to the moon, across the sea, over far-away hills, they gather a gang of free-range friends along the way. But after all their efforts, from across the Milky Way, the hills of home begin to look decidedly greener.

2. Adam's Pirate Treasure

This is the fourth in the series of inspiring children's adventure stories from Benji Bennett, who won an Irish Book Award last year for Before You Sleep.

Readers set sail alongside their cheeky companion Adam to find some coveted pirate treasure.

Bennett began writing these books after the death of his son Adam, as a method of coping with his grief, and spreading what he refers to as "Adam's message" of love and happiness in the family.

3. The Heart and the Bottle

Picture-book award-winner Oliver Jeffers returns to explore themes of love and loss in this uplifting tale, due to be featured in a major motion picture. A girl -- full of wonderment at how the world worked and used to sharing all of her dreams and excitement with her father; who always had the answer to every question -- must face the day that his chair is empty, never to be filled again.

4. Alfie Green and the Chocolate Cosmos

Award-winning gardener and author Joe O'Brien returns with another instalment in the Alfie Green series. When Budsville's chocolate fair is cancelled, Alfie decides he must salvage it. A wise, old plant tells him of the Roaring Rainforest, where he can collect chocolate seeds.

But it won't be easy. Brave Alfie must first get passed the vicious Spider Plants and the Forest Ogre, and then deal with a great chocolate vine waiting to catapult him through the gateway of the Chocolate Cosmos.

5. Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz

Amy Green's mother is getting married and Amy is on a mission to find the perfect bridesmaid dress. Where better to begin than Paris, the fashion capital of the world. What could go wrong for Amy in a city surrounded by haute couture, gorgeous garcons, cool accents and the Eiffel Tower?

A certain Parisian garcon is the answer, but what will be the solution? Sarah Webb's latest book in the Amy Green series pays homage to her beloved Paris, fashion and all things girlie.

6. Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil

Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back -- just in time to see the world as they know it shaken to its very core. While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. Derek Landy's first book Skulduggery Pleasant won the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book of the Decade Award earlier this year.

7. Timecatcher

Jessie is inquisitive by nature, so when she stumbles across the Dublin Button Factory in the grounds of the old mill and begins to uncover a series of strange events, she launches into a full-scale investigation.

In doing so, Jessie comes across a boy who walks through walls, and the Timecatcher, a contraption which reveals the past every seven years, both good and bad, in a jumble of days.

8. Noah Barleywater Runs Away

John Boyne's 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was made into an award-winning film. The novel won two Irish Book Awards and spent more than 80 weeks at No.1 in Ireland, and topped The New York Times' Bestseller List.

Worldwide, it has sold more than five million copies.

His eighth novel, for younger readers, centres on a runaway who meets an unusual toymaker in a story full of wonder and broken promises.

WIN ALL EIGHT BOOKS

Terms and conditions

18+. €0.60 per entry incl VAT. Calls from mobile cost more. Network charges vary on SMS. Lines close at midnight on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Entries after the closing date will not count and you may be charged. SP Phonovation, Box 6, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. Helpline (0818) 217 100. Cash will not be given in lieu of prize. The competition is not open to employees of the Sunday Independent, Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards, Phonovation or related companies. The editor's decision is final.

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