White Ravens: Ireland
Ireland (English) - 1993 - 62
Cléirigh, Máirtin ó (transl.)
Sí an Bhrú
Baile Átha Cliath: An Gúm, 1991.  p.
Ireland/New Grange - sun worship (Ireland)
More than 5,000 years ago in the Stone Age sun-worshipping farmers crossed the western seas in pursuit of the home of the sun and landed in Ireland. This picture book-like information book describes the magnificent passage graves, the Irish equivalent of Stonehenge, that were built at New Grange and elsewhere and presents a plausible theory about them. The enigma which they offer to Irish and world pre-history is reflected in the striking pen-and-ink illustrations on each double-page spread. (6-10)
Ireland (English) - 1993 - 63
Mullins, Tom (selected/introduced)
Irish Stories for Children
Dublin: Mercier Press, n.d.. 111 p.
anthology/short storeis (Ireland)
The range and variety of well-crafted stories in this volume fully confirm the famous Irish tradition of story-telling. The 16 stories by well- known Irish writers from this century (unfortunately there are no biographical notes included) take the reader from real-life families to animal fantasy and back again. Because of their real Irish settings, these stories are well-suited for multicultural collections. And whether the Irish brogue is there or not, one can easily imagine these stories being read aloud over and over again. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1994 - 72
Conlon-McKenna, Maritta (text)
Coady, Christopher (illus.)
Dublin: The O'Brien Press, 1993.  p.
Night - Star - Dream
Young James finds a shiny star lying on the ground in his backyard one evening and enjoys its company, its shining brightness, over the next three days in his room. Then he realizes it is not a star for indoors and throws it back up into the sky. The double-spread, borderless illustrations are very striking for their use of color and the effortless suggestion of light sparkling with brush strokes. A prize-winning author of youth novels, this is Conlon-McKenna's picture book. (3-6)
Ireland (English) - 1994 - 73
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1993. 159 p.
(Horseshoe Series 1)
ISBN 0-862 78-331-3 (pb)
Horse Show - Dressage - Ambition - Pover ty
Ger Casey is the acknowledged leader of a loose gang of young ruffians in a poor district of Dublin. Running away from the scene of a prank one day, he slips into the fairgrounds where a horse show is taking place and has a chance encounter with a young girl his own age but of middle class background. Most importantly he is impressed by her horse's ability to dance, as the steps per formed in dressage seem to be. Captivated by this new experience he stays around the stables and, with Suzanne's help, gets the chance to become a stable boy. This is the beginning of a double life for him, taking him out of a dead-end situation at home and school and giving him hope and goals, as well as divided loyalties, which are resolved only after several turbulent episodes and some soul-searching. In this novel the world of horses is treated in detail, but equally important is the depletion of social inequality and its consequences for the young. The writer manages to do both subjects justice, giving the reader pleasure and food for thought. The sequel to "Star Dancer" is breathlessly awaited. (11-15)
Ireland (English) - 1995 - 51
No peace for Amelia
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1994. 215 p.
Ireland/World War I - War - Ireland/Easter uprising - Friendship
Decisive personal decisions in the lives of two young men (and their families) in Dublin in the spring of 1916 are depicted here in alternating chapters from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old Quaker girl, Amelia Pim, and that of her friend, the household servant, Mary Ann. While Frederick, Amelia's best beau, has patriotically signed up in the British army to fight in the Great European War, Mary Ann's brother, Patrick, is a Volunteer for the cause of Irish independence. The author skillfully uses this constellation to present two types of armed struggle and show how the different positions taken depend on the individual positions in life. The characterizations are strong and convincing, the interjection of historical facts into the plot judicious. This suspenseful sequel to "Amelia", which was short listed for Ireland's Bisto Book of the Year Award, will leave the reader most eager for the next sequel. (12+) ☆
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 49
Dublin: Basement Press, 1995. 126 p.
Football - Good/Evil
Larkin's Lot are a football team with a difference. They are the seven all-time worst players. In an attempt to achieve victory the two main players, Gerald and Fran, enter into a sinister plot with Lucky Lucy, the devil in a sports coat - and soon achieve more fame than they are ready for. The perennial struggle between the forces of good and evil is played out on a football pitch in this fastpaced comedy that is sure to appeal not only to football-playing boys. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 50
Dublin: Poolbeg, 1994. 155 p.
Ireland/History 1893 - First love - Self-discovery
In this sequel to »The Hiring Fair« the everyday life of a farming family in Donegal is presented from the standpoint of the eldest daughter, Sally. Returning from Scotland where she and her sister worked as hired hands, she finds that her would-be boyfriend is being pressured by his family to strive for a liaison with a richer girl. Sally has her own dreams for a better life and decides to pursue them by going off to Dublin. Full of authentic details of Irish country life in those times, a young girl's path of self discovery is portrayed here in a fascinating, well-paced narrative. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 51
Could this be love? I wondered
Dublin: O'Brien, 1994. 160 p.
First love - Family - Social differences
Jackie lives in a well-to-do suburb of Dublin and has little contact with other poorer neighborhoods until she goes to a disco evening at another school. For quite some time she has been exchanging »he Look« with a boy on her bus line, to whom she feels mysteriously attracted. When they finally meet, there are still further barriers to be overcome. The ups and downs of their romance, with all the family and social complications, are told by her in the first person, making it a believable story which teenagers will be able to identify with. (14+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 52
Hannah Or Pink Balloons
Dublin: Marino/Mercier, 1995. 96 p.
Hannah, Mark and Ben stay with their Belfast grandmother for over six weeks while their parents are away. Then Granny has an accident, and the additional responsibilities placed upon them deepens the relationship between the children and their grandmother. The narrative structure is engaging, the characters well-developed as the children go about their everyday activities of school, homework and housework. Though the story works well without any sensations or crises, the text is interspersed with humorous side-line commentary by magpies who observe the events from their nest at the bottom of the garden. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1996 - 53
Melody for Nora. One Girl's Story in the Civil War.
Dublin: Wolfhound, 1994. 217 p.
Ireland/1922 - Father/Daughter - Music - Alcoholism
Set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War in 1922, just one year after most of Ireland won independence, this timely balanced novel explores complex political allegiances, the horror of war and difficult family circumstances through the eyes of the its central character. Fourteen-year-old Nora looses her mother and experiences only bitterness in her usually drunken father. But she is musically talented, resourceful and ultimately a survivor. This novel is as much about Irish life in that turbulent period as it is about growing up in hard times. (12+)
Ireland (Gaelic) - 1996 - 248
Wynn, Gwyneth (text/illus.)
Micí Agus An Rí
(Micki and the King)
Dublin: An Gum, 1995.  p.
Dog - Curiosity - Runaway - Lion
Micky shares a house with Teddy. While Micky loves to watch television, Teddy doesn't approve. He prefers reading books. One day Micky sees a lion for the first time in his life - on television - and decides to go off to meet this king of the animal kingdom. His adventurous undertaking is wellrewarded, but he is happy to return home again to Teddy. This gentle, reassuring book is well-suited for reading aloud. The well-drawn pen-and-ink illustrations complement the simple storyline. (4+)
Ireland (English) - 1997 - 53
The dwellers beneath
Dublin: Attic Press, 1996. 122 p.
(Bright sparks; 24)
Kidnapping - Sect - Alternative society - Mystery - Adventure
When Miriam's father loses his business, the family must leave its upper-class home for a smaller house in a less attractive part of town. At her new public school, Miriam is befriended by children of very different social backgrounds. When one of them mysteriously disappears, Miriam and her new friends discover only by chance the tunnel into an underground world where a fanatic religious sect has been living for generations, kidnapping children from time to time to keep their society going. Their experiences in this other, »peaceful« but rigidly structured world, where they find children held in captivity, and their dramatic escape make for a thrilling read. The tightly-woven plot and character development make the novel memorable. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1997 - 54
O'Louglin, Aislinn (text)
Fitzpatrick, Marie-Louise (illus.)
A right royal pain. Rumpelstiltskin - the true story
Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1996. 79 p.
Straw - Gold - Greed - Name/Secret
Rumpelstiltskin finally tells us his own side of the story about how he helped a very spoiled and ungrateful miller's dauther to live up to her father's claims that she could spin straw to gold. One quickly discovers that there can be two sides to any story and learns to sympathize with the kindhearted, wrongfully maligned elf. The hip, youthful first-person voice and the imaginative twists to this adaptation - which O'Louglin also connects to »Sleeping Beauty« and »Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs« - make for an all-around enjoyable read. (8+) ☼
Ireland (English) - 1997 - 55
Ré Ó Laighléis
Ecstasy and other stories
Dublin: Beacon Books/Poolbeg, 1996. 104 p.
Ireland/Short stories - Ireland/City life
These hard-hitting short stories are set in contemporary urban Ireland and deal with topics ranging from drugs (as suggested by the title) to unemployment, but the moment of the first kiss and a kidnapping. The characters come quickly alive and the open-ended tales are often stimulate the reader. The earlier Irish-language edition of these stories was a Bisto Book of the Year Merit Award winner. (14+)
Ireland (English) - 1998 - 49
Dunbar, Robert (ed.)
Enchanted journeys. Fifty years of Irish writing for children
Dublin: O'Brien, 1997. 192 p.
Taking as motto for this anthology that »all good stories for children offer the prospect of 'enchanted journeys', ...voyages of discovery«, Ireland's leading children's literature expert, Robert Dunbar, has selected 17 authors whose works represent the breadth and diversity of Irish children's literature. The volume contains excerpts from each story, arranged in reverse chronological order, and range from Conlon-McKenna (1996) back to Conor O'Brien (1941). Dunbar also provides a detailed biographical sketch about each of the authors. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 1998 - 50
Dublin: Wolfhound, 1997. 157 p.
Adoption - Secret - Parent/Child - Expectations - Friendship
An adopted black Irish teenager begins to doubt the details of her adoption in Africa, when she finds a photograph of herself as a baby, surrounded by people she doesn't know. Sure that her (white) parents have lied, she secretly searches for her natural mother and in the end uncovers several unexpected truths. Parallel to her own identity quest, her boyfriend from a broken, tragedy-filled family, and her helpful, well-to-do school friend are also struggling with half-truths and selfdelusions in their families. O'Sullivan skilfully develops several suspenseful sub-plots and character portraits that reflect the complex realities of modern youth. (14+)
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 1998 - 51
Four kids, three cats, two cows, one witch (maybe)
Dublin: O'Brien, 1997. 192 p.
Island - Friendship - Recluse - Adventure
The winner of Ireland's annual Bisto Award for Children's Literature in 1996 gives us another highly readable story about lively, appealing young adults who are caught in the throes of growing up, gradually gaining self-confidence and valuable experience along the way to adulthood. During summer holidays two girls and two boys are thrown together, partially by chance, and embark on an adventure which leads them to an island. There they make the acquaintance of an eccentric recluse and learn to see life with different eyes. One special part of their adventure story involves the highly revealing »fairy tales« each one must make up and tell to the others, stories within a story. In this way Parkinson can introduce tension and conflicts with which any person could be faced with, while still portraying teenagers whose lives are fairly »normal«, like those of many of her readers. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 51
Milano, Ed (text/illus.)
It's a jungle out there
Dublin: Wolfhound, 1997.  p.
Cat - Outdoors - Self-identity - Hide-and-seek
In this inner monologue a white cat describes its backyard »jungle kingdom«. In the luxuriant stylized pictures of natural hiding places, animal life, and other shadowy shapes, the viewer shares the cat's perspective of a wide world of danger and mystery. This picture book gently triggers the imagination and invites repeated readings (a ladybug is also hidden on each double page spread), not only as a bedtime story. The author-illustrator has achieved remarkable harmony between text, illustration and book design. (4+)
(Bisto Book of the Year Award, 1998, Shortlist)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 52
Dublin: Poolbeg, 1997. 140 p.
Father/Son - Family conflict - Music band - Career choice - Boy/Girl - Growing up
Joey is a gifted musician who writes the music and lyrics for the rock band with his three mates and a new talented girl singer. But his widowed father has other career hopes for his clearly intelligent, but academically lazy son. Along the way to proving that his choice can bring financial rewards, Joey has to fool his Da and re-examine his flippant manner of dealing with family and friends. This début novel, written when the author was only fifteenyears old, captures the teenage attitude and jargon and the Irish melody of speech to create an authentic, entertaining tale of growing up. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 1999 - 53
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1997. 175 p.
(Other world series)
Nightmare - Magic - Good/Evil - Witch - Dreaming - Mystery
A three-year old boy is plagued by the same terrifying dream with increasing frequency. He cannot find the words to explain to his parents how the evil figure Pooshipaw can have such a hold over him. His grandmother consults with an old woman who has magical powers, including mind-reading. The witch helps the boy - and his twelve-year old Dutch-Irish cousin, who has different worries - to overcome the hold of the evil spirit in his dreams, while the dull, baffled parents try to solve the riddle of her identity. This engrossing horror story has strong, believable characterizations and adds color to the realistic plot with Irish words and lilting speech patterns.
(Bisto Book of the Year Award, 1998, Overall winner)
Ireland (English) - 2000 - 54
Benny and Omar
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1999. 237 p.
Moving house - Tunesia - Friendship - Orphan - Assistance
When his father changes jobs, Benny Shaw moves with his family from Ireland to Tunesia and begins school at a - to his mind, weird - progressive private school where his smart-alecky personality does not fit in. When Benny gets to know a young Tunesian orphan boy who lives in a shack outside the Westerners' compound, he becomes involved in adventures and dangers that have serious consequences for both of them. Colfer drives his plot with many techniques including Benny's wittily boyish humor as well as Omar's brand of English-via-TV-films. Colfer, himself a teacher who has worked in Arabian countries, has already written a sequel (»Benny and Babe«) set in western Ireland that will satisfy the fans of this bestselling novel. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 2000 - 55
Is anybody listening?
Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1999. 188 p.
Child abuse - Mystery - Social involvement - Telepathy
At first 17-year old Laura thinks someone is playing a joke on her, but as she hears the same voices increasingly often, she has to take their calls for help seriously - Sanjid, a young Indian boy held as a slave carpet weaver, and Rose, a Brazilian slum teenager. In a diary, Laura records incidents of magically linking up to each of them in her mind, while she becomes more and more shaken by the violence and dangers in their lives. Overly excited, she is admitted to hospital with an asthma attack and a young doctor helps her save Sanjid. Using magical realism, this compelling novel intertwines lives on different continents to awaken the readers' concern for child abuse. Addresses of international aid organizations are given in an appendix. (14+)
Ireland (English) - 2001 - 45
The cinnamon tree : a novel set in Africa
Dublin : O'Brien, 2000. 208 p.
Landmine - Arms trade - Child soldier - Friendship
The strong smell of cinnamon is the last thing Yola Abonda can remember. When she wakes up, she is in hospital. One of her legs is missing – it was blown off by a landmine. Aubrey Flegg succeeds in grounding the well-wrought and engaging story of a young girl in his extensive knowledge of African culture, compellingly raising the intricate issues of landmines, arms trade and child soldiers. His development of characters, particularly of Yola, is of great skill and psychological insight. An author's note provides additional facts about the political background of the novel as well as internet-addresses of humanitarian organisations. (12+) ☆
Ireland (English) - 2001 - 46
Dublin : Wolfhound Press, 2000. 140 p.
Change - Growing-up - Pig - Travellers
Callum's family are travellers, pig-talkers, mousecallers and tricksters. When their reputation in one village gets too bad, they just pack up their caravan and move on. Young Callum wants to end the family's way of life forever and discovers that change is never as easy as it seems. This is not an easy novel exploring the nature of continuity and change of human existence: familiy traditions, growing up, leaving home, ageing and dying. As strong olifactory sensations mingle with the thoughts and shrill voices of pigs and mice to create a dense text rich in subtle metaphors, Callum listens for his own calling and successfully struggles to find his way. (12+)
Ireland (English) - 2002 - 44
Dunbar, Robert (ed.)
Skimming : [fiction from top Irish writers]
Dublin : O'Brien Press, 2001. 155 p.
Ireland – Everyday life
»Skimming« is a rich and powerful anthology of short stories written by some of the most important contemporary Irish authors for children, such as Siobhán Parkinson, Eoin Colfer, and Mark O'Sullivan. Each of the stories has its own strong voice and distinct style and touches on a different theme. Topics range from the amusing attempts of a father to remove a spider from his daughter's bedroom (making the whole holiday home collapse on his head) to the moving account of a shy young boy who befriends an old tramp and defends him when a teenage gang attack the old man. Despite its diversity, however, the collection forms a cohesive whole by portraying children and teenagers who are trying to cope with their lives in a sometimes hostile world ruled by adults. (10+) ☼
Ireland (English) - 2002 - 45
Breaking the silence
Dublin : Wolfhound Press, 2001. 165 p.
(Young adult fiction)
Sexual abuse – Friendship – Fear – Feeling of guilt
In this powerful, engaging novel for young adults, the author approaches a topic that is still considered a taboo: the sexual abuse of boys. At the age of thirteen, now seventeen-year-old Declan was abused by a group of older boys from his basketball team. When they also rape his best friend Doc three years later, who dies shortly afterwards in a car crash, Declan is overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. The author sympathetically describes the protagonist's desperate attempts to regain control of his life; he portrays the boy's panic whenever he meets his tormentors, and makes the readers share his physical and psychological pain. With the help of two new friends, Declan eventually summons the courage to face his past. (14+)
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 45
A – Z and back again : a little bit of this and a wee bit of that!
Ballintogher : Kids’ Own Publ. Partnership, 2002.  p.
(A kids’ own book for young children)
Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, a small publishing house in Ireland, promotes the creative skills of children as writers and artists through various projects. One of their aims is to make the culture of »Travellers«, Ireland’s nomadic people, visible to others. For this outstanding example of children’s creativity reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art works, a group of children from two different schools have worked together with their families in a series of workshops. Using sponges, potatoes, and other everyday objects for different types of prints, they created the letters from A to Z and drew a few accompanying objects starting with each letter. With the help of photocopies, they decided on the final layout and design of the largeformat brochure. For the photo-gallery on the book’s endpages, they worked with digital photographs and computer. With the guiding assistance of an adult artist, they have thus created a fascinatingly colourful alphabet book. (2+) ☆ ☼
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 46
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2002. 141 p.
Parents – Divorce – Son – Anger – Self-confidence
Gyr, named after the gyrfalcon, a protected bird of prey, loves roaming the countryside of his family’s new home on a hill outside a small Irish village. Yet, when he learns that his parents are thinking about getting divorced and that his father will be staying in London, he is outraged and feels utterly lonely. Suddenly, an enchanting stranger enters his life: By introducing the boy to his world and the warriors of ancient Ireland, Finn MacCumhail (a well-known Irish legendary hero) slowly lets Gyr find his own path in life. In this engaging children’s novel, where the real and fantasy worlds naturally blend into each other, the boy’s quest for love and self-confidence is told in a convincing third-person narrative with a magical touch. (10+)
Ireland (English) - 2004 - 48
Wings over Delft
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2003. 189 p.
(The Louise trilogy ; 1)
Teenager – Love / Duty – Social class – Painting – Netherlands/1654
The rumours of her engagement to Reynier, an old childhood companion, come as an extremely unpleasant surprise to Louise, daughter of a wealthy Dutch potter. The educated, intelligent girl feels she is used as a pawn in a business deal. Reluctantly, she agrees to have her portrait painted by a well-known artist. In his studio, where the fascinating world of painting enchants her, she meets a soulmate and finally falls in love with him. Through its mixture of historical and fictiEnglish Language tious characters, the novel, which is the first volume of a trilogy spanning three centuries (loosely connected by the portrait of Louise), offers a compelling read and an interesting glimpse into the life in a Dutch village 350 years ago. (12+)
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2005 - 44
Cashman, Seamus (ed.)
Askin, Corrina (illus.)
Clarke, Alan (illus.)
Something beginning with P : new poems from Irish poets
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2004. 160 p.
Children’s poetry – Anthology
This wonderful poetry collection features over 100 new poems by the crème de la crème of Irish poets such as Desmond Egan, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and Gabriel Rosenstock, to name but a few. Written exclusively for this anthology, this colourful bunch of works offers a unique opportunity for children and adults alike to dive into the fascinating world of language. If the words alone make for a captivating read, the illustrations by Corrina Askin and Alan Clarke, some bold and bright, some soft and sensitive, turn this into a treasure of Ireland’s rich poetry that no one would want to miss. The appendix provides some useful English translations of the poems written in Irish, an alphabetical index of the poems (both first lines and titles), authors, and illustrators, as well as short biographical notes of all the artists who contributed to this splendid book. (5+) ☼
Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2006 - 46
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2004. 315 p.
Fantasy role-playing game Village community – Resistance – Suppression
On the planet of New Earth, people’s lives are determined by their success or failure in the roleplaying computer game »Epic«. Thus, prizes won, money earned (or stolen) in the game may win you a place at university or provide you with necessary goods, while being »killed« in a battle in Epic may result in the loss of all your possessions and the need to start at the bottom of society again. This is exactly the fate that Eric’s family faces, but the rebellious teenager desperately tries to find a way to fight the powerful committee of Central Allocations and escape their unfair treatment. In this intriguing debut novel, Conor Kostick, who was also the designer for the first ever live fantasy role-playing game, creates a fascinating futuristic world in which the majority of inhabitants lead a joyless hard life in poverty, while the ruling few accumulate their wealth. Criticism of this system as well as a plea for creativity and individuality are only some aspects hidden in this complex science fiction novel. (14+)
Ireland (English) - 2007 - 45
Dublin : O’Brien Press, 2006. 158 p.
Dublin/1930 – Poverty – Dream – Irish dancing
Life in Dublin in the 1930s is not easy, especially when you’re poor. Twelve-year-old Kate and her three little sisters are not only sneered at and teased by their richer classmates, the nuns at their convent school are not particularly friendly either. Food is scarce and there is not a penny to be spared for dancing classes, let alone fancy dancing costumes. Still, after her first taste of Irish dancing, the young girl is hooked and absolutely determined not to let her talent go to waste. The authentic and moving story written in an easyflowing style offers young readers an interesting glimpse into a time when women did not have many choices and everyday life was bitter struggle for survival for many poor people in the Irish capital. (10+)
Special Mention - Ireland (Irish) - 2007 - 227
Ó Raghallaigh, Colmán (text)
Reynolds, Barry (illus.)
The Cartooon Saloon (prod.)
Merigeau, Adrien (col.)
Burchartz, Roxanne (letter.)
Clár Chlaínne Mhuírís : Cló Mhaigh Eo, 2006.  p.
Connaught – Ulster – Queen – Envy – Bull – War – Death
»An Táin«, aka »Táin Bó Cúailnge« (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), is the central tale in the Ulster Cycle, one of the four great epic cycles that make up the surviving corpus of Irish mythology. By retelling this ancient story in graphic novel format, popular Irish author Colmán Ó Raghallaigh makes an important and exciting mythical tale come alive for young readers today. Accompanied by a sparse text full of dialogue, the energetic, angular watercolour-and-ink illustrations in subdued colours relate how Connaught Queen Méabh, jealous of her husband’s wealth, starts a war against Ulster to steal the precious bull Donn Cuailnge and thus increase her own riches. Although the Ulster teenage hero Cú Chulainn summons up all his strength and cunning and slays half of the Queen’s army, he cannot prevent her from temporarily obtaining the bull. Years later, Méabh takes revenge for the horrible bloodshed and ends Cú Chulainn’s life by resorting to trickery. (12+)
(Oireachtas na Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year award for Young People; 2006)