Books Make Things Better with Dolores Keaveney

I am an author, illustrator and artist living in Mullingar with my husband John and I am a grandmother to eight grandchildren. I have been painting for the best part of forty-five years, taking my inspiration from my garden, especially in summertime when it is packed full of beautiful flowers.

In 2009 I self-published my first children’s picturebook, If I Were a Bee, which has had great success and is still in print, and I have continued to launch one or two books each year since. To date I have published thirteen children’s books which have been used in schools and libraries across the country with several featuring on Children’s Books Ireland’s recommended reading lists.  One of my books Jenny the Little Brown Hen has been translated into the Irish language by Foras na Gaeilge, Jenny an Chearc Bheag Dhonn.

I run workshops in libraries and schools every year during campaigns and initiatives such as World Book Day, Crinniu na nÓg, Summer Reading Stars, and the Children’s Book Festival in October.

Dee the Bee is my first traditionally published book. This book is published by Starfish Bay Publishing an independent Australian publisher and is distributed here in Ireland and the UK and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand in November. Finally, my first traditionally published book was published to be published and I could not have a book launch, which I was looking forward to greatly! But, I am really delighted to have the book out and hopefully it will be a bestseller. Because I am over seventy, lockdown has been very difficult. I would normally be out selling my book and my art at events and fairs around the country but everything stopped. I have kept busy, I’ve have produced art for a new book called Huwie the Apple Tree and I have also made some scarves using my designs. I am not fearful for the future and I believe we have benefited in ways from the lockdown.

In the past I have used my art in various genres. I initially started out painting in watercolours almost forty-five years ago under the guidance of a professional artist in Mullingar. I then joined a local art group and we stayed together for twenty years – painting, attending courses and holding exhibitions around the country. I continued painting, producing a range of miniature watercolours and large paintings alongside painting on slate. In the past one image, ‘poppyfield’, from my first book has been used by Shannonbridge Pottery to use on a set of ceramics. I am delighted to say that I have also joined forces with a company in Donegal called Pixalili who have a range of textiles featuring images from some of my books. I have also launched my own collection of textiles, including aprons, bags, cushions, wall hangings, table runners and serviettes.

In 2009, I was attending a course to learn about bees, after which I decided to write and illustrate a little book about all the flowers that the bee calls to when collecting pollen and nectar. I called it If I Were a Bee. I am still writing and illustrating books about bees and their world eleven years later. As we all know bees are an endangered species and I really want to instil all the knowledge I can about the fruits and vegetables that the bees pollinate. Dee the Bee is a descriptive picturebook about fruits and vegetables that bees pollinate. Pollination is a very important part of the life cycle of pants. This book explores the role of bees in the pollination process. Readers will see that many of their favourite fruits, vegetables and plants depend on the hard work of the bees. Without the bees we would be in a spot of bother.