Christmas Books on Spotlight with Ruth Medjber

December 2022
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Books laid flat against a grey background. The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy, Be Inspired! by Sarah WEBB, Bad Panda by Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey, Run for Your Life by Jane Mitchell and Whiteout by multiple authors.

On 30th November, CEO of Children's Books Ireland Elaina Ryan joined Ruth Medjber on her Dublin City FM show Spotlight, to chat about brilliant books for children this Christmas. 

You can listen back to the episode at the link below, and read more about each brilliant book right here!

The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy

The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy (age 4+) 

Young readers may know Steve McCarthy’s illustrations from his books of nursery rhymes and poems with Sarah Webb – Sally Go Round the Stars, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea and The One With The Waggly Tail. This beautiful book is his first solo venture as author and illustrator. Oktober Vayslenko is the black sheep of his family: he prefers his adventures to be indoors, confined to the safety of a book. When he is forced to join his family on a trek into the “slimy, grimy and climby wild” he sees danger everywhere, and fears a creature called "The Wilderness"! This is a wondrous story full of gorgeous autumnal colours and with a cast of kooky characters reminiscent of a Wes Andersen movie. 

Bad panda: The Cake Escape

Bad Panda: The Cake Escape by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (age 5–8) 

When Lin the panda’s best friend Fu is stolen from the zoo, a fierce and funny quest to find him ensues. Lin may be fluffy but she is fearless – and whatever you do, don’t call her cute. Fu ensues in this entertaining tale from the author and illustrator duo behind the Dave Pigeon books. On EVERY PAGE you will find: Guaranteed laughs! Stylish two-colour illustrations! General PANDAmonium! Lin the panda is on a mission: to find her best friend, Fu. He's disappeared from the zoo! Has he been stolen by the Horrid Human? Only her badness can help her find him... luckily this panda is as fearless as she is fluffy! Just don't call her 'cute'... 

Be Inspired

Be Inspired! Young Irish People Changing the World, by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Graham Corcoran (age 6+) 

From activism to sport, the creative arts to science and innovation, discover the amazing young people who are making waves. Follow beach-cleaner Flossie Donnelly  on her quest to save the oceans, and join  Adam King  in changing the world one hug at a time. This book shows such a range of amazing children and young people – my own daughters were fascinated with Sarah Fitzgerald, a reading champion. A percentage of the royalties from sales of this book go to Children’s Books Ireland to support our work with authors and illustrators from underrepresented backgrounds, so it’s also contributing to a great cause. 

I Got This by Cara Mailey, illustrated by Chrissie Sains

I Got This! by Cara Mailey and Chrissie Sains (age 9+) 

When a mega-famous pop group announces a competition for fans to be part of their next music video, Erin decides to go for it. She wants to show her younger brother that in life, there are no limits – even if you don't look like most other kids. Erin's character is inspired by co-author Cara Mailey, who has achondroplasia (the most common form of dwarfism) and was featured on CBBC's documentary My Life: Made to Measure. Co-author Chrissie Sains is the author of An Alien in the Jam Factory, a brilliant book about a young inventor who happens to have cerebral palsy, though that isn’t at all the focus of the book. This is a funny, big-hearted novel about loving yourself for being exactly who you are! 

Run for Your Life by Jane Mitchell

Run for Your Life by Jane Mitchell (12+) 

Endorsed by Amnesty International, this is the first children’s book exploring Direct Provision, Ireland’s asylum-seeker accommodation system, from award-winning author Jane Mitchell, the award-winning author of Chalkline and A Dangerous Crossing. Azari’s life has been split in two and the halves are as different as lemons and mangoes. When she and her mother flee for their lives to Ireland they are put in a Direct Provision Centre. They must share a room with a stranger, eat food they don’t know the name of and answer intrusive questions from authorities. Azari’s life has secrets; she must tell them so she can stop running and live a life where she can make her own decisions.

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon (YA)

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon (YA) 

Think of this collection of short stories as a sort of Love Actually (but better) featuring teens of colour. Atlanta is blanketed with snow just before Christmas, but the warmth of young love just might melt the ice in this novel of interwoven narratives, Black joy, and cozy, sparkling romance—by the same unbeatable team of authors who wrote the New York Times bestseller Blackout! As the city grinds to a halt, twelve teenagers band together to help a friend pull off the most epic apology of her life. But will they be able to make it happen, in spite of the storm?