Summer reads on Ireland AM with CEO Elaina Ryan

July 2023
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Friends Lauren Cronje (8) Ella Barry (7) and Aoibheann Colclough (7) from Dublin enjoying bedtimes stories in Airfield.jpg

School is out for summer, and what better way to spend the holidays than with an amazing new book?

Our CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, Elaina Ryan, joined Ireland AM this morning with five great titles for young readers this break. 

The Slug and the Snail cover

The Slug and the Snail written by Oein DeBhairduin, illustrated by Olya Anima (age 3+)

This beautiful book is an Irish Traveller folktale told by award-winning author Oein DeBhairduin (Why The Moon Travels). This story is told with great warmth and heart, and the book is beautifully co-published by inclusive Irish presses Little Island and Skein Press. There will be an Irish language edition published in September. It’s Traveller Pride week this week, so for settled kids, this is a really nice way to give them an understanding of and respect for Traveller traditions and culture, and for Traveller kids, it’s brilliant to see something that reflects that culture so beautifully.

My Friend Loonie cover

My Friend Loonie, written by Nina LaCour and illustrated by Ashling Lindsay (age 3+)

When a little girl’s mums come home with a present for her, she lights up: the big, bright yellow balloon becomes a constant companion. But one day she brings Loonie out to see the garden and it floats away into the sky. This is really a story about loss and resilience, whether it’s a thing or a person. Belfast illustrator Ashling Lindsay does so much with colour – the pages with Loonie are bright and vivid and fun, and after the balloon floats away it’s dark and grey and lonely. Ashling is part of the Children’s Books Belfast authors and illustrators’ collective – if you want to find more great kids books from Northern Ireland, check them out on Instagram!

Can We Really Help the Dolphins cover

Can We Really Help the Dolphins? Yes We Can! by Katie Daynes, illustrated by Róisín Hahessy (age 5+)

We know that there is huge climate anxiety or eco-anxiety in children and young people who can feel helpless about the climate crisis, and one of the great things about this book is that it is so practical and hopeful. It talks about why it’s so important to protect our seas and oceans from pollution and overfishing, and gives really clear ideas for ways children can influence others to make change, as well as making changes in our own family lives. Irish illustrator Róisín Hahessy has created six kids who talk to each other and to some very informative sea creatures throughout the book, which makes all the information very digestible and accessible.

Dog Man cover

Dog Man le Dav Pilkey, leagan Gaeilge aistrithe ag Máirín Ní Mhárta (7+)

We’re eleven books and seven years into this comic series, but not everyone might know that it’s now available in Irish. I love this announcement on the front cover: tá Gaeilge aige! This is the first Irish language translation, and there is something so fun about Dog Man becoming a member of An Garda Síochána or the prison guard delivering the post announcing ‘An Post anseo!’ – they’ve transported Dog Man to an absolutely Irish context. Learners and kids at second class level (8+) or so will also love it – whether they already know the story or not, a lot of the language will be familiar and the visuals will do a lot of the work in interpreting anything that’s not familiar.


The Lonely Book cover

The Lonely Book by Meg Grehan (9+)

Annie loves helping out in her family bookshop with her mum, her mama and Charlotte, who is introduced to us as her sixteen year old sister, a real girly girl. But Annie knows something is troubling her older sibling, and her moms are worried too. Even the bookshop is upset. This bookshop, you see, is special – a stack of books appears on the counter every morning and somehow, people come in who are just the right fit for each book, each day. But one day a book is left unmatched, uncollected, and the energy in the shop starts to change. Annie knows things won’t come right until the lonely book, as she calls it, a book which happens to be about gender, finds its owner. This book is for age 9+ and it’s a verse novel – a novel written in non-rhyming poetry.