It’s no secret that I love all things American. Every book I recommend, every blog I pore over, every stitch I buy for myself or my kids seems to from the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Gap, Gapkids, Babygap, Old Navy, Ll Bean, Oshkosh and Gymboree are all old friends of mine.
Sometimes, just after I have finished hanging the clothes out and am propping up the clothes line with a plank, I can see that almost everything on it has been shipped from the States. (Via China, of course.)
At night I tuck them in with A Balloon For A Blunderbuss, Ira Sleeps Over, A Sick Day for Amos McGee and Make Way for Ducklings. Alone, they read the A to Z Mysteries, The Brixton Brothers and Chasing Vermeer. Colour is spelled color in all of these books.
It has been ever thus. At five I remember my Great Aunt Gertie visiting Galway from Boston, bringing exotic rarities like fitted sheets, Crayola crayons and a Mrs Beazley doll. (currently sleeping in a drawer upstairs).
Later, when I was a student, I crossed the Atlantic for the first time. I’ll never forget sitting on the bus that collected us at Logan Airport and gazing out the window. I saw my first brownstones, and streets that were exactly like Sesame Street. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed.
But I am Irish and as my readership grows, I feel it is my duty to draw attention to the fact that there are also good things right here, in Ireland. In particular, many great kid’s books.
I'll start with The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd. (Ages 8 to 12, this would be great to read before a visit to the capital city.)
Sadly, Siobhan Dowd died way too young and left one book unfinished. This was developed and completed by Patrick Ness. I haven’t read it but it has garnered rave reviews. It is called A Monster Calls.
For younger boys (or tomboys), I like these first chapter books:
The legend of Spud Murphy http://www.amazon.com/Colfers-Legend-Murphy-Of-Prebound/dp/0756965144/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_z
And, The Legend of Captain Crows Teeth, both by Eoin Colfer.
Eoin Colfers Artemis Fowl books(the first two are also available in graphic novel form – fantastic) and Benny books for older boys are well known (and great) but I think these little ones are wonderful too. I’ve heard The Legend of Spud Murphy as an audiobook and it is unforgettable.
Another Irish graphic novel is The Blood Upon the Rose, which is factual (its about the 1916 Rising in Dublin) and pretty good. For kids who might be interested in history or just guns and fighting, it’s perfect.
Also of a historical bent but more likely read by girls there is the hugely popular famine series that starts with Under the Hawthorn Tree by Marita Conlon McKenna.
Eagerly awaited here is every installment in the Skullduggery Pleasant series. (I met Derek Landy once and he was extremely nice.)
And of course, lastly the stunning debut from me:
Ok, I was joking about the stunning bit (although it’s not too terrible). I know Amazon say it is currently unavailable and that they will ship it when they can but believe me, it is unavailable forever. There was a small print run originally and I’m sorry to say it wasn’t a massive seller. Oh well, I have a copy for my grandchildren, that’s the important thing.
P.S. There are many, many more titles written by Irish authors that I have not mentioned, but my kids are on their way back from the cinema and I need to post this before they get here. What I mean is, this is just a start.