The annual festival helps spread the enjoyment of books and reading among children and families, authors and illustrators, teachers and librarians all over Ireland. It forms part of the Right to Read initiative offered through all public libraries.
Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service has put together a blended Children’s Book Festival programme with many of the events taking place online and virtually. It’s hoped that in-person events will resume in November, with best-selling author Michael Smith scheduled to visit five schools in-person next month.
Ten authors and illustrators are due to virtually visit 51 primary schools from across the county throughout October. The schools range in size from a total of eight pupils to 60 students in each year.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan welcomed the festival saying, “The Children’s Book Festival is always an exciting time of year, and this blended approach of online and in-person events ensures that pupils and their teachers from the Beara Peninsula to Mitchelstown, and from Mallow to Crosshaven, will have an opportunity to meet with, and be inspired by, an excellent range of writers and illustrators.”
County Cork author Micheál Lovett will host four virtual workshops for schools in Millstreet, Enniskeane, Dripsey and Innishannon. His fantasy action novel ‘The Realm of the Hare’ was released earlier this year. Speaking of the festival, Micheál highlighted how, "I am delighted to do these workshops with children in County Cork, introducing them to the magic and sorcery of the imagined worlds that are in Cork. Storytelling is in our DNA, and it is very exciting to see what stories they come up with in the workshops."
Gerry Daly, whose new book with Erike McCann ‘Puffling and the Egg’ is being published on October 11th, is also taking part in the virtual visits this year. Other authors and illustrators include Shane Hegarty, Judi Curtin, Alan Nolan and Carmel Uí Cheallaigh.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, added, “The Children’s Book Festival is a central focus of Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service every year and an important part of the Right to Read initiative. Traditionally, we would see lines of primary school children excitedly making their way to one of the county’s 25 library branches or engaging with one of the mobile libraries that travels to schools. This year, an inspiring programme of virtual events has been put together to promote children’s literacy and encourage a love of reading. It’s wonderful to note that the return of in-person events is also planned for schools in November.”
Michael Smith will visit five schools on the Beara Peninsula including St Michael’s National School on Bere Island during November. The polar historian is working with Castletownbere Library to engage pupils in the adventures of Irish explorer Tom Crean and his time stationed in Berehaven as Warrant Officer for the Royal Navy. Michael’s biography, ‘An Unsung Hero – Tom Crean’ has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide and the story of Tom Crean is now part of the curriculum in Irish schools after the success of Iceman – Tom Crean for younger readers. ER Murray, Brian Gallagher and Tatyana Feeney will also visit schools in County Cork next month.
For more information, please visit the Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Services section.