This week’s Story Time book is Chris Judge’s sweet and charming tale of a beast who, while happy doing what he does, feels the need to search for something different… and possibly find other creatures just like him. Judge’s story reminds me of Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are – it’s simply drawn yet beautifully presented and told.
Kids will grow to adore The Beast as he searches the countryside and adults can only love a story in which being different and following your own path is as important a message as ‘friends and family’. Highly recommended!
Come join us in every Eason store in Ireland at 11am on Saturday, January 26th, as we read The Lonely Beast to children, adults and big kids!
January: For me, this used to be the month when one felt guilty for the overindulgence of the previous one. Too much turkey, TV and chocolate. Too much of everything really. It was a month of ‘New Year, New You’ – getting off the couch and doing things… which was fine… Then a few years ago, suddenly, January ceased to be the dumping ground for whatever children’s books hadn’t made Christmas and were too early for Easter. I blame Eragon myself… It was the first major blockbuster to be released in this sleepy month but it also marked the beginning of a new era, when it became the norm for people to spend the month of January on the couch or in bed reading new titles and new authors. I love it!
This year is no exception, with the release of some astounding titles, including the following six, which have been chosen as our Children’s Books of the Month for January:
Starting off with John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, this paperback edition will hopefully help Mr. Green to reach the audience he deserves. Without doubt my favourite book of 2012, this bittersweet tale of teenage love in a cancer support group is not as depressing as it sounds, but rather a story of beauty and wonder, spoken in a voice so clear and concise that you can’t but feel the full power and emotion of Hazel’s story. John Green is a force of nature, a talent waiting to be discovered, and I strongly believe that 2013 is the year when the world will take notice. I implore you, read it. (For age 14 and over.)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio is another crossover novel, detailing a young boy’s struggle to live with a rare facial deformity. Again, don’t assume this is a tragic tale of woe, it is not. It is, instead, a stunningly poignant story, filled with hilarious moments & numerous surprises that will have you cheering August Pullman on every step of the way. (For age nine and over.)
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente is the sequel to the fantastic Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Think Alice in Wonderland meets The Wizard of Oz and you’ll be half way to understanding what you’re getting in to. A romping-stomping piece of pure fun that is every bit as mad as any hatter I’ve ever met. (For age nine and over.)
Darren Shan’s ZOM-B Underground is the sequel to the first in his new young adult series, ZOM-B. And if you thought the first instalment was controversial – a bit “This is England meets The Walking Dead” – well, wait until you get a load of this book. I’m also delighted to announce that we will be giving away an exclusive set of illustrated Zom-B postcards with every purchase in store, while stocks last. (For age 14 and over.)
James Dashner’s Maze Runner series is a brilliant dystopian trilogy, soon to be made into a Hollywood movie, so it was with great excitement that I received the news that The Kill Order, a prequel to The Maze Runner, was to be released. A world on the brink of collapse, contagious diseases spreading like wildfire, this tale of two teens attempting to survive the chaos and save their friends is an action-packed, nerve-shredding delight. (For age 14 and over.)
Finally, one of this year’s new kids on the literary block, Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 is a joy to behold (well, if your version of joy involves disease, dystopian landscapes and a Lord of the Flies-esque setting in a giant department store). This is fun with a capital F. I read it in 24 hours – sleep became a foreign concept – and I can’t wait for the sequel. For any fans of Michael Grant’s GONE series, this is a must read. You won’t be disappointed. (For age 14 and over.)
Teenage and Young Adult books have grown in popularity over the past number of years, thanks to the successes of Twilight and The Hunger Games. However, with such a wide and diverse range of genres out there, where do you even begin to choose the highlights of the year?
Well, how about starting with some oldies (but not really that old) and classics.
First published in 2001, Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman is one of the original dystopian series out there for young adults. This hard hitting tale of love, death and betrayal is set in an alternate world where class and race decide our role in society, and it’s a must-read for ANY fans of The Hunger Games. We have the first two titles in the series in a handy bind-up.
Another amazing series for those who have moved on from Twilight and are looking for something slightly more edgy, but also featuring demons, vampires, warlocks and werewolves, is The Mortal Instruments Series Box Set by Cassandra Clare. With a massive movie due next year starring Lily Collins, Robert Sheehan and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, this is a must-read for those who like to be ahead of the curve.
Teen Thriller is the new Vampire Lit and you can’t go wrong with the Queen of Thrills, Sophie McKenzie. Book Three in her enthralling ‘Girl Missing’ series, Missing Me, picks up where Sister, Missing left off. It’s tense, taut, edge of the seat stuff.
Finally, I know he’s not technically for teenage readers but he is read by a lot of them so I’d have to say Lord Derek Landy and his Skulduggery Pleasant : Kingdom of the Wicked is a must-have for any teens who love an action packed, comedy filled adventure full of all sorts of madness and mayhem.
Now, when I looked at my overall list of books of the year, I found that they were all actually from the teen/ young adult genre. So, from these, here are my Top 3 Absolute Must-Reads :
First up is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This poignant, funny, tragic tale of a cancer support group for kids and it’s teenage heroine, Hazel , was one of this year’s gems. I implore you: read it and weep. It’s time for everyone to see what all the fuss is about. I predict that 2013 will be the year John Green’s star shines brightest and he becomes a global superstar.
Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, by Veronica Roth is my favourite dystopian series since The Hunger Games. This edge of the seat novel is filled with chaos, warring factions, brutal governments and an empowered and strong lead female character, Tris. Again, this is one that I’ve re-read numerous times and it just gets better and better with every read. Amazing stuff, which will leave you breathless. Next up is Fear, part of the GONE series by Michael Grant. Think Heroes meets Lord of the Flies but darker. Teens and younger kids are trapped in a world where adults have vanished, powers have been accessed, both good and evil, and chaos is the norm. If you have teen boys or girls in need of some adrenaline-fuelled reading material, this is the series for you. Love it!
And finally, we have Wonder by RJ Palacio. A book of beauty and class that had me laughing, crying and basically wanting to walk around handing out copies of it and forcing people to read it. Like The Fault in our Stars, this tale of a young boy and how he and his peers deal with his facial disfigurement is not a tale of sadness and negativity, but more an uplifting tale of battling against the odds to feel, simply, normal.
In the first of two parts, Eason Children’s Category Manager, David O’Callaghan, throws his beady eye over books for kids aged 0-12.
Christmas time… Mistletoe and books… What is not to love about a period of the year when there is an overwhelming choice of books that will have your bookshelves creaking, your head scratching (as you try to figure out which one to read next) and your family guessing as to what to buy you, as you seem to have read everything out there? Below is a list I’ve put together of books that, if I had a stocking large enough, I’d fully expect to find hanging on my fireplace (if I had a fireplace).
In the 0-4 age group, I can’t look any further than a trio of picture books that I adore for very different reasons. Pirates Love Underpants is a whacky, zany, madcap tale that kids will adore. Be gone those Aliens! Those Dinosaurs can walk that plank! It’s the Pirates’ turn to become obsessed with underpants. On a much calmer and more beautiful note, Guess How Much I Love You: Here There & Everywhere by Sam McBratney is another timeless classic in this beautifully illustrated series, with four more tales featuring Big & Little Nutbrown Hare. Stunning. Finally, I have to go with This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers. As is to be expected from Mr Jeffers, Moose is a quirky tale of a boy and his Moose…or is it HIS moose?! That seems to be the question. Brilliantly conceived and amazingly designed – I loved every bit of this book.
In the 5-8 age group, I have to start with Captain Underpants & the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey, comic strip madness & mayhem from what I consider the original ‘Wimpy Kid’. You want bonkers? Well, this book is stuffed to the rafters with it & the kids will fall off the couch with laughter when they read it – so have plenty of cushions lying around.
Next up are two perfect gift books for fans of the hottest brands among 5-8 year old boys & girls: Bringing together all their favourite characters in a nice little gift hardback, Beast Quest: Complete Book of Beasts and Rainbow Magic : Complete Book of Fairies are a stocking filler’s delight. You can’t go wrong with these. Nor can you go astray with The Wind in the Willows (Gift Edition) by Kenneth Grahame. This classic tale gets a contemporary look from the wonderful David Roberts, illustrator of Dirty Bertie. Cute, feisty and stunningly produced… This is a must-have gift for families everywhere.
Another one that caught my eye is Spellbound: Tales of Enchantment from Ireland by Siobhan Parkinson & Olwyn Whelan. This gift book features classic Irish tales told through beautiful imagery and the words of Siobhan Parkinson. For anyone who loves a seasonal Irish-themed gift book for younger readers, this is a must-have.
The 9+ age group is our biggest, most popular children’s category and the choices are endless. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel is such a no-brainer, and a sure-fire Christmas bestseller, that I feel I should be mentioning one of its successful ‘genre spinoffs’ instead. It has to be Dork Diaries 5: Dear Dork by Rachel Renée Russell. Nikki Maxwell’s latest adventure takes her on a mission to defeat her arch nemesis, with – as usual – catastrophic results! The Dork Diaries series has grown in popularity among girls in the past few years and continues to go from strength to strength. Other ‘Wimpy genre’ hits include Big Nate, Tom Gates and World of Norm.
Ratburger is a Roald Dahl-esque cracker from Mr. David Walliams. He is fast becoming the go-to guy for 9+ kids looking for hilarious, quirky and often touching novels.
Judi Curtin’s books are like a Hot Chocolate on a cold winter’s morning. With Leave It to Eva, she writes another cracker, retaining her title as Ireland’s answer to Jacqueline Wilson.
Finally in this age group, we have an oldie but a CLASSIC: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. Every kid (and grown-up) will need to be in touch with their inner-Hobbit, as the movie trilogy is about to begin. Tolkien’s tale for younger readers sends us back to where it all began.
Check back on Friday for the second part of my Christmas Crackers, where I will be looking at what’s on offer for the teen and young adult gift-buyer.
He came, he saw, he… obliviated?
Anthony Horowtiz was in flying form as he met fans of all ages at our event in O Connell St.
He chatted about Alex Rider, The Diamond Brothers, Sherlock Holmes, the finale to his Power of Five series – Oblivion – and what projects he has lined up for the future.
We were thrilled and delighted to welcome rock legend Peter Hook to our Eason O’Connell Street store for an exclusive event with fans of Joy Division and New Order to celebrate the launch of his new book, Unknown Pleasures.
Chaired by Nadine O’ Regan, it was an insightful evening, full of substance and atmosphere. “Hooky” was a gentleman, had some great tales to tell and everyone went home thinking it wasn’t such a Blue Monday after all.
Very few braiiiiinnnnssss were eaten, and most of our staff’s limbs remained intact… however, plenty of questions were asked and books were signed (in blood, of course).
Unfortunately one fan, Laurence Cole, got a bit too close to Darren and he was never seen again!
Very tasty and chewy words, with a side dish of beautiful illustrations and a dessert full of cuteness and ice cream!
If you haven’t eaten this book yet, then you need to Get Into Reading this weekend. Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book Eating Boy is a timeless classic that I’d highly recommend for book eaters of all ages. (I also hear they are making a TV show of it soon called “The Great Irish Book Off”!)
Come join us in every Eason store in Ireland at 11am on Saturday, September 29th, as we read The Incredible Book Eating Boy to children, adults and big kids!
And don’t forget: Oliver will be hosting a drawalong evening with Children’s Laureate Niamh Sharkey at 6pm tonight in Eason O’Connell St!
We are thrilled and delighted to announce that Lee Child will be signing at Eason this September. To promote his brand new Jack Reacher novel A Wanted Man, he will be appearing at:
- Eason Donegall Place, Belfast – Friday September 7th at 12:30pm
- Eason Dundrum – Saturday, September 8th at 12:30pm.
2012 is a landmark year for Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher thrillers have now sold in excess of 50 million copies worldwide. The first movie, Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, and written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is released on 26th December (we think it’s going be a great movie and Tom is going prove to everyone that he’s the perfect Jack).
“Oh no You won’t!” “Oh yes I will!” and “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” are regular occurrences in this beautifully illustrated book. Hal faces up to the extremely grumpy and hungry dinosaur and discovers that, beneath that scary exterior, the dinosaur has a soft centre. Meanwhile the dinosaur learns that you don’t have to eat everything in your path just because you can. But most of all… just get practicing your Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs because they are plentiful!
Join us in every Eason store in Ireland at 11am on Saturday, August 25th, as we read The Dirty Great Dinosaur by Martin Waddell to children, adults and big kids!