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Clare County Library - Children’s Book Festival 2004

Children’s Book Festival took place in libraries all over Ireland from the 14th to the 31st of October in 2004. Clare County Library put together an exciting programme of events again this year, featuring author readings, storytelling, art and crafts, children’s puppet theatre, music workshops, nature and wildlife and magic shows. Events took place in fifteen branches in the county.

Kilmihil, Lisdoonvarna, Corofin and Sixmilebridge libraries were the venues for Storyteller, Joe Brennan from Co. Donegal who entertained the local schoolchildren with his repertoire of folktales, myths and legends from all over Ireland. Pat Speight travelled from Cork to entertain audiences at Shannon, Newmarket on Fergus and Kildysart Libraries. Both storytellers went down a treat not just with children but with adult library visitors, parents and teachers alike, all requesting a return visit next year.

Dowtcha Puppets performed the tale of Eeny, Meeny, Miny or Mo in Kilmihil Community Centre for a young audience, helping them to explore the themes of peer and social pressures. The puppet theatre from Cork sought to illustrate how honesty and self-belief can help to ease these pressures. As well as delivering a serious message, Eeny, Meeny, Miny or Mo is a light-hearted, fun filled alien love story with plenty of laughs, catchy tunes and daredevil stunts. Children in Ennistymon, Killaloe and Newmarket on Fergus libraries also enjoyed this excellent, entertaining mix of music, story and good old-fashioned puppeteering.

Canadian native storyteller, Deborah Dunleavy toured the County during the first week of the festival visiting Ennis, Tulla, Kilrush and Kilkee libraries. The session turned out to be an excellent mixture of storytelling, music, song and rhythm with children from local schools becoming totally engrossed in a very interactive show, clapping along and learning some new dance moves to rhyme. Deborah told stories about her native Canada and also some African stories.

Ennis Educate Together School attended the African Drumming Workshop in deValera Library. Children regularly swapped around drums and percussion instruments supplied by Thomas Wiegandt from County Cork who provided a very interesting historical background to the music he was playing.

Some children’s comments on the workshop from Kilkee and Ennis libraries were:

“it was fun and I would love to try it again”
“I thought the drums were fab – it was great”
“my favourite instruments were the bells, I really enjoyed the workshop, it was brilliant fun!”

Corn dolly making with the Green Witch of the West, alias Melanie Lorien was another very popular activity in this year’s programme. Melanie told the history of corn crafts and some scary Halloween stories to young craft enthusiasts and showed corn crafts from different parts of the world for the children to see and examine. In all workshops everyone made a corn dolly to take home.

Events spread over 2 weeks gave parents an opportunity to take their children to the library during the Halloween break, outside of visits also organized by class teachers, the previous week.

Authors Stephanie Dagg and Yvonne MacGrory drew large audiences; schoolchildren and their teachers walking to the library during the week was a common sight on the streets of Ennis.

Stephanie was an excellent speaker, she chose some volunteers from the audience to demonstrate the life cycle of a book from first writing to publication. She then shared her experiences as a writer and how she came to choose that path and finally, read some excerpts from her books.

There were plenty of questions and participation from the audience.

Yvonne MacGrory visited deValera Library, Ennis, Tulla, Killaloe, Miltown Malbay and Ennistymon Libraries. A writer for children aged between 9 and 13, Yvonne read from some of her ‘Ruby Ring’ series of books and answered questions about her life as a writer.

Artists, Alan Shoosmith, Nicola Welford and Eamon Doyle hosted art workshops during the two week festival.

One of Ireland’s most famous magicians, The Great Padini, provided loads of laughs and plenty of excitement for children with his highly entertaining magic show that required lots of assistance from his young audiences.

Clare County Library would like to take this opportunity to thank all it’s sponsors of this year’s festival. We would also like to particularly thank all schools and teachers who arranged for classes to attend events in library branches during school time. Increased support from National Schools made this year’s festival one of the most successful for many years.

Festival Competition

Children’s Books Ireland ran a nationwide Design a Bookmark Competition for children aged between 5 and 18. There was a huge response from children all over Clare both individually and through their schools. The county winner of this year’s competition was Niamh Keogh from Ennis CBS National School.

A nationwide Favourite Author Poll was also taken in all libraries in Ireland. Children in County Clare had the option of listing their favourite authors, numbers one to ten, on printed forms or online direct to the Children’s Books Ireland website.

The most popular authors in Clare for 2004 were

In first place - Jacqueline Wilson
Second - J.K. Rowling
Third - J.R.R. Tolkien and Roald Dahl
Fourth - Darren Shan
Fifth - Meg Cabot
Sixth - Eoin Colfer
Seventh - Marita Conlon McKenna
Eighth - Karen McCombie
Nineth - Lemony Snicket
and Cora Harrison from Kilfenora in County Clare came tenth.

The nationwide poll produced almost identical results:
Ireland’s Favourites according the thousands of young readers who voted is
1. Jacqueline Wilson
In 2nd - 5th place were
2. J.K Rowling
3. Roald Dahl
4. Meg Cabot
5. J.R.R Tolkein

Children’s Book Festival would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors. Thank you for your past and continued support. Thanks also to all participating authors, storytellers, puppet theatres, artists etc. and to parents, teachers and children who support the festival.

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