Details of Children’s Book Festival 2020 confirmed

Details of Children’s Book Festival 2020 confirmed


Photo: Eamon Ward

Clare County Library’s Children’s Book Festival (CBF) in October will include limited live events, lots of online readings and storytelling activities and guaranteed fun engagement with some of Ireland’s most popular and bestselling authors.

While disappointed at having to scale back hundreds of visits from schoolchildren because of coronavirus, library staff have not been deterred from connecting young readers with authors and book-related events at a time when the celebration of stories is more important than ever.

We appreciate schools’ understanding of our delivery of a slightly different festival this year. Depending on event providers and their preferred method of delivery, restriction of the number of children participating will be necessary. Each branch library’s programme, with events taking place either online or live, will generally be available only to schools in their catchment areas.

Featured authors for CBF 2020 include Muireann Ní Chíobháin, author of the prize-winning Irish language book Scúnc agus Smúirín, and bestselling and award-winning writer and illustrator Oisín McGann. Oisín’s latest book, Race the Atlantic Wind (O’Brien Press, 2019) is a compelling read for older children and indeed for adults.

Also included in this year’s CBF is children’s author Debbie Thomas. Debbie’s workshops for Clare libraries will focus on friendship, acceptance and belonging, using her book My Secret Dragon as a springboard.

Alan Nolan is a regular inclusion in library festival programmes all over Ireland. He is the author and illustrator of Fintan’s Fifteen, Conor’s Caveman and the Sam Hannigan series for the O’Brien Press. His latest books, Sam Hannigan and the Last Dodo and Animal Crackers (with Sarah Webb), are both out now. This October, Clare County Library brings you Alan’s new and hilarious show for children, ‘Furry Friends and Ferocious Foes – Favourite Animals Big and Small.’

The festival line-up also includes live Zoom sessions by AgriKids, a leading voice in promoting farm safety in Ireland. Founder and facilitator Alma Jordan works tirelessly to proactively educate our children to become farm safety ambassadors and her presentations will focus on animal and tractor safety. Three children’s books make up The Riverside Farm collection published by AgriKids for children. The titles are The Tree Swing, The Big Brown Bull and The Red Tractor and all are available from branches of Clare County Library.

Children’s author Judi Curtin needs no introduction. A primary school teacher, she has been writing for adults and children since 1999. Her most recent books are Lily at Lissadell and Lily Steps Up. Set in 1913 and 1914, these books tell the story of a young girl who has to leave school to become a housemaid at Lissadell House. Judi will be talking about her reasons for writing the books, the historical and social research she needed to undertake, and what life was like for a young girl in 1913.

Caroline Busher will deliver a series of online workshops for Clare libraries giving children a unique opportunity to find out about the life of a writer. In a pre-recorded video, Caroline will explain where her ideas come from and how she turns them into stories. She will give children top tips on how to write a book and will read an extract from her latest novel from her writing hut in Wexford. Caroline will answer any questions children may have on becoming a writer via Zoom, reaching her readers directly in the classroom with the help of class teachers.

Niall de Búrca is one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers. He is renowned at home and abroad for the diversity and energetic delivery of his stories. Niall will visit glór, Ennis, and two school venues on 20th October.

Niall de Búrca is one of Ireland’s finest and most-loved performers.

Multi-talented writer Patricia Forde is another welcome return visitor to Clare this October. During the festival she will visit schools and meet with a wide range of audiences. Aliens, mysterious islands and dragons are guaranteed in her CBF 2020 sessions this October.

Clare County Library is extremely grateful to children’s songwriters The Speks for this year’s festival song. The Speks live on an island out in the middle of the ocean off the coast of County Clare called Glasses Island because there, everybody wears glasses! So from now until the end of October why not listen, sing your loudest and clap along with your friends to our special song for CBF, available on the library homepage.

County Librarian, Helen Walsh, commends the quality and diversity of this year’s programme. Ms Walsh said: “While our library service would dearly love to bring a fuller participatory programme to children as in previous years, the present programme showcases the work of excellent authors working in the field of children’s literature and ensures that each library branch has one or more events to offer to children during CBF this October.”

The library’s full CBF programme is available to download from