They came, they read, they defended and they attacked. The fifth class boys and girls from St. Peter’s National School, Snugboro, had a most enjoyable morning at Castlebar library recently when they gathered to present their lively and interesting reviews of the books they had read as part of the Children’s Books Ireland shadowing scheme. They didn’t mince their words as they explained to their classmates which titles they had enjoyed, and which ones had not inspired.
The CBI Book of the Year Awards, which were formerly known as the Bisto Awards, have been running for 24 years now, and are made annually to authors and illustrators born or working in Ireland. The shortlist of titles was announced in March, with the overall winner announced on May 8.
Established in 2005, the shadowing scheme offers children all over Ireland the chance to read the books on the CBI shortlist and take part in a number of classroom activities related to each title. This year, Castlebar library undertook to supply the books to a local school interested in participating, and Snugboro’s speedy response saw them coming on board as the shadow school in the Castlebar area.
Class teacher Peter Tuohy chaired a very interesting series of presentations by the fifth class pupils who acquitted themselves very well in critiquing the books they had read. Their classmates had the opportunity to ask plenty of interesting questions and many of the children had designed their own banners and artwork to accompany the books they were discussing.
The books that made a particularly good impression on the class included Spellbound (a collection of Irish myths and legends written by Siobhan Parkinson), The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (which won the Eilis Dillon award for first-time author) and Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson (which won the overall CBI Book of the Year award).
Other short-listed titles included Hong by Anna Heussaff, This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers, Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Oh No, George by Chris Haughton, Mise agus an Dragun by Patricia Forde, and The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne and Na Laochra is Lu by Laoise ni Chleirigh. All titles, and many more, are available to borrow from Mayo libraries.
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