Ireland has a rich literary tradition that continues to thrive with the continued emergence of exciting children’s books. Over this past year, a number of new children’s titles by a range of talented authors and illustrators have been released. From classic tales revisited to modern adventures, these books range from characters with diverse backgrounds, to Irish culture and mythology. Here’s a selection to add to your child’s reading list.

1. The Turfies (6-8 years) By Sandra Langan

The Turfies tells a story of creatures who live in all the bog lands around Ireland. The bog lands become magical when the heather turfies sing in the fields to make the rain magic – it turfatises the land and the Turfies are born. They look after the land and all the animals that live there. They also love music and dancing and have lots of stories to tell.

• Published by Austin Macauley, €13.04

2. The Great Irish Book of Gaelic Games (10-12 years) By Evanne Ní Chuilinn

Sports journalist Evanne Ní Chuilinn takes the helm of Gill’s beloved Great Irish series with The Great Irish Book of Gaelic Games, a guide to the wonderful world of hurling, football, camogie, and more. This book allows readers to discover everything about Gaelic games both on and off the pitch. The book explores what happens on match day, legendary managers, famous rivalries and much more.

• Published by Gill Books, €24.99

3. The Golden Hare (0-4 years) By Paddy Donnelly

This picture book tells a story about the magic and wonder of nature that is all around us. It is inspired by the very real, but very rare golden hare of Rathin Island. Meara and her grandad set out on an adventure to the Golden Hare, a mythical, shape-shifting creature that can jump to the moon. Along the way, they discover all sorts of treasures in the trees, under the ground and in the waves.

• Published by O’Brien Press, €14.99

4. The Slug and the Snail (4-7 years) By Oein De Bhairduin

Drawn from the Irish story-telling tradition, this tale is a gentle allegory about identity and self-acceptance. Two slug brothers travel happily until they meet a crow who asks them where their home is. The younger brother becomes embarrassed and says he is a snail while the older brother carries on as a slug. The brothers grow apart, however, in time learn how to respect each other’s way of life.

•Published by Little Island and Skein Press, €16.99

5. Little Big Sister (4-8 years) By Eoin Colfer

This book tells the story of Starr, a girl with dwarfism living with her mum and sister, Babs. As the girls get older, Babs overtakes Starr’s height and Starr understands there is something different about her. When Starr starts school, she is upset, being shorter than the other children. However, with help from her mum and Babs she finds the courage to shine. The book is illustrated by Celia Ivey, who has dwarfism and found a lot of the book resonated with her own experiences.

• Published by Little Island and Skien Press, €12.99

6. Na Trí Mhuicín (5-12 years) By Áine Ní Ghlinn

Crúibín, Láib and Pincín are Na Trí Mhuicín (three little pigs) that go squeaking and squealing into the 21st century. This book is an Irish language retelling of the old age story of The Three Little Pigs by writer Áine Ní Ghlinn. Rhythm, rhyme and companionship are all themes in this quirky and fun book. This is Áine’s 30th book and she has won many awards for her writing, including Oireachtas na Gaeilge Awards.

• Published by Futa Fata, €13

7. Catfish Rolling (13-17 years) By Clara Kumagai

Magic-realism blends with Japanese myth and legend in an original story about grief, memory, time and an earthquake that shook a nation. There’s a catfish under the islands of Japan and when it rolls, the land rises and falls. The catfish caused an earthquake so powerful, it cracked time itself and took her mother. Sora’s father then goes missing so she has no choice but to find him, her mother and perhaps, even the catfish itself.

• Published by Zephyr Press, €11.99

8. A Game of Life or Death (12-18 years) By Triona Campbell

When 16-year-old Asha Kennedy discovers her older sister Maya’s dead body in their home, her world falls apart. Desperate for answers, she turns to her hacker friends for help. Her search leads to Zu Tech, the hit games studio where Maya was a lead coder. From here, Asha decides the only way to uncover the truth is from the inside. After infiltrating herself into the video game Maya was working on, she finds a monstrous secret and realises that you don’t play the game – it plays you.

• Published by Scholastic, €9.40

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