"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The new Irish children's laureate and my own Treasure Island

This week award-winning Irish author and publisher Siobhán Parkinson was named Laureate na nÓg, Ireland's first laureate for children's literature. She is the author of more than 20 books aimed at children and teenagers. She is also publisher of a new children's imprint, Little Island, which I mentioned in this blog back in March because it was actively seeking new (Ireland based) writers.  Siobhan says that one of her main aims as laureate would be to ensure that 
every child in the country has access to a nice, bright, warm, cheerful, comfortable library, where they can go and find the books that will open their minds and bring them into wonderful imaginary places.
Amen to that.
I learned to read in that kind of library. It was a wonderful place called Treasure Island. It was part of  a small block of council flats in Islington, North London around the corner from the present day offices of The Guardian newspaper. I can still remember the chief librarian Miss Jessica Waller with her pearl perm and Miss Marple tweed skirts. She never allowed a child to take out a book that was too easy ..it was always about stretching your abilities, discovering new stories and going on new adventures. I met Mary Poppins there and knights in Ronald Welch's books and turf cutters in Patricia Lynch's...
I got to know the ballerinas in Noel Stratfield's novels and didn't like them much because I had no desire to stand on my toes (she came to Treasure Island once and I never thought it odd that this elderly woman should have a man's name...). 
Every child should have a Treasure Island

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