November can feel like a long month, sandwiched between the excitement of Hallowe’en and the interminable build-up to Christmas. Though the hour change might have thrown you and the weather is freezing, there are many fun and productive ways to spend your time indoors during the chilly month. We have lots of exciting suggestions from fascinating information books on Irish wildlife to exhilarating fact books to inspire even the most reluctant readers and hesitant inventors. With so many books to choose from, you’ll want to build your own den or sett and pretend to hibernate. Readers will be so captivated that they won’t even notice the wind howling or the dark descending.
Now is a perfect time to learn about the seasons. For 2-4 Aki’s The Weather Girls brings you through the changing seasons. This bright vibrant picturebook with rhyming verse and colourful illustrations captures the weather girls’ energy and enthusiasm. Budding meteorologists of all ages, but especially 8+, will absolutely adore The Great Irish Weather Book.
For anyone feeling a bit lonely and isolated indoors, especially for 4+, The Pooka Party will lift your spirits and encourage you to throw a party and invite your friends around for sparkly soup! Readers of 5+ will love Niall Breslin and Sheena Dempsey’s The Magic Moment. This fantastic picturebook shows you how to master the Magic Moment trick. A simple yet useful trick that can you do anywhere at any time.
For young nature enthusiasts 5+ The Great Big Book of Irish Wildlife Through the Seasons, is an ideal introduction to Irish wildlife and the concept of hibernation, migration and much, much more. For 7+ Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals is a wonderful information book to be treasured.
For restless souls with winter blues, 50 Ways to Feel Happy might just be the perfect tonic. Packed full of activities, this comprehensive workbook is a practical way to promote happiness, with a wide-range of activities to suit everyone, from diet and exercise to arts and crafts. Brendan O’Donoghue’s Adventures in Philosophy, Stories & Quests for Thinking Heroes illustrated by Paula McGloin is a thought-provoking book. Filled with fables and tales of heroic deeds which will encourage you to question, learn and think for yourself.
For readers 9+ Kris Hirschmann’s 101 Screen-Free Ways to Beat Boredom! could be the answer to every parent or guardian’s dream. Full of exciting activities using household items, this book will have readers so engrossed that they won’t even feel their square eyes returning to their original shape. As well as featuring fifty inspirational and remarkable women, Owen O’Doherty’s Bright Sparks, Amazing Discoveries, Inventions and Designs by Women provides a comprehensive guide to inventing and innovation. Readers will be so productive; the thirty days of November will fly by.
Just remember not to spend too much time indoors, despite the weather, or you might get lonely like the Pooka!
Síne Quinn, MPhil Children’s Literature, is an editor working with Irish and International publishers and authors, CBI Book Doctor and creative writing teacher for the Bookmarks Programme at TCD.
The Pooka Party by Shona Shirley MacDonald
The O’Brien Press
Join the Pooka, a magical creature, on an amusing caper – just watch out for greedy goblins. As well as being a multi-tasker, this marvellous shapeshifter can also take the form of any creature. Until the Pooka gets lonely and decides to throw a party, which is so successful that goblins gate crash. A great chase ensues, including a ‘Mighty Cake Battle’, which wakes up the Moon! Just like the Pooka, Shona Shirley MacDonald is a master of many talents, who can conjure up a captivating caper and create a magical, entertaining story with lots of atmospheric illustrations of mischief and mayhem for readers to feast their eyes on. I bet she makes a tasty sparkly soup!
Juanita Browne, illustrated by Barry Reynolds
The Great Big Book of Irish Wildlife: Through the Seasons
The O’Brien Press
Learn about native Irish creatures as well as our winter migrants, who fly thousands of kilometres to spend a milder winter in Ireland. With amusing cartoon-style illustrations, wonderful maps, succinct and engaging text combined with clear, bright brilliant photographs, this book will appeal to readers of all ages. Packed with practical suggestions and tips for budding nature enthusiasts, everything from how to put up a nestbox to listening to birdsong, this book is ideal for nature enthusiasts.
Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals by Rob Maguire, illustrated by Aga Grandowicz
Little Island Books
Brimming with fascinating details and essential facts about amazing creatures great and small from white-tailed bumblebees to killer whales. Aga Grandowicz’s exceptional illustrations are a perfect complement to Rob Maguire’s engaging and informative text. This talented pair have created a truly beautiful book with old-world charm, featuring twenty-eight compelling creatures. A wonderful book to be read over and over again, and sure to be a classic!
Joanne Donnelly, illustrated by Fuchsia MacAree
The Great Irish Weather Book
People are fascinated by the weather and always have been. The Great Irish Weather Book is ideal for a nation obsessed with the weather, especially after this year’s extreme weather conditions – the Beast from the East, Hurricane Ophelia, Storm Emma and the heat wave. Packed with information on everything from influential Irish scientists to forecasting and climate change, as well as amazing experiments, this book will captivate readers all-year round. With meteorologist Joanne Donnelly’s clear reporting and succinct explanations alongside Fuschia MacAree’s eye-catching illustrations, this book is sure to create a splash!
For more reviews check out Inis magazine which is published by Children’s Books Ireland, the national children’s books organisation whose vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life.