When we think of adventure stories, we often think of shipwrecks, extraordinary quests for hidden treasure, escaping dragons, monsters and other hidden dangers or flying carpets, the list is endless! This genre is so popular that we are spoilt for choice. As far back as 1726 the quest for adventure has influenced writers and illustrators with Jonathan Swift’s famous Gulliver’s Travels. A wide variety of diverse adventures can be enjoyed from contemporary, colourful and simple picturebooks to thrilling, expansive classic tomes. A mix of new and well-loved stories offers a good start for this enthralling genre. Think of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, C.S. Lewis, Eva Ibbotson, Brian Selznick, Kate DiCamillo, Eoin Colfer and Ellís Dillon and the incredible adventures they have created for their readers.
Though the wind and the rain and possibility of snow might keep you indoors, there is nothing stopping you setting sail or taking flight on your own quest for adventure. Remember that books are portals to another world. All you need to do is open a book and you are transported to a different place and time.
Tiny hands will love turning the pages of the stunning picturebook Is it a Mermaid? A wonderful marine adventure highlighting the plight of the endangered Dugong who believes she is a beautiful mermaid. Curious to read a mad-cap adventure? Then look no further then Hansel and Gretel by Bethan Woollvin – a classic fairy tale with a twist.
Young readers 3+ will enjoy Amazing from award-winning Steve Anthony (of the beloved Mr Panda series). This book is a celebration of diversity and friendship is an ideal introduction to young readers about acceptance and difference, highlighting that adventures can happen anywhere. Where Are You, Puffling? takes readers on an adventure to Skellig Michael, off the coast of Co Kerry. Gerry Daly’s magnificent illustrations combined with Erika McGann’s engaging text as well as a detailed list of the island creatures is a pure treat for young readers.
Readers of 5+ will enjoy reading about adventures of a different kind, one that they can experience right here in Ireland in Jennifer Farley’s Island of Adventures. It is the ideal read to inspire you to set off on an adventure.
For 4–8 Follow Finn as he sets sail on a long magical journey encountering incredible places and amazing creatures in the exquisite Ocean Meets Sky. Emerging readers will find a side-splitting piratical adventure in Captain Cat and the Treasure Map. With hilarious text by Sue Mongredien and amusing animated style illustrations by Kate Pankhurst, this new series is one to keep an eye or, an eye-patch, on.
Older readers 9+ will be gripped by Bali Rai’s Now or Never from Scholastic’s exciting new ‘Voices’ series. Chosen as the 2019 Citywide Reading for Children by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Bumpfizzle the Best on Planet Earth is a wacky, zany story. Written by super storyteller Patricia Forde and illustrated by talented Elina Braslina, this alien adventure is out of this world! A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison this spellbinding magical adventure is another one to look out for, you can find out if the Widdershins sisters can break the curse?
So, remember adventures can happen anywhere, all you need is a little time and imagination. Try it and see, who knows where you’ll end up.
Síne Quinn, MPhil Children’s Literature, is an editor working with Cubicle 7 Entertainment, and Irish and international publishers, CBI Book Doctor and creative writing teacher for the Bookmarks Programme at TCD.
Where Are You, Puffling?
Erika McGann illustrated by Gerry Daly
The O’Brien Press 32pp
Can you help Puffling’s parents find their adventurous and adorable daughter? Join Puffling on her adventure around Skellig Michael. Young readers will love following the helpful and enthusiastic little bird on her journey. She travels up the hills, down the cliffs, and on land and sea helping an array of magnificent native island creatures. The entertaining and charming text complements the illustrations that capture Puffling’s sheer delight and joie de vivre. One to read again and again!
Ocean Meets Sky
The Fan Brothers
Simon & Schuster
With his grandfather’s voice echoing in his mind, Finn builds a boat to honour his grandfather’s memory. In his hand-made boat he travels to incredible places, including the Library Islands filled with roosting bookish birds and a sea of dancing moon jellies. This beautiful whimsical tale full of wonder by brothers Terry and Eric Fan explores loss, longing and legacy. This sublime, moving and emotive picturebook is one to admire and treasure
Island of Adventures: Fun Things to Do All Around Ireland
The O’Brien Press
Who knew our fair isle had so many hidden gems? Written and illustrated by Jennifer Farley, Island of Adventures: Fun things to do all around Ireland is brimming with inspirational ideas and bursting with captivating illustrations to entice even the most reluctant adventurers. With lots on offer, including action and adventure, spooky quests, extreme sports and lots more: all you need to do is go outside! So get ready to explore everything from deer spotting in Dublin to kayaking in Cork (an activity that’s got my attention) this brilliant, vibrant non-fiction picturebook is packed full of ideas to tempt a wide variety of readers. So get on your bike and don’t forget your helmet!
Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story (Voices)
This gripping and at times thrilling adventure is the first book in an exciting new ‘Voices’ series. Now or Never is the story of Private Fazal Khan, a young Indian soldier with a romantic idea of what it means to fight for a country that isn’t his home. Following in his ancestor’s footsteps Fazal signs up but soon finds himself in the battlefields of the Second World War, far away from his small town in India. This poignant war-time tale from award-winning and critically acclaimed writer Bali Rai will captivate readers, transporting them to war-torn France as they make their way to the beaches. An engrossing adventure!