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Eighteen Galway reading groups participate in Book Awards Junior Juries programme

A Galway author whose own writing career was inspired by her earlier struggles with dyslexia was one of the six winners at this year’s KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards which were announced at a ceremony in Dublin last week, in partnership with International Literature Festival Dublin.

Serena Molloy was selected by an independent panel of expert judges, including two Young Judges, and a network of Junior Juries island-wide.

The judging panel read a record 158 titles from Irish-born or Ireland-based writers and illustrators, the biggest year so far in the history of the awards.

The Clarenbridge-based Wexford native received the Eilís Dillon Award for her début children’s book – ‘Wider Than the Sea’ which follows the story of Róisin, a spirited young girl who finds solace for struggles through an unlikely friendship with a dolphin named Sunny.

The book features dyslexic-friendly blank verse with illustrations by George Ermos.

Serena, who has dyslexia, is an English teacher and mother of four who took time out from her profession to help her own children and ultimately to begin her writing career – and both her novels to date celebrate neurodiversity, empathy and the power to change.

Through the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries programme young people in schools, libraries and book clubs shadowed adult judges on the judging panel in reading, discussing and assessing the shortlisted books.

Young readers from eighteen schools and reading groups in Galway participated in the Junior Juries programme.

County schools involved included Claregalway Educate Together NS; Kilcolgan Educate Together NS; Oranmore Boys School; Scoil Chroi Naofa, Athenry; Scoil Mhuire Maigh Cuilinn; Scoil Naomh Ciarán, Conamara; Scoil Rónáin, Leitir Móir; Seamount College, Kinvara; Glinsk NS; St. Oliver Plunkett National School, Athenry, and St. Paul’s Secondary School, Oughterard.

City readers included the Children’ Panel at the Baboró International Children’s Festival;  Claddagh NS; Coláiste Éinde; Mercy Primary School; Scoil Éinde; Scoil Iognáid, and St. Nicholas National School, Claddagh.

Pictured: Serena Molloy, winner of the Eilís Dillon Award at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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