On a roll with books and buses!


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

On a roll with books and buses! On a roll with books and buses!

School children and families around the city and county will have the chance to meet the creators of their favourite Irish books as part of Galway-born Laureate na nÓg Patricia Forde’s Whole Wild World’ Bus Tour this April.

The route and schedule of the upcoming, first-of-its-kind tour was announced last week, with Irish children’s writers and illustrators set to visit schools, libraries, bookshops and cultural venues in nine counties along the west coast of Ireland.

Details of the tour come hot on the heels of the news that Patricia, along with Clarinbridge based author, Serena Molloy has been shortlisted for the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards, the winner of which will be announced in May.

Patricia’s nomination is for her novel The Girl Who Fell to Earth, a science fiction thriller set in contemporary Dublin that poses important questions about contemporary society, while Serena has been shortlisted for her debut, Wider Than the Sea, about a spirited young girl who struggles at school and finds solace through an unlikely friendship with a dolphin. There are 10 writers on the shortlist and the winners will be announced at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards ceremony, on May 22, in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin.

But before that, Serena is due to launch her new book. The Tree That Sang To Me, on March 28 it’s a beautiful depiction of childhood angst as Kai, a young boy, struggles with his sister leaving home. He blames himself, only able to find solace in the branches of a wasteland sycamore tree. A friendship blooms as a girl called Sky climbs the tree too. Like Serena’s previous book, it’s dyslexia-friendly and beautifully illustrated by George Ermos.

And then, there’s Patricia’s unique tour, bringing books and authors to children countrywide. This trip of 1,400 kilometres on a multicolour, 30-seater coach will begin at Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head in County Donegal, on Monday, April 14, and conclude at Kinsale Library in Cork on Sunday, April 28.

It will include four stops in Galway – Leenane, Furbo and Galway City. First is Leenane National School, on Friday, April 19, followed by a second stop in Scoil na bhForbacha, later that same day.

There are two stops in Galway City that Saturday, April 20. The first is an event in conjunction with Cúirt International Festival of Literature, at 2pm, and then later there’s an artist event at An Taibhdhearc, at 6.30pm.

For all of these, Patricia Forde will be joined in Galway by authors and illustrators for workshops, readings and artist events for school groups, library groups and families.

Laureate na nÓg is an initiative of the Arts Council. It is managed and delivered on the Council’s behalf by Children’s Books Ireland, and also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Patricia, who was announced as the seventh Laureate na nÓg in May 2023 on a three-year term, is from Galway city and has published over 20 titles for children of all ages, in Irish and English.

As a former teacher, former director of the Galway Arts Festival, and co-founder of the Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, she is tireless in advocating for children’s right to culture.

“This tour is about igniting imaginations and ensuring that Galway will have another generation of great writers and illustrators by bringing books and their creators to an audience that doesn’t often get a chance to meet them in their own local area,” she says.

“We will have exciting Irish authors and illustrators on board, hoping to inspire and to be inspired, to share stories and have lots of fun!” she adds.

The tour will include stops at Easkey, County Sligo; Ennistymon, County Clare; and Kilorglin in Kerry, among others. The full list of participating schools, bookshops, libraries and cultural venues can be found at

Pictured left: Serena Molloy whose debut novel, Wider than the Sea, has made the Children’s Book Award shortlist, has a new book coming out this month. The Tree That Sang To Me will be pubilshed on March 28.  Right: Tour time…Laureate na nÓg Patricia Forde whose Whole Wide World bus tour is coming to Galway.



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