The award announcement ceremony for the Children’s Books Ireland Awards was broadcast online for the first time in the award’s 30-year history. And all of the winners are women! The awards celebrate the best of Irish books for young people. Some of the winners are in the Irish language.
BOOK OF THE YEAR
Nóinín by Máire Zepf
HONOUR AWARD FOR FICTION WINNER
Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Published in U.S. in July 2020 as Being Toffee)
HONOUR AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION WINNER
The Tide by Ashling Lindsay
EILÍS DILLON AWARD WINNER
Mór agus Muilc by Kim Sharkey
THE JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD WINNER
The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan (coming to the U.S. in February 2021)
The Homesick Club by Libby Martinez, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (9781773061641)
Monica and Hannah go to school together and have formed The Homesick Club at their lunch table. Monica is from Bolivia and misses the time she spent with her grandmother feeding the hummingbirds. Hannah is from Israel and she is homesick for the sunshine and desert tortoise that she loved. When their class gets a new teacher, Miss Shelby, she seems to be homesick too for Texas. She talks longingly about the wide-open sky and the stars now that she lives in a big city with skyscrapers. The girls invite Miss Shelby to join their Homesick Club and she does! It’s there that she shares her longing for Hummingbird Cake. Now Monica has just the right inspiration for her presentation to the class.
This picture book explores what it feels like to be a transplant from somewhere else whether it be from elsewhere in the country or from another country entirely. The author cleverly equates these two, leaving no questions about who belongs in our country and why. Rather the focus here is about the emotional toll homesickness takes and how sharing those feelings with someone else can be healing for everyone.
The art in this picture book is light and airy. Using plenty of white space, it is playful and colorful. It sets a nice tone for the book, showing everyone’s differences but also reinforcing the similarities that we all have as well.
Resilience, friendship and cake. What else could you need? Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Groundwood Books.