PDST Wellread National Award


We’re delighted to have once again been awarded a PDST Wellread National Award! In their letter to us the PDST say ‘It was such an enjoyable experience for us to gain insight into all the initiatives you undertook as a whole school community to get everybody reading. The enthusiasm and creativity of all involved was evident in your school’s portfolio. We commend you for bringing your school community together in such an enriching and worthwhile manner’. Huzzah!

CBI Book of the Year Awards

The winners of the CBI Book of the Year Awards were announced at a ceremony in Smock Alley Theatre today. Our shadowers’ favourite, Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain, won an unprecedented hat-trick of awards: the CBI Book of the Year Award, the Children’s Choice Award and the Éilis Dillon Award for a debut children’s book. Of the winning title the award judges said ‘From the high wire of the Big Top to the high wire of teenage sexuality, this warm and funny story of adolescence is a delight to read. It explores family, friendship and first love with an authenticity that is both engaging and emotionally satisfying. Through the eyes of the two main characters – one through very clever use of a blog – we learn the pros and cons of being different and of managing life in the margins.’ We’re truly delighted with this well-deserved result! The OLS shadowers loved Flying Tips for its originality, humour and heart. ❤


Coming in a close second in our shadowers’ scores was The Weight of A Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan, which won the Honour Award for Fiction. The judges said, ‘Plenty of philosophical questions are raised here, as seventeen–year-old Bobby faces issues of life and death. With Bobby as a convincing, authentic and ever-so-human narrator, we are with him all the way as he cares for his mother and younger brother and deals with the questions no young adult should have to face. This is a brave, masterful and powerful look at the lengths to which we’ll go for someone we truly love.’


This year’s Honour Award for Illustration went to Aga Grandowicz for Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals, of which the judges said, ‘The mysterious Dr Hibernica Finch wanted to be a dolphin when she grew up! Having become a zoologist instead, she now offers us a well-designed, beautifully produced blend of insight and information on the animals of Ireland. Presented in a playful tone, the superb, zoologically perfect illustrations are truly compelling.’


Finally, the Judges’ Special Award was given to Joanna Donnelly and Fuchsia MacAree for The Great Irish Weather Book. The judges said, ‘From satellites to storms, from clouds to climate change and from Hurricane Ophelia to the Beast from the East, meteorologist Joanna Donnelly explains while Fuchsia MacAree illustrates every aspect of our great – and not so great – Irish weather. Packed with facts and fun, this is a book overflowing with in-depth knowledge – yet it wears its learning lightly. Easy to read alone or fun to read aloud with friends, it’s ideal for any age.’


We really enjoyed shadowing the 2019 CBI Book of the Year Awards and the strength of the shortlist is a testament to the quality of writing and illustration for young people in Ireland today. Roll on #CBIBOYA20!

CBI Book of the Year Awards Shadowing

Our CBI Book of the Year Awards shadowing group have been enjoying reading and discussing five of the titles shortlisted for this years awards.


The books we’ve chosen to read are:

Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughrain

Tin by Padraig Kenny

Tuesdays Are Just As Bad by Cethan Leahy

The Weight of A Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan

The Great Irish Weather Book by Joanna Donnelly & Fuchsia MacAree

The full shortlist can be viewed here.

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When we have deliberated over our five chosen titles we will assign each one a score out of 100 and submit our verdict to CBI. The scores submitted by all the shadowing groups across the country are tallied and the highest scoring book will receive the Children’s Choice Award. We’re looking forward to finding out who the winners are on May 22nd!