Road trips, ghosts, kites and sky cowboys

Here is a summary of each of the short-listed books.

* A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle, published by Marion Lloyd Books, London.

Mary is 12 years old and her grandmother, Emer, is dying in hospital.

The ghost of Emer’s mother, Tansey, who died when she was three, tells her all will be OK.

She also has a lot to say to Mary, and her mother, Scarlett. Soon all four women find themselves on an unforgettable road trip.

* Bruised by Siobhán Parkinson, published by Hodder Children’s Books, London.

Jono is 14 years old, loves his little sister, Julie, and would do anything to protect her.

They are suffering because of their mother’s alcohol problem.

When the children’s granny dies, they run away together and the big question is can Jono still keep his little sister safe?

* Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan, published by O’Brien Press, Dublin.

Set in the 1970s, this book follows identical teenage twins Patrick and Dominic who are forced to move into a haunted house after a fire destroys their home.

Previous inhabitants in the house are struggling to come to terms with their own history and the boys’ fragility allows ghosts and spirits to take hold of them.

* Maitríóisce by Siobhán Parkinson, published by Cois Life, Dublin.

Written in the Irish language, it begins with Mara reaching her 13th birthday and her present of a series of Russian dolls — an heirloom from her grandmother.

At first Mara has no interest in the dolls until one of them goes missing. She begins to uncover more about her own fascinating heritage as she searches for the doll.

* My Dad is 10 Years old: and it’s Pure Weird by Mark O’Sullivan, published by Puffin, London.

Eala’s dad has had an accident and is left with the mental age of a 10 year old. Eala and her brother have to discover their Dad’s past to begin rebuilding their future.

The book takes the reader to the darker reality of personal tragedy.

* Ó Chrann go Crann by Caitriona Hastings and Andrew Whitson, (illustrator), published by An tSnáthaid Mhór, Belfast.

Written in the Irish language it is about a young girl called Nia who is about to move from her country home to a new house in the city where her father has just been offered a new job.

Nia is upset because she is being forced to leave her friends, community and her precious crows that gather in the oak tree at the bottom of her garden to play with her every day.

* Stuck by Oliver Jeffers, published by Harper Collins, London.

Floyd has managed to get his kite stuck up a tree and when he throws his shoe at it, that gets stuck too. As to what Floyd does next is surprising — his unusual response to the problem gets way out of hand.

* The Butterfly Heart by Paula Leyden, published by Walker Books, London.

A lyrical story from the butterfly heart of Africa about twins, Bul-Boo and Madillo, and their efforts to rescue their friend from a forced marriage.

They ask the advice of Ifwafwa, the snake man, who promises to think about the problem but does not like to be hurried.

The twins become impatient and worry that it will be too late to save their friend.

* Will Gallows and the Snake-Bellied Troll by Derek Keilty, published by Andersen Press, London.

This is about a young, elfin, sky cowboy who is on a dangerous quest to bring an evil snake-bellied troll to justice.

The troll, Noose Wormworx, is wanted for the murder of Will’s Dad and Will not rest until he gets revenge.


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