Children’s Bookfest kicks off in Cork

As Autumn swept in with glorious sunshine, Cork city libraries  yesterday celebrated the new season with its Children’s Bookfest 2014.

In a month-long initiative, children’s stories and their story-tellers will be acclaimed in local libraries.

Internationally-renowned storyteller Patrick Ryan officially opened festivities with performances in the city’s Mayfield, Blackpool and Grand Parade libraries.

Eibhlín Cassidy, the city council’s executive librarian for children and young people, said due to Mr Ryan’s participation, the event “got off to a great start”.

She said: “He was fantastic. He really engaged with the kids. The place was full of enthusiasm and energy; it was a good way to kick everything off.”

Ms Cassidy stressed the importance of storytelling in relation to children, saying it helps improve their literacy skills.

“It really is essential. It encourages them to use their imagination and engages a different part of their brain. Every book starts with a good story and when children hear it out loud it really brings it alive for them,” she said.

Throughout the month, Cork city’s libraries will host storytelling events featuring speakers from home and abroad.

Simone Schuemmelfeder, co-founder of the Storygate Storytelling Theatre in Dublin, will be enthralling children and young teens with her European folk tales later on in the month.

Interestingly, Simone grew up in Germany, not far from where the Brothers Grimm collected their famous fables.

Homegrown talent includes Pat Speight, a member of the Cork Yarnspinners group, as well as Clare-based Ré Ó Laighléis who is equally comfortable broadcasting his tall tales in Irish or in English, and Liam Farrell, infamous nationwide for his hilarious characterisation of the Good Big Wolf.

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