Brilliant Books for Children – Publisher Showcase – O’Brien Press

I am very lucky to be sent some amazing books for consideration by publishers and it’s always a thrill to see what’s out there for our young book lovers. So, in celebration of Irish Book Week, I’d like to share my favourites and showcase some of the amazing books that have been published by O’Brien Press, who have been publishing books in Ireland for 40 years! I hope you’ll see something that will be perfect for your little book worms in the making.

Wee donkey’s treasure hunt

Picture Book – perfect for ages 3+ & 5+

Wee Donkey’s Treasure Hunt: An Adventure in Ireland by Erika McGann and Gerry Daly

A wee donkey sat in the shade of a tree.

If you had one wish, Grandad, what would it be?’ ‘I’d fix this old back and these wobbly knees, and go see the sights that are out there to see.’

The wee donkey thought,

I can’t turn back the years, but I can get Grandad some great souvenirs.’

She slipped through the gate with a small wooden cart, in search of some gifts that would warm Grandad’s heart. The wee donkey heads across Ireland, where she “borrows” the Jeanie Johnston ship from the Liffey, the round tower from Glendalough, kisses from the Blarney Stone and more, to bring to her grandad. But you can’t go taking national treasures like that, particularly when the police find out! 

This is such a sweet and beautifully illustrated picture book – the perfect way to explore Ireland with your little ones.

The one with the waggly tail

Picture Book – perfect for ages 3+ & 5+ to 99+ 🙂

Favourite Rhymes From An Irish Childhood.

In The One with the Waggly Tail, Sarah Webb has brought together well-known nursery rhymes like ‘Mary, Mary Quite Contrary’ and ‘Little Bo-Peep’ with much-loved songs like ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and ‘Daisy Bell’. Packed into this wonderful collection are over eighty children’s favourites, given a whole new life by Steve McCarthy’s illustrations.

I think this is one of my absolute favourites. Many of the rhymes bring back wonderful memories, not only of my childhood, but I remember singing them to my son too (who is now 13!). These rhymes have been enjoyed for generations but here they have been brought bang up to date with some fabulous, colourful illustrations. This will make a wonderful gift and will be enjoyed by children and adults alike as they snuggle down for a read (or sing) along with this book.

A closer peek – The One With The waggly Tail by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy.


Picture Book – perfect for emerging booklovers to 3+

Have you ever heard a bumbum bees buzzing by?

Does your pet wear doggles?

Do you have a shark knife in your kitchen?

When children speak, egg corns are often sown. In this hilarious book, award-winning author and illustrator Chris judge has reimagined such wonderful egg corns as jellycopters, button-up squash and meringuetans.

This is such a fun little hardback. You’ll have your little ones giggling with the silliness of it all as you flip through the bright, fun illustrations and discover new and hilarious words. An absolute delight.

Animal crackers

Non Fiction – perfect for curious booklovers aged 7+ and above – would be good for younger readers with a little help.

Which animals are the biggest?

Which are the smallest?

Which are the most dangerous?

Why do dogs love people so much?

Find out about animals around the world, from the hottest deserts to the coldest ice, from the deepest oceans to the skies above, as well as all about the Irish wildlife you can find in your own gardens, parks and beaches.

Discover everything there is to know about our favourite furry, feathered (and scaly!) friends in this fun book bursting with facts, puzzles, cartoons and more!

This is such an interesting little book. My favourite section was of course the chapter on cats. Did you know that in Ireland a black cat brings good luck? I also loved the section on animal record breakers. For example did you know that a flea can jump up to 200 times their own body length? This is SUCH a fascinating read and perfect for ages 7+.


Non Fiction – perfect for curious readers aged 7+ & 9+

Irish history isn’t boring … it’s DEADLY!

The DEADLY! Celts came to Ireland from Europe over 2,500 years ago!

DEADLY! Celtic heroes!

DEADLY! Celtic warfare!

DEADLY! Celtic art!

But were they more than just bold, bragging bullies?

Find out in this DEADLY! Irish History.

This is a brilliant engaging that tells all you need to know about the Celts. Great illustration and a good mix of formats keep young readers engaged. Learn about myths and legends, law and punishment, weapons and war, Celtic society, religion and much more. There is even recipes for Celtic bread and crubeens (pig trotters!). It’s absolutely hilarious and I imagine the ‘insult generator’ in particular (page 71) will prove a big hit with readers.

The House on Hawthorn Road

Historical Fiction – perfect for readers aged 9+

Two centuries, two children, one house

Beth didn’t want to move to Dublin – she misses her old life and her friends back in London. New home and new school is hard enough, but to make matters worse someone keeps messing up her room … At first, Beth blames her annoying brother, Cormac, but when she discovers a boy called Robbie, from the 1950’s, is slipping through time and into her room, then things start to get REALLY weird!

The two create havoc together, learn about each other’s worlds and manage to help each other when they’re down. But the 1950s and the present day sometimes seem very far apart … Can their friendship stand the test of time?

A mischief-maker from the 1950’s – a shy girl from today and a time-slip adventure like no other

Chasing Ghosts

Historical Fiction – perfect for readers aged 9+

Chasing Ghosts by Nicola Pierce

An enthralling novel of two intertwining stories based on real events in 19th century Ireland and the Canadian Arctic.

Two ships Arctic-bound, HMS Erebus and Terror, leave London in 1845, captained by the aging Sir John Franklin. How long they’ll be gone depends on the ice. Meanwhile, second-in-command, Francis Crozier, worries about their inexperienced crew.  

In Derry, little Weesy Coppin dies of a fever but, as far as her sister Ann and brother William are concerned, her spirit returns to haunt them. While an anxious world waits for news of the Artic explorers, the Coppin family try to understand what is going in their home. But, then, one night, all is revealed when the truth literally steps out of the shadows.

Michael collins: Hero and ReBel

Historical Biography – perfect for readers aged 9+

I want to be part of it, thought Michael.

I want to be part of the song, part of the story.

Listening to tales of old Ireland on a West Cork farm and fighting his corner in the school playground, a little fella with a fierce sense of injustice and an equally fierce temper vows to fight for Irish independence.

‘I’d rather have a living brother than a brother who goes down in the history books as a hero, a dead hero!’ says Hannie Collins. But headstrong as ever, young Michael leaves his job in London and returns to Ireland to fight in the 1916 Rising. Later, he creates a spy ring of ordinary people, in a Dublin where nothing is quite what it seems.

This is the story of Michael Collins – brave hero and determined leader, loyal friend and dangerous enemy. He loved life. In the summer of1922 he was full of plans for his own future and for that of his country.

But history had other plans for Michael.

The BOLDNESS of Betty

Historical Fiction – perfect for readers aged 9+

The Boldness of Betty by Anna Carey

Dublin 1913

My name is Betty Rafferty. A few weeks ago I had to leave school and go out to work in a cake shop, serving fancy cakes to rude, rich people. No choice.

But since then so much has happened. It all started when old Miss Warby took our pay away. And we walked out!

The whole city – well, all us union members – are going out on strike. Even my dog Earnshaw has joined in!

Life on the picket line in the lashing rain isn’t much fun. Lots of people, like Peter Lawlor, just don’t understand how unfair everything is. But we workers have to stand together – no matter what!

Sonia O’SullivaN

Biography – perfect for readers aged 9+


‘Sonia walked to the start line with the other athletes, her tummy full of butterflies. She could feel the eyes of the crowd upon them. Sixty-five thousand people, all here to watch their race. She had dreamt about this moment for so long, and now it was here.’

As a little girl, playing with her friends in Cobh, Co. Cork, Sonia O’Sullivan was known as the fastest runner. When she joined a running club and started to win races, she began to dream of the Olympic Games. Through her talent, dedication and her ability to get back up and dust herself down when things went wrong. Sonia went from an ordinary girl who loved to run to an extraordinary world class athlete.

The story of one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes — and a dream made real.

All To Play For

Fiction – perfect for readers aged 9+

Thirteen year old Anna is struggling to cope with the other girls on her GAA team, as well as the recent loss of her father, when she discovers a forgotten gift from him – a pair of bright orange football socks. With the help of these brightly coloured good-luck charms, Anna slowly begins to gain confidence both on and off the pitch. 

lily Steps Up

Historical Fiction – perfect for readers aged 7+ and 9+

Lily Steps Up by Judi Curtin

Lissadell House, Sligo, 1913

Friends Lily and Nellie work long hard hours as housemaids for the Gore Booth family in the Big House. And yet these are days filled with friendship, fun, and even madcap bicycle rides with Maeve, daughter of the famous Republican, Countess Marcievicz. But Lily knows there’s an empty place in her friend’s heart. Nellie is all alone in the world; she grew up in the workhouse, where she was separated from her sisters. Lily longs to help her, but could she end up losing all she has – even her livelihood. And what will happen to her hopes and dreams? Just how much would you give up for a friend …?

A story of friendship set in the changing world of early 20th century Ireland.

P is for poetry

Poetry – perfect for readers aged 7+ and upwards

Selected poems from bestselling Something Beginning with P in a beautiful new format edition.

Originally published in 2004, the award-winning Something Beginning with P was a collection of new poems for children including poems from leading Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, Paula Meehan, Rita Ann Higgins,  Nuala ní Dhomhnaill, Frank McGuinness and Peter Fallon.

This new, specially curated, edition of P is for Poetry includes best-loved poems and poets taken from the original collection as well as new additions that are sure to become beloved new favourites.  

Ulster Fairytales & Legends

Fiction – perfect for readers aged 7+ and 9+ Upwards

Where did the Red Hand, the famous symbol of Ulster, originate? It’s the hand of Heremon, a chief so keen to be first to lay claim to the land that he cut his own hand off the threw it from a ship! Not all legends from Ulster are so gory, of course, and in this collection we meet The Great Brown Bull, The Horsemen of Aileach, Paiste, The Great Black Pig, Maeve MacQuillan, Fintan, Febor and Fia and, of course, Colmcille and the Book of Movilla.

Evocatively illustrated by Conor Busuttil, this collection of myths from Ireland’s northern province will enthrall readers young and old.

Aim High

Non-Fiction – perfect for readers aged 7+ and 9+ upwards

Meet the Irish men and women who aimed high in the sport they love. From Dan Donnelly, our first heavyweight boxing champion, to our greatest runner, Sonia O’Sullivan. From Brian O’Driscoll’s amazing rugby performances to Rosemary Smyth’s rally driving brilliance. From the heroic rowing of the O’Donoval brothers to the our women’s hockey team: the first ever Irish team to reach a world final.

Featuring many people whose achievements have fallen from view, such as Anne O’Brien (the first Irish female professional football player) and Francie Barrett, the first traveller to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. The remarkable stories of these trailblazers from throughout Ireland will inspire and excite children of all ages.

Donny Mahoney and illustrator Eoin Coveney will draw you into the amazing world of these athletes, and introduce the next generation of role models.

Thank you for visiting today.

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