It's hard to know what to tell our children as the daily life we knew only weeks ago changed rapidly before our very eyes. We try to give them routine, time outside, games to play, more togetherness (while staying apart) as we reassure them: it will be okay. And it will.
But until normality resumes, we can still take them away to another place, without stepping foot outside the front door. Books now feel more powerful than ever in that sense. They take our little ones to places both real and imaginary, soothe and reassure in equal measure: Everything will be alright. And here are six beautiful bedtime reads to prove it, all out now.
1. Tom Crean: The Brave Explorer
Tom Crean: The Brave Explorer, €9.99
The fourth book on inspirational Irish lives from the award-winning father/daughter duo of John and Fatti Burke takes you on an exploration like no other.
Tom was one of 10 children who grew up on a farm near Annascaul in County Kerry. He loved adventure so much that, at the age of 15, he ran away to join the British Navy and sail around the world. While his ship was moored in New Zealand, Tom met Captain Robert Scott. Scott's dream was to be the first person to ever reach the South Pole and he asked Tom to join his crew. Here he became Captain Tom Crean and the rest is history.
With beautiful illustrations, your little ones will adore this from start to finish – and be reminded of the adventures that await them.
2. Don't Worry, Little Crab
Don't Worry, Little Crab, €18.20
This adorable picture book from the multi award-winning Chris Haughton, also the creative behind A Bit Lost and Oh No, George!, about building up the courage to try something new, will inspire and delight your little one.
A perfect encouraging read during these turbulent times, we discover two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab, who are going for a swim in the sea. But when Little Crab catches a glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. "JEEPERS!" Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in?
3. 123 IRELAND!
Winner of Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Junior) at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019
123 IRELAND!, €7.50
This is the perfect book to teach them all about some of the things, both beautiful and strange, that can reside on the isle of Ireland. It's an explosion of delight and colour; a light-hearted, funny and brilliantly illustrated counting boardbook which gives them a cheerful introduction to all things Irish — or at least the first 10 things.
Irish dancers, harps and hurleys are just some of the things you'll only find on our shores and award-winning illustrator Aoife Dooley displays this and more fun Irish trivia with loving care and attention to detail. This will brighten up any rainy day.
Read more: 9 Irish cookbooks that will see you through self-isolation
4. Shooting For The Stars
Winner of Specsavers Children's Book of the Year (Senior) at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019
Shooting for the Stars, €16.99
We may not be able to take the kids too far outdoors these days, but that doesn't mean they can't reach for the stars. Dr Norah Patten is on a mission to do just this: be the first Irish person in space. Here, and with eye-catching illustrations from Jennifer Farley, she tells us about herself, all about space and the exciting life of an astronaut.
They'll follow Norah as she does it all: Learn about the wonders of space travel, astronaut training and even life without gravity. She has big dreams, but is taking steady and sure steps to make sure they come true. Anything is possible, even when it might seem impossible – and they'll think so too.
5. Once Upon A Place
Once Upon A Place, €15.99
We live in such a picturesque country, even if we might not be able to venture too far to see much of it right now. This gorgeous collection of 11 short stories and six poems by Ireland’s top children’s writers, is perfect for them to dip in and out of, before going to sleep.
Each of the stories and poems is based around the theme of place, being set in or inspired by a particular location within Ireland. With Irish tales and legends and matching illustrations both wonderful and strange, it's a chance to enter another world, if not too far away and dream of curious new adventures.
6. Other Words For Smoke
Winner of Dept 51 @ Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019
Other Words For Smoke, €9.99
This magical literary novel has so many layers of detail; you can't help but be drawn in. Twins Mae and Rossa’s summer away from home becomes something extraordinary when they discover the house — and what lingers inside it.
Witches, the owl in the wall, the creatures that devour and tragedy; when two women from the house suddenly go missing, no one knows why. Only the twins know about those fateful days — and they’ll never breathe a word. They'll temporarily forget the here and now and be transported to another world. A must-read.
An Post is sponsor of the Irish Book Awards. For more information, see here.
For more on the An Post InstaStory Club, in partnership with IMAGE, see here.