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Sarah Webb has written seven bestselling novels including, ‘When the Boys Are Away’, ‘Take a Chance’, and ‘Always the Bridesmaid’. Her books have been published in many different countries including the U.S. and Indonesia. She has also written four children’s books, has contributed short stories to many collections including ‘Moments’, and has compiled and edited two charity collections of her own, ‘Travelling Light’ and ‘Mum’s the Word’.
Sarah studied Arts in Trinity College, Dublin and worked in the book trade for many years as a Children’s Buyer. She now combines writing with working as a Children’s Book Consultant, and reviewing children’s books for the Irish Independent. She has also programmed and run many successful readers’ days, and is on the committee of Irish Pen.
She lives in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, with her partner and three children and spends as much time as possible in her parent’s second home in Castletownsend.
As a child
I was born in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. I have two sisters, Kate and Emma, and we used to fight a lot when we were girls, especially when we were teenagers and they used to nick my black socks and tights – but we are great friends now! I also have a much younger brother, Richard. I used to have to babysit for him all the time, like Amy in Amy Green. Did I resent this – grrrrrr - this is me gnashing my teeth. Of course! I couldn’t read by myself until I was nine. I found this very upsetting and frustrating because I loved stories and so wanted to be able to read. I was very lucky – my parents never gave up on me and read to me day and night. Eventually the words started to make sense on the page and within weeks I was flying along, devouring books. I’ve never looked back. My favourite books as a child, and now, are Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. Just like Harriet, I’ve kept a diary all my life and they are hidden in a very secret place in my house – so my family can’t find them, because they are TOP SECRET! I started writing stories soon after I started reading – at nine or ten. They were mainly re-writes of Cinderella or Enid Blyton books. I realised quite quickly that I could be anyone or do anything on the page. So there were a lot of enchanted sofas and beds in my stories, and characters flying out of windows like Wendy in Peter Pan. Someone asked me recently ‘Why do you write?’ I think it’s mainly because it makes me so happy. When I was little I wanted to be a ballerina, but I wasn’t good enough. My second dream was to be a writer or journalist. It just goes to show, sometimes dreams really do come true.
As an adult
I went to a school called St Andrew’s College in Dublin and then I studied English and History of Art in Trinity College, Dublin. I still love art and wandering around galleries is one my favourite things to do, especially in other countries. The MOMA in New York is my favourite gallery at the moment. After college, I wanted to work in publishing, but there weren’t many jobs and I didn’t have any experience so I applied to work in a bookshop called Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street. I loved it. I went on to work in many other bookshops including Hughes and Hughes, Waterstone’s, Eason and Dubray Books. Mainly as a children’s bookseller, I’m mad about children’s books, although I did spend a year selling medical books – so I know lots of strange ‘ology’ words!
As an artist
I started writing books when I was working in Waterstone’s. I was very broke and needed some extra money to carpet my little house. So I started writing for local newspapers and then magazines. And then I came up with an idea for a children’s cookery book, Kids Can Cook. It was rejected five times before Children’s Press in Ireland said they’d like to publish it. That was my very first book. Since then I have written eight novels for adults and Amy Green for young teens. I’m currently working on my second Amy Green book. I also enjoy visiting schools, and talking about children’s books with anyone who will listen. Obsessed, moi? Certainly not!
Things you didn't know about Sarah Webb
My favourite colour is raspberry pink – the walls in my study were pink for ages but it looked liked Barbie’s Magical Kingdom so they’re white now. But my curtains are pink!
I can touch the end of my nose with my tongue.
I sang Dancing Queen by Abba to my little sister at her wedding. Then I fell off the table. We have it all on video too!
I have a special proof copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, dedicated to me. I met J K Rowling at a dinner and she signed it for me. How cool is that?!
I’m obsessed with husky dogs and want to go on a husky safari with my son.
My favourite food is ice cream – with whipped cream on top. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. Yum!
I carve a mean Hallowe’en pumpkin.
I adore karaoke, even though I can’t sing.
I’m addicted to notebooks. I always have at least one in my bag, one beside my bed, and another in the kitchen. You never know when a good idea is going to strike.
I couldn’t read until I was nine and now I’m a full time writer. Just goes to show, the world’s a funny place and anything’s possible if you want it badly enough.
Girls who enjoyed Sarah Webb’s first Songbird Café Girls story will be excited to return to Little Bird Island to read about another of its inhabitants. Sunny and her little sister Min came to the island from China and live there with their new parents. Sunny is mostly very happy, and has a special friend in Mollie, but outside her home, even in the happy atmosphere of the Songbird Café, she is selectively mute. Sunny, her parents and Min all wish that Sunny could speak and her mum and dad organise a trip back to their old home to see if that will help. Their visit helps Sunny in lots of ways, and brings her closer to her little sister too, but it’s an event back home on the island that determines her to overcome the anxiety that’s stopping her speaking. Warm and well-written this is a moving and thoughtful story, another treat for pre-teen readers. ~ Andrea Reece
March 15 Book of the Month When her TV presenter mum flies off to Australia for two months, thirteen year old Mollie is sent to stay with the great-grandma she hardly knows on the tiny island of Little Bird. She feels like Dorothy landing in Oz, everything is totally different to what she knows. Though she gets off to a bad start, making an enemy of one of the few other girls who live on the island, helping out in the Songbird Café gives her a different perspective on the island, and she soon makes friends. This is perfectly pitched for pre-teen readers. Sarah Webb gets Mollie’s voice spot on, and the emotional journey she makes is totally convincing. The setting is delightful, and the cast of island characters so lovely everyone will want to live there. ~ Andrea Reece A letter from the author ~ Dear Reader, I’ve always loved books about islands: Enid Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island and The Secret Island; the wonderful Irish adventure Island of the Great Yellow Ox by Walter Macken; the Anne of Green Gables books, which are set on Prince Edward Island in Canada; and a very old book called The Swiss Family Robinson, which my mum used to read to me, and is about a family who are stranded on a desert island. A few years ago, I stayed in a yurt (a round Mongolian tent) on a small island called Cape Clear. It was so quiet, so peaceful. There was no traffic noise, only the odd dog barking and birds calling. One night as I lay on the grass, looking at the stars – there were so many glittering above me that I saw not one but two shooting stars – I started to think about what it might be like to live on a small island. I decided I’d like to create and write stories about my very own island, Little Bird. At its heart would be a very special cafe, the Songbird Cafe − a place where everyone on the island meets. And then I introduced Mollie Cinnamon, a girl who is used to city life, and I stood back and watched the island’s magic cast its spell on her. I hope you have the chance to visit a stunning island like Cape Clear one day. Until then, you can read about Mollie and her journey from city slicker to island girl. Best and many wishes, Sarah XXX P. S. For teacher’s notes on using Mollie Cinnamon Is Not a Cupcake in the classroom, see www.SarahWebb.ie.
Sarah Webb is a debut children's author but an established chick-lit novelist and her wonderful 13 year old character creation in Amy Green, teen agony aunt extraordinaire, is set to be the new best friend for every pre-teen girl. Full of humour and wisdom the novel will strike a chord with girls everywhere. A message from the author: Hi, welcome to my very first Amy Green book. This book is co-written by the thirteen year old me! I've kept diaries for years and when I read them now I remember exactly what it feels like to be a teenager again - sometimes shy and uncertain, sometimes on top of the world.
A marvellous collection of Irish rhymes to delight any child, beautifully illustrated in this attractive board book. A short selection of favourite rhymes from the original Irish Book Award short-listed title, Sally Go Round the Stars (2011). Beautifully illustrated by Steve McCarthy, this is a perfect gift for young readers. All royalties to Barnardos.
'How much is that doggie in the window - The one with the waggly tail?' From spiders and fleas to pirates at sea; from grasshoppers and worms to houses in trees - discover old and new favourites within these pages. The team behind the award-winning A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea has created a magical collection of the rhymes loved by children in Ireland.
Which are the biggest and smallest animals? Which are the most dangerous? Why do dogs love people so much? What animals can live in the heat of the desert, or deep below the oceans? Sarah Webb is animal crazy and has put the answers to all these questions and more in Animal Crackers, a book bursting with information about animals of all types! Crammed full of pictures, cartoons and more from Alan Nolan this is the perfect book for children who want to know more about our furry, feathered (and scaly!) friends. With a special section on Irish wildlife, and the 'Irish Animal Detective' activities, children will want to explore their gardens, parks and beaches to seek out all kinds of native animals. Animal Crackers also provides fun facts and engaging activities that kids will love - from how to draw your favourite animals to suggestions on how you can help save the planet!
'Dream big. You can't put a limit on your dreams because nothing is impossible.' Katie Mullan, Ireland Hockey Captain Are you ready to be inspired? Open this book and discover a world of courage, bravery and adventure. Adventurers, explorers, inventors, dreamers.... for a small country Irish people have had a huge impact internationally. From helping street children in India, to saving Jewish children during World War II and exploring new worlds, their reach has been world-wide. From Michael Collins to Rosie Hackett, Lady Gregory to Tom Crean, this book celebrates the brave and daring Irish. Be inspired by some of Ireland's most daring and fearless men and women.
A book for everyone who dreams of changing the world. From fearless aviator, Lady Mary Heath, the first woman in the world to parachute from an aeroplane, to Margaret Bulkley, the 18th-century surgeon who lived as a man, meet 28 remarkable Irish women who have taken the world by storm. You may have already heard some of their names, like Countess Markievicz and Mary Robinson, but others, like Anne Sullivan, Lilian Bland or Anna Haslam, may be new to you. Packed with fun, fascinating facts and stunning, full-page illustrations, this book celebrates the trail blazers who have shaped the world we live in. Ready to walk in their footsteps? A world of bravery and discovery awaits you. Made by two remarkable women, author Sarah Webb and illustrator Lauren O'Neill.
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