Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! St. Patrick’s day is upon us, so there’s no better time to acquaint yourself with Irish children’s books.

Ireland is famous for its world-class literature and boasts globally bestselling children’s authors, such as Eoin Colfer, known for his smash-hit series, Artemis Fowl. And perhaps you have already enjoyed Derek Landy’s darkly funny fantasy-detective series, Skullduggery Pleasant, or Catherine Doyle’s wildly popular YA romantasy series, Twin Crowns. For little ones, you might know of Oliver Jeffers, a multi-award-winning picture book creator, with much loved titles such as Here We Are. But beyond these famous Irish authors, there is a wealth of exciting new children’s writing flowing out of the Emerald Isle.

We’ve teamed up with the Discover Irish Children’s Books campaign, to highlight some of these lesser-known, but much celebrated titles, spanning picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for all age groups – so you’re sure to find something that catches your interest.

Bí ag léamh – Let’s read!

For 3+ Readers

The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy. When Oktober joins his family of 11 siblings and parents on an outdoor hike he is very trepidatious. Then Oktober meets the real Wilderness and learns an unexpected lesson about being brave when scared. Extraordinary art and a story that inspires.

You’re All My Favourites by Sam McBratneyillustrated by Anita Jeram Almost everyone knows McBratney’s ‘Guess how much I love you’ but this book perfectly explores siblings’ concerns. Centred on three bear cubs who each want to know which of them their parents love the most. Another timeless classic.

An Unexpected Thing by Ashling Lindsay Fred worries a lot and an unexpected dot in the sky has made him very anxious. Coco is a friend who is curious, and her view of the world starts to reassure Fred about the wonders all around us. Incredible illustrations that show the importance of perspectives.

Be Wild, Little One by Olivia Hope illustrated by Daniel Egnéus. A stunning journey through nature that encourages children to embrace their wild wonderful selves and all they can be. A favourite of Michael Morpurgo and the perfect gift to welcome a child into the world.

For 5+ Readers

Pablo and Splash by Sheena Dempsey A hilarious graphic novel from younger readers about a slightly bonkers pair of time traveling penguins. Pablo and Splash is a visually funny tale of funny friends with clever catchphrases that will keep readers coming back for the next books in this series.

Lola and Larch fix a Fairy Forest by Sinéad O’Hart illustrated by Rachel Seago. Lola has just found a lost white rabbit - how lucky can she get? Only it’s not a lost rabbit but a tree fairy with not very reliable magic. To get Larch home and save her fairy village the pair must face Euphorbia Spurge. Fabulous fairy fun!

Minute Minders by Mary Murphy There are tiny folk called fiddlers who guide humans in their everyday life – and this humorous tale focuses on Stevie, a truth teller who must help her dad as he becomes a Minute minder; a special type of fiddler that must solve a human’s problem in a minute. Proof that all we need is a nudge to make a good decision.

For 7+ Readers

Milly McCarthy and The Irish Dancing Disaster by Leona Forde illustrated by Karen Harte .Milly wants to win a medal for Irish dancing, like her neighbour Abbie Horgan. But Irish dancing takes talent, and Milly’s skills are in short supply! When she’s subbed into a dance group at short notice, things go disastrously. From sick students to sprained ankles, it looks like the feis is turning into a fiasco and they’ll be lucky to get home in one piece, let alone with any medals!

Molly Malone and Bram Stoker in Double Trouble at the Dead Zoo by Alan Nolan When Bram and his best pal Molly meet a lonely boy called Sanjit in Dublin’s Natural History Museum, they take him under their wing. Sanjit tells them the tale of the dread (and very dead) pirate, Captain Lamprey, and his links to the Museum. Soon the new shipmates find themselves outwitting vagabonds and villains, hot on the trail of a mysterious long-lost treasure… the Rajapur Ruby! But little do they know that not everyone they come across is who they claim to be!

For 9+ Readers

The Silver Road by Sinéad O'Hart When Rosaleen Darke is entrusted with a powerful stone by an ice giant, it leads her to discover a world of magic hiding beneath her feet. Magic that runs through the land: the Silver Road. But the Silver Road is in danger and, in the wrong hands, the stone that Rose guards could destroy its magic forever. Rose must face one-eyed gods, fearsome fire-witches and unearthly warriors to keep the magic alive...

The Last Boy by Eve McDonnell Brewster is a small, unwanted ‘climbing boy’, sold to a cruel Master Sweep to risk his life climbing up chimneys. But Brewster has a secret: he is phenomenally gifted with numbers. Back in his cellar, his walls are covered with calculations predicting a terrifying storm of stars… and upon each star he will cast his wish to be the last climbing boy, ever. When a powerful woman offers to make his wish come true, Brewster is challenged to do something impossible in return…a wish for a wish.

Gods Don’t Cry by Ellen Ryan illustrated by Conor MerrimanGods Don’t Cry reawakens Ireland’s forgotten immortals, whose ancient tales redefine modern notions of what it means to be a hero. From Manannán, who uses his neurodiversity to discover the Otherworld, to Fer Maisse, a monster slayer who gives up glory to become a healer, these are ancient gods of many abilities and backgrounds, from every corner of Ireland.

The Weather Girls by Sarah Webb It’s 1944. Grace Devine lives at Blacksod Lighthouse and weather station in County Mayo with her parents and little brother. When a German plane crashes nearby, she risks her life to save the young pilot. Grace’s family take him in, but their neighbours are horrified at having an ‘enemy’ in their midst. Meanwhile, the Met Office in England suddenly asks Blacksod to send them weather reports every hour. But why? As the wind and rain howl outside, Grace begins to understand that something important is happening, something to do with the war – and she is right in the eye of the storm.

For 11+ Readers

The Climbing Boys by Ann Murtagh The Climbing Boys is set in Dublin in 1830 and tells the story of ‘climbing boy’ Scholar O’Dare, who is forced to leave school to clean chimneys with his brothers. The work brings him into contact with newly elected MP Daniel O’Connell, the most famous Irish person at the time. Scholar also crosses paths with another climbing boy living and working in dire circumstances with nobody to look out for him.  Will Scholar be able to save this boy?  This is a story of poverty, cruelty, Land injustice, but also of camaraderie, empathy, and hope.

The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Patricia Forde Nobody can ever know Aria’s secret: she has human DNA. Raised on Planet Terros, Aria was taught to hate humans and their destructive ways. But when she is sent to release a deadly virus and end the failed human experiment, Aria realises everything she thought she knew about Earth was a lie. The mission goes wrong. And now dark forces from Aria’s past are out to destroy her.

For 13+ Readers

Black & Irish: Legends, Trailblazers & Everyday Heroes Leon Diop and Briana Fitzsimons illustrated by Jessica Louis features 25 stories of inspirational individuals representing every aspect of the Black and Irish community, from footballers and actors to doctors and teachers, and everything in between. This award-winning, landmark publication in Irish history is a celebration of Black Irish identity.

The Secrets Act by Alison Weatherby Wartime. Pearl and Ellen work at top-secret codebreaking HQ, Bletchley Park. Pearl is the youngest. A messenger at sixteen, she’s untidy, lively, bright, and half in love with the wrong boy, Richard. Ellen is a codebreaker. Reserved, analytical and beautiful. She never expected to get close to a girl like Pearl – or fall for a chap like Dennis. But when tragedy strikes, their logical world is upended, with both friends caught in a spy plot that rocks the very heart of the war effort. Who can they turn to now? Who can they trust? And above all, can they unmask the traitor in their midst before it’s too late?

For Young Adults

Catfish Rolling by Clara Kumagai Sora hates the catfish whose rolling caused an earthquake so powerful it cracked time itself. It destroyed her home and took her mother. Now Sora and her scientist father live close to the zones – the wild and abandoned places where time runs faster or slower than normal. Sora is sensitive to the shifts, and her father recruits her help in exploring these liminal spaces. But it's dangerous there – and as she strays further inside in search of her mother, she finds that time distorts, memories fracture and shadows, a glimmer of things not entirely human, linger. After Sora's father goes missing, she has no choice but to venture into uncharted spaces within the time zones to find him, her mother and perhaps even the catfish itself.

Something's About to Blow Up by Sam Blake When an explosion rips through the chemistry lab at Raven’s Hill School and six girls are injured, the first thought is that it’s an experiment gone wrong. Then the guards start investigating and suspect a bomb. But if so – who was it targeting, and why? Ella, Becky, Maeve, and Mackenzie are rushed to hospital, along with the injured Frankie and Sorcha, who team up with Jess to try to find out what actually happened. But what they discover is more sinister than even they could have imagined…