The 10 best Irish children’s books of 2022

It’s been another bumper year for Irish literature and this is no more apparent than in the children’s literature genre – where an eclectic bounty awaits the young readers in your life.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the best Irish children’s books of 2022 below…

Eoin Colfer & Chris Judge – Cloud Babies

Long established as a master of storytelling for children thanks to his Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer teamed up with brilliant illustrator Chris Judge for this beautiful and meaningful book. If you follow Judge on social media, you’ll be familiar with him Daily Cloud offerings. Based on first-hand experience from the renowned artist’s life, it’s a story about a little girl called Erin who becomes ill, but who finds solace during her lengthy hospital stays in the ‘cloud babies’ she sees in the sky.

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Chris Haughton – Well Done, Mummy Penguin

There’s no question that books from Chris Haughton’s pen (stylus?) are modern children’s classics, like the wonderful A Bit Lost (2010) and 2014’s Shhh! We Have a Plan. The London-based Irish illustrator and author’s blend of humor and his distinctive style is always a joy. His latest offering Well Done, Mummy Penguin – an ode to resilient mommies and the lengths they go to for their families – is another gorgeous string to his bow.

Oliver Jeffers – Meanwhile, Back on Earth

Perhaps one of the most celebrated Irish children’s authors and illustrators out there, Oliver Jeffers hits the mark yet again with his latest book – which stretched his storytelling canvas in a multitude of ways. Beautiful artwork accompanies the Belfast native’s trademark wit and wisdom in this “brief history of the world and a guide to the universe”, as a dad takes his two kids on a cosmic adventure to gain perspective on the Earth and its history. Stunning stuff.

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Amy Huberman – The Day I Got Trapped in My Brain

You may know her primarily as an actress and media personality, but Amy Huberman – who has published two adult novels in the past – turned her hand to children’s fiction with great success this year. She has described The Day I Got Trapped in My Brain as a ‘love letter to siblings’, telling the story of 11-year-old Frankie, a girl with a great imagination who one day gets stuck in the ‘Thoughtopolis’ that is her brain. Packed with empathy, humor and charm, it’s a great read for older kids.

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Aoife Dooley – Frankie’s World

The Dublin artist and comedian transferred her own real-life experience of neurodiversity to her charming debut graphic novel. Frankie is a young girl who knows she’s different somehow, but can’t figure out why. When she and her friend Sam attempt to track down her dad, who left when she was a baby, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance that is as heartwarming as it is meaningful.

Sinead Moriarty – The Truth About Riley

She is best known for her worth in the popular fiction realm, but Dubliner Sinead Moriarty was apparently buoyed by the success of her debut children’s/YA debut The New Girl in 2021. That book tackled a weighty topic with a lightness of touch, and The Truth About Riley treads a similar path, telling the story of Riley – a young girl who finds herself homeless when her dad dies suddenly. A thought-provoking read for youngsters.

Ellen Ryan – Girls Who Slay Monsters

If you grew up in Ireland, you’re probably familiar with many of the fabled myths and legends that comprise our cultural identity. But what about the unsung heroes? Author Ellen Ryan re-imagines some of the female-led tales of goddesses and warriors for a new generation, shining a light on the overlooked figures from Irish legends – from Eithne the supernatural scholar or Fand the shape-shifting eco-warrior. A brilliantly empowering book for all ages.

Maggie O’Farrell – The Boy Who Lost His Spark

She tackled the world of Shakespeare with her acclaimed novel Hamnetbut Maggie O’Farrell’s latest offering takes another direction entirely. The Boy Who Lost His Spark is a beautifully-crafted, old-fashioned folk story with a contemporary spin. Jem is a young boy who feels unhappy and misplaced when his family moves to the countryside. When he becomes entangled with a mischievous mythical creature called a ‘nouka’, he rediscovers his sense of fun, his belief in magic and most importantly, his spark. A gorgeous, heartwarming tale.

Myles Dungan – The Great Irish History Book

Learning about history, geography and culture can often be an overwhelming and frankly, a dull experience for little people. Not on Myles Dungan’s watch, though. The well-known Irish author, historian and broadcaster’s history of our little island encompasses everything from the Celts, to the Famine, to the 1916 Rising – all presented in child-friendly chunks and accompanied by fabulous illustrations courtesy of Alan Dunne.

Catherine Doyle – The Lost Girl King

If you know a child who loves stories related to folklore and adventure, this is the one for them. Author of the Storm Keeper trilogy, Catherine Doyle’s latest superb tale has won her comparisons to Diana Wynne Jones and The Chronicles of Narnia. It follows brother and sister Amy and Liam, who unwittingly discover a secret portal to Tír na nÓg on their summer holidays in Connemara – and who must escape the evil sorcerer that rules the fabled ‘land of eternal youth’ before he uses their bones for a wicked spell. A wonderful story with a distinctly Irish twist.

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