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2015 in books: Children’s and young-adult fiction

Life, loss and a disastrous Irish superhero family

Author of the Artimis Fowl series and Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer has edited a new anthology titled Once Upon a Place: New Children’s Stories by Irish Writers
Rebecca Westcott’s Five Things They Never Told Me (Puffin, March) is a moving story about life and loss set in a nursing home. 
 
Poolbeg continues its historical-fiction series, In a Nutshell and Hands on History, with Claire Hennessy’s Seeds of Liberty (April) and Patricia Murphy’s Deadly Shot: Dan’s War of Independence 1920-22 (March). 
 
Cathy Cassidy’s Looking-Glass Girl (Puffin, April) is a modern retelling of Alice in Wonderland to mark the book’s 150th anniversary.
 
In Irish, I Measc Vaimpírí (Cois Life, March) is the third in Orna Ní Choileáin’s popular vampire series set “sa Thrasalváin”, while Éilis Ní Dhuibhne’s Aisling (Cois Life, September) looks at issues of abortion and religion in a right-wing family. Frank Reidy’s Scéalta ón Afraic (Cló Iar-Chonnacht, June) translates African tales of lions, elephants and giraffes into Irish. Aois Fir, by Liam Ó Muirthile (Cois Life, September), is a coming-of-age story about a young boy’s terrifying journey home on a fishing boat.
 
Kevin Stevens’s funny tale about a disastrous Irish superhero family, Pucker Power (Little Island, May), is beautifully illustrated by Sheena Dempsey, as is Eddie Lenihan’s miniature series of legends, The Mystery and Magic Collection (Mercier, March). Vendetta (Chicken House, January) is a gangland retelling of Romeo and Juliet from the debut novelist Catherine Doyle. 
 
The Art of Being Normal (David Fickling, January), by Lisa Williamson, looks at identity and friendship among teenage boys, while Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like a Book (Indigo, May) is a coming-out and coming-of-age tale 15 years in the making. 
 
Fans of Sarah Crossan’s Apple and Rain will look forward to her new book, The Weight of Water (Bloomsbury, August), about the alienation of young immigrants. Two trilogies will also appear in the summer, Kieran Fanning’s Black Lotus (Chicken House, August), set in the near future of a samurai takeover, and Elizabeth Murray’s Nine Lives (Mercier, July). 
 
Lastly, something for all ages to enjoy, an anthology edited by Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer, Once Upon a Place: New Children’s Stories by Irish Writers (Little Island, October).