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Local kids support campaign

THIS spring local children are being encouraged to read a story about a small robot on a big adventure. 

‘Boot’, written by Shane Hegarty and illustrated by Ben Mantle, has been chosen for the 2020 Citywide Reading Campaign for Children. 

The aim of the initiative is to promote reading for pleasure among children.

The campaign was launched in the newly refurbished Coolock Library, where some enthusiastic young readers of the book got to meet the author. 

The 2020 reading campaign runs from January to March and there will be author visits to many Dublin City Council branch libraries as well as city-centre based events in bookshops, the National Library of Ireland and Dublin City Gallery – Hugh Lane. 

The campaign ends with fun readings and workshops based on the book, as part of the St Patrick’s Festival. 

Dublin City Librarian Mairead Owens said: “The Citywide Reading campaign has a simple but important aim – to get children reading for pleasure. 

“This is the ninth year of the campaign, and we hope to see lots of children borrowing a copy of ‘Boot’ from their local library over the next few months.”

Author Shane Hegarty, who was born and raised in Skerries, said: “I am thrilled and honoured that ‘Boot’ has been chosen as the 2020 Citywide Read. 

“Growing up a Dubliner, my local libraries fed my imagination from a very early age, sending me on adventures in space and time every time I walked through their doors. 

“As a writer I see the magic readers still find in libraries. I’m really looking forward to inventing exotic robots, telling tall tales and sharing the adventure with today’s young Dubliners.” 

The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Council Libraries, in partnership with Hachette Children’s Books, and is funded by the city council’s library service and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

Copies of the book are available in all Dublin City Libraries as well as in all good bookshops.

‘Boot’ follows the adventure of a robot who wakes up in a rubbish tip and, with only two-and-a-half memories and a gang of new robot friends, sets off to find its owner. 

It was recently shortlisted for An Post Irish Book of the Year Awards and the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award in the UK. The second book in the series will be published this month.

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