It is no secret that books are an excellent language-learning resource for all ages. They take us away into a new world different from our own reality. The list below includes resources as Gaeilge that can support you on your language journey with your children compiled by Children’s Books Ireland.
All the books mentioned can be found in Irish libraries across the country. Check out the Libraries Ireland database to see what books are available.
0-3 years old
LÁ ÁLAINN DAINÍN
This story is about a little boy and his teddy bear’s day out to the garden, the park and even the beach. This is a lovely story for young children and it’s written as a rhyme to keep young children interested.
CINNÍN ÓIR AGUS NA TRÍ BHÉAR
This book is the translated version of the classic story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” This book is also written as a rhyme to keep children engaged.
BABAÍ CATHAL: LÁ NUA
This story shows Cathal getting ready for his day but he needs some help. This is an entertaining book that captures children’s attention and has lots of vocabulary about getting ready in the morning.
BABAÍ BEAG: AINMHITHE
This is a beautiful, colourful cardboard book. Perfect for young children to learn the names of animals in Irish.
ANSEO ATÁ MUID
This book written by Jeffers for his son is a basic guide to explaining the world and humanity to him. The main message of this book is that we all have space in this world. It also includes beautiful illustrations that often span multiple pages.
5-8 years old
AN SEACHTAR STUAMA: DÉANAIGÍ DEIFIR, A SHEACHTAIR!
This is another classic children’s book. The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton is a series full of mystery, teamwork and friendship. In this particular book the gang save the day after the railway guard was injured. This classic series with an Irish twist is full of action your child will struggle not to read it all in one go.
This simple but powerful story looks at some of the challenges children face starting school. We follow Percy, a fearful character, who shows courage and self-confidence by the end of the story. It is very easy for children to empathise with it.
MÉABH, BANRÍON NA TRODA
Maeve, Queen of War, details the life of one of the most famous characters in Irish literature. Maeve is a beautiful, brave Queen, but she has a jealous streak. This Irish version is written in a way that is easy for young children and there are clever and attractive illustrations on each page.
This is a story about a girl called Nina who uses magic to escape from her brother, to her doll’s house. Useful phrases are used throughout to help children as they learn to read.
MO THEACHÍN GAN CHUMA GAN CHAOI
This book focuses on the importance of gratitude through a story. Illustrations are used to help move the story forward and There is a strong emphasis on repetition and rhyme to engage readers and encourage them to interact with the story.
8-12 years old
This story is about Nizar and his family. Nizar is a refugee and sheds light on what life is like for him and his family. It gives us an insight into Nizar’s side of the story. Like any good story, poor Nizar has an enemy: Seán Seoighe, the caretaker. This story has an ideal ending that will make it very appealing to young readers, not to mention it is very educational and a great conversation starter.
AN FÉILEACÁN AGUS AN RÍ
Éadaoin and Mír are about to get married, but Éadaoin is cursed and takes on the shape of a small butterfly. This book is brilliantly illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald. Zepf manages to tell a fascinating story in a simple way, often using poetic language. It brings the story of Eadaoin and Mír to life for the next generation.
This story is about the abduction of Dándírix, the poet from the Gallic village. He is locked up in Rome and will be eaten by lions if Asterix and Obelix fail to free it. This is a hilarious story that will have anyone laughing out loud. The stories are suitable for young people but when something as good as Asterix is available, it doesn’t matter what age you are.
IS MISE MANCHÁN MAXIMUS
This book is the warrior’s diary. The story shows that not all warriors are created the same, but that even the most unlikely warrior has a role to play in times of disaster.
Greg Heffley is famous all over the world, and now his story can be read in Irish! Máirín Ní Mhárta has done a great job of bringing the atmosphere and humour of the original book to life in the Irish version. It’s impossible not to laugh while reading Greg’s diary. Even if you don’t think your Irish is very good, you will still be able to read and enjoy this wonderful book.
These are only some of the Irish books available in libraries. There are so many different books for all different ages, levels and interests so there’s something for everyone. Check out ‘Libraries Ireland’ catalogue Library Catalogue to see the full range of what’s available in your local library.