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Vivienne is a children's bookseller and buyer at Dubray Books

Vivienne Luke’s top 10 books for children, plus one for adults!

Vivienne is a children's bookseller/buyer at Dubray Books, where she looks forward to resuming the Junior Book Club, and also inviting classes from local schools to author events. She regularly writes reviews for Children’s Books Ireland’s Inis magazine.

Vivienne Luke’s top 10 books for children this Christmas, plus one for adults!


The Dead Zoo, written and illustrated by Peter Donnelly

Age 2+, Gill Books

Intruder alert! When Mr. Gray discovers a very-much-alive mouse in his very orderly natural history museum, he does his utmost to oust her from the premises!


The One with the Waggly Tail, compiled by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Steve McCarthy

Age 3+, O’Brien Press

I relished this thoughtfully curated anthology of rhymes and songs, perfectly matched with vibrant pictures. It contains many rhymes that I had enjoyed in my childhood years, and also some new discoveries. (I still hope that doggie is for sale!)


The Friendship Fairies go to School, written by Lucy Kennedy, illustrated by Phillip Cullen

Age 5+, Gill Books

The fairies try to teach the human children what they’ve learnt at their friendship classes about kindness and manners, but of course there’s a bit of fun and trickacting along the way.


The Great Irish Farm Book
, written by Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell

Age 6+, Gill Books

Every child curious about the extensive world of farming, including where our food comes from, should read this visually stunning wealth of information. A fascinating book that I look forward to reading all over again!

Holy Shocking Saints, written by Síne Quinn, illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs

Age 7+, Veritas

This labour of love resulted in a gorgeously illustrated exploration of the very interesting lives of 12 exceptional, determined women and men. A shocking good read!

Break the Mould written by Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne

Age 8+, Hachette Children’s Books

I unexpectedly read this book in one sitting, very eager to know more about Sinéad’s life experiences as a little person, her advice on embracing difference, and also her words of wisdom for young people finding their place in the world today. A great book to read together.

Boot: The Creaky Creatures written by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle

Age 8+, Hachette Children’s Books

This is exactly the uplifting, warm-hearted, hopeful story we all need! Children will love the charming illustrations as they read this adventure story of Boot, Mr. Piggles, and the malfunctioning robot pets.

The Monsters of Rookhaven, written by Pádraig Kenny, illustrated by Edward Bettison

Age 9+, Macmillan Children’s Books

This brilliant novel is full to the brim of monsters and heart and depth and empathy and wonderfully atmospheric illustrations, and I love to recommend it to my customers.

Queen of Coin and Whispers, written by Helen Corcoran

Age 12+, O’Brien Press

This action-packed story tells of Lia, the newly crowned queen who inherits her corrupt uncle’s kingdom, and Xania, the spymaster Lia recruits to avenge her murdered father. Political intrigue, love, plot twists – what more can you ask for in a present for the teenager in your life?

Savage Her Reply, written by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan

Age 15+, Little Island

A beautifully crafted, dark retelling of The Children of Lir, seen through the eyes of the stepmother Aífe. This story is accompanied by beautiful, intricately drawn illustrations.

Once Upon a Reader, written by Lorraine Levis

Adult, Currach Books

Written by a former children’s bookseller, this is the ideal gift for parents and guardians who’d like an abundance of practical advice on how to instil a life-long love of reading in their little ones.

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