With St David’s Day on the horizon (and this year it also falls on World Book Day), we’re dedicating today’s post to a host of Welsh children’s writers whose work is as enchanting and varied as Wales itself. I might be a little biased*, but Wales has a rich record of creating writers and poets, so settle down with a delicious cake (preferably of the Welsh variety) while you tuck into these recommended reads whose authors hail from the incomparable Land of Song.
Hubble Bubble fiction series by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Joe Berger
Each book in this series of classy two-colour fiction features three stories that provide perfect bite-sized bedtime reading for newly independent readers. Each tale follows the magical mayhem made by Pandora’s granny who is (whisper it!) a witch. From creating pandemonium in a pirate-themed school play to making monkey business at the zoo, Granny is always getting up to something and it falls to Pandora to put things right. Younger siblings will love the Hubble Bubble rhyming picture books.
Roald Dahl, incomparable master of wit and invention, was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, to Norwegian parents. Read everything he wrote, then read again. And repeat.
Dottie Blanket and the Hilltop by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Mina May
Dottie of dreams of living ‘on a bright green hilltop’ away from the smell and bustle of the city. Then, when her dad loses his job, her wish comes true when they move to The Hilltop in The Middle of Nowhere. As Dottie makes friends with the locals, among them Winnie Crisp, Blod Evans and the Fidgets, it turns out that her new hilltop home is actually in the Middle of Somewhere. This is a delightfully eccentric tale for 8+ year-olds, with illustrations that perfectly capture the characters’ charming quirks.
Sweet Pizza by G. R. Gemin
Joe is a Welsh boy who lives in Bryn Mawr, South Wales, and he’s passionately proud of his Italian heritage. He adores the music of the language, the music of the opera, and he LOVES the delicious food. So, when his mam’s run-down cafe – founded by his granddad way back in 1929 – is in need of a serious boost, he’s just the person to take on the task. Both heart-warming and heartily funny, this tale of a community coming together and a boy who’s determined to realise his dream is a fabulous feast of feel-good fiction. We also recommend the author’s debut, Cowgirl.
Gaslight by Eloise Williams
This winner of the Wales Arts Review Young People’s Book of the Year 2017 is a rollicking romp through the shadows of Victorian Cardiff. Nansi remembers the night she and her mother were running away, but she doesn’t remember why she was fished from the river, and she doesn’t know where her mother went. All alone, she starts working in Pernicious Sid’s theatre, but who can she really trust? This action-packed thriller fizzes with fascinating historical detail and an electrifying sense of urgency and adventure.
*being a Welsh writer!