Irish poet, author and translator Gabriel Rosenstock picks up national award for outstanding contribution to children’s books
Irish poet, author and translator Gabriel Rosenstock is the 2023 recipient of the Annual Children’s Books Ireland Award for his outstanding contribution to children’s books.
The announcement, made at the Children’s Books Ireland International Conference this weekend, recognised his lifelong work to provide Irish children with access to stories in their native language.
CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, Elaina Ryan said: “For years, Gabriel Rosenstock has been a vital force in Irish children’s publishing, working across languages and disciplines to share illuminating and spellbinding stories. In 2015, his book ‘Haiku, Más é do thoil é!’ was recognised by the Children’s Books Ireland Awards for the Judges’ Special Award, and we are thrilled to present him today with this Award on behalf of Children’s Books Ireland, and the wider Irish children’s books community, for his tireless work in bringing excellent literature to his readers.”
Gabriel has written several collections of poetry and stories for children in Irish and English, including ‘Dánta Duitse’, ‘Púcaí Schmúcaí agus Dánta Eile’, ‘Fear na bPéistíní’, and ‘The Confessions of Henry Hooter the Third: Poems for Owlish Children’. He has also worked extensively on translating popular books and television series for children into Irish, including ‘The Gruffalo’, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, ‘Owl Babies’, ‘Watership Down’ and ‘The Muppet Show’.
Gabriel was nominated by Jane Landy, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin and Amanda Bell, who describe him as having “revolutionised Irish poetry for youngsters”. To them, his generosity in widening access to storytelling is most evident in his publishing of his titles for free through platforms such as ‘Léigh Leat’ and ‘FreeKidsBooks.’
‘Irish children, whether native speakers of Irish or learning it at school, have access to stories and poems from home and afar, retold in Gabriel’s magnificent Gaeilge, enriching their experience of literature and connecting them with their linguistic heritage.
“At a recent event of Gabriel’s at a library, a moved librarian told me, ‘This country needs Gabriel Rosenstock’. We need him for our children, so that they may enjoy and create poetry and stories in Irish, English and any other language they aspire to. For it’s not just literature in Irish or English that Gabriel offers our children, but a connection with all language and the pure joy of playing with it to create new things - no matter how small.”
Receiving the Award, Gabriel said: “In a recent bilingual volume of poems ‘Garsún: Boy’ (Arlen House), I reminisce on how the tales of Hans-Christian Andersen opened up my heart to the sufferings and the aspirations of others. This has been one of the guiding principles of my own original work for children, as well as countless translations and adaptations for such platforms as Léigh Leat and Free Kids Books, and it’s in this spirit that I accept the Award, gratefully.
‘He was a childhood hero
he it was who turned me to writing.
He opened my heart
and affirmed that I should not yield to anyone
but be what I am.
Plunge into the heart,
everything waits there.’”
For more information visit www.childrensbooksireland.ie.