What better way to celebrate this Valentine’s Day than 25 books children and young people in Wales love!
Today public libraries in Wales and The Reading Agency are announcing their Winter of Wellbeing shortlist, a collection of 25 brilliant books nominated by children and young people across Wales for their power to make them feel better, more connected and more understood.
This exciting strand of the cross-sector Winter of Wellbeing campaign running across Wales launched last month with a call to action to discover children and young people’s favourite reads after a difficult two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children and young people across Wales responded in their droves and a list of 25 books has now been published. Among those on the list are award winning Welsh authors like four times winner of the Tir na n’Og Wales Children’s Book Awards and Welsh Libraries’ January 2022 author of the month Manon Steffan Ros from Meirionnydd, and 2021 Tir na n’Og winner Casia Wiliam from Gwynedd.
“I’m so honoured to have been nominated for the Winter of Wellbeing booklist, and I’d like to give a huge thanks to all who give their time and energy to reading my work. Books have always been excellent company and faithful friends to me, so to be included on this list means a great deal,” said Manon whose book Fi ac Aaron Ramsey, a tale of two friends and ends as Wales reach the Euros in 2020 is featured in the list of feel-good reads.
Casia Wiliam’s award winning Sw Sara Mai also made the shortlist, a contemporary story about a girl aged around 9 called Sara Mai who grows up on her parents’ zoo, and who finds it easier to understand the behaviour of the remarkable creatures who live there than the other girls in her class.
Casia said, “I have a very soft spot for Sara Mai, as a character she brings me a lot of joy, so I am absolutely delighted to hear that Sw Sara Mai has brought others joy too. Nothing in the world beats a child telling me that they enjoyed reading a book that I have written, so I am truly over the moon that Sw Sara Mai has made the list.”
Managing Director of Y Lolfa, Garmon Gruffudd added, “As publishers we are thrilled, especially in that the books have been nominated by children and young people, proving that the authors have struck a chord.”
Supported by the Welsh Government, the Winter of Wellbeing campaign aims to help children and young people recover from the pandemic, and is working its magic in counties across Wales.
Public libraries have teamed up with The Reading Agency for this seasonal celebration of reading, the benefits it promotes and the power of local libraries to help children reconnect with each other and their community. It will continue through to the end of March with a programme of activities and events delivered online and in libraries.
Here is the full list of the 25 nominated feel-good page turners for children and young adults:
• Rain before Rainbows by Smriti Halls and illustrated by David Litchfield
• Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks / Welsh language edition: Croeso I’n Cragen
• Sometimes I feel…SUNNY by Gillian Shields with illustrations by Georgie Birkett / Welsh language edition: Weithiau Dwi’n Teimlo’n Heulog
• One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth
• Sw Sara Mai by Casia Wiliam and illustrations by Gwen Millward
• Daydreams and jellybeans – poetry by Alex Wharton illustrated by Katy Riddell
• While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Polly Dunbar
• The Pond by Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher / Welsh language: Y Pwll
• Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare and illustrated by Jane Matthews
• Fi ac Aaron Ramsey by Manon Steffan Ros
• Future Friend by David Baddiel and illustrated by Steven Lenton
• Seaglass by Eloise Williams
• Hello universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
• Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga and illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor
• The Infinite by Patience Agbabi
• You are a Champion: How to be the best you can be by Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka
• The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
• A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
• Scrambled by Huw Davies / Welsh adaptation: Sgramblo
• The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
• Can You See Me by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott
• October, October by Katya Balen with illustrations by Angela Harding
• Coming up for Air by Tom Daley
• War Horse by Michael Morpurgo/ Welsh adaptation: Ceffyl Rhyfel
• The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy / Welsh language edition: Y Bachgen, y Wahadden, y Llwynog a’r Ceffyl (Graffeg)
For links to watch recent events and information of everything taking place until the end of March, visit the Reading Agency’s website, here.