'Baboró is crucial because it is an outlet which shows children they can express themselves'

BaborĂ³ Ambassador Michaela McDermott

Michaela McDermott. Photo:- Anita Murphy

Michaela McDermott. Photo:- Anita Murphy

THE 2018 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is in full swing and continues until this Sunday. This week’s Baboró Ambassador is Michaela McDermott, the children’s section manager of Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, where she has been working since 2014.

Michaela loves meeting young readers, from toddlers to teens, and helping find the right book for them. She currently hosts story-time for Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop every Saturday at 11am. This weekend, as part of Baboró, there will be a bigger than usual story-time on both Saturday and Sunday at 11am in the The Cornstore mall, outside Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Admission is free.

One of my favourite Baboró memories is...the first time I worked alongside the children's event in 2015, doing story-time in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. The Baboró story-time is always on a larger scale compared to our regular one, so I remember being amazed and delighted that so many people, young readers, and adults alike, embraced the cold Saturday morning to join us. It was really encouraging to see the children becoming so enthusiastic and excited about the stories, that they wanted to know what happened next. They were looking for hints in the illustrations, becoming actively involved with the stories. I love to encourage reading, so this Baboró story-time is a very happy and dear memory to me.

Baboró is important to Galway because...we need to show children how meaningful the arts can be to their lives, that it’s not solely limited to adults. Galway is an atmospheric city, with people saying there is a 'buzz' around. Galway is a city of art, culture, theatre, street performances, the list goes on. This is something that is important to show children as well. I believe Baboró is crucial because it is an outlet which shows children they can express themselves through various means. This is especially important for children who have difficulty verbalising their thoughts. Neil Gaiman once said, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before," which I think beautifully reflects what Baboró does to Galway.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Baboró Festival because...of the amazing line-up of Irish authors and illustrators as part of the literature programme. With fantastic names like Patricia Forde, Peter Donnelly, PJ Lynch, to name but a few. Their talks are not to be missed! I’m particularly impressed with the Irish language books for children as well. The works by Sadhbh Devlin, Tadhg Mac Donnagháin, or Máire Zepf are, in my opinion, brilliantly illustrated books and a great way to get reading as Gaeilge. What catches me first with these picture books is the beautiful illustrations to these pieces which make them so bold and eye-catching. I love getting new ‘Leabhair Gaeilge do pháistí’ and am delighted to be able to include these gorgeous fantastic pieces into my Baboró collection."

Baboró continues until this Sunday. See baboro.ie for the full programme.

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