A (belated) welcome to March! March means many things--spring is just around the corner, baseball season starts, and the beginning of our favorite spring holidays, including St. Patrick's Day! March is also Irish-American Heritage Month, which is a great time to reflect on the many ways Irish immigrants have enriched our culture, and the many hardships they faced and overcame in their homeland and in their new country. Before you don your favorite green apparel and celebrate St. Patrick's Day, why not check out these super awesome books about St. Patrick and Irish heritage?
Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland is a super introduction to the life of St. Patrick, written and illustrated by picture book master, Tomie dePaola. DePaola includes both factual information and legends about this British-born missionary.
Irish culture is well-known for its colorful and magical stories of fairies, leprechauns, and fantastical legends. A Pot O'Gold: A Treasury of Irish Stories, Poetry, Folklore, And (Of Course) Blarney is a must read for anyone wanting to delve into the rich folklore of Ireland.
Did you know that the Cinderella story appears in many cultures? The Irish Cinderlad and Fair, Brown and Trembling are two examples of the "rags to riches" tale, with unique elements; in The Irish Cinderlad, the two main characters are reversed (the boy is the one plagued by his stepmother and stepsisters), while Fair, Brown, and Trembling includes the more familiar aspects of the story.
Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 is an eye-opening and humbling account of the Irish Famine, during which one million Irish men, women, and children died and two million fled Ireland.
When parents ask for books that their I Survived young fans would like, I often recommend the Dear America and My Name is America series; both series offer compelling historical series with charactes that young readers will relate to. (I also recommend the You Choose series.) So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl and The Journal of Finn Reardon: A Newsie follow two young Irish-Americans who endure much difficulties in their young lives.
If you're picking up a St. Patrick biography, why not check out Jean Fritz's picture book biography of St. Columba? The Man Who Loved Books features the Irish saint who copied 300 New Testaments so that Scottish churches could have their own copy.
Happy St. Patrick's Day (and Irish American Heritage Month!)
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library