The White Ravens

A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Irish / Ireland

Bliain na nAmhrán

(The year of songs)

Mac Dhonnagáin, Tadhg (text)
Various artists (illus.)
An Spidéal: Futa Fata, 2016. – 51 p. + CD
ISBN 978-1-910945-21-6

Seasons  | Song  | Poetry

White Ravens issue: 2017

Reading age: 3+


“Bliain na nAmhrán” is a book of songs published by Futa Fata, who are committed to publishing books for readers of all ages in the Irish language. Lyrics composed by Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin are presented as poetry, and the songs are performed on an accompanying CD. Each of the four sections paints a picture of one season and evokes memories of childhood, whether that of the zoo, the beach, or picking blackberries. Although each section is illustrated by a different artist – Christina O’Donovan, Brian Fitzgerald, Tarsila Krüse, and Jennifer Farley –, and each applies a unique style and seasonal palette of colours, there is continuity and visual flow across the seasons. It is a joyful book, full of fun with its clever rhymes and witty turns of phrase. On a deeper level we find a love song to the natural world, evoking respect in a time when nature has never seemed so fragile. It opens with a simple little rhyme, “Síolta Beaga” (Little seeds), and this sets the tone, with gentle philosophy reminding us that the seeds will wake after the snows of winter.