2022 Highlights in video Part 3
2022 Highlights in video Part 2
Our welcome to the new Urkrainian residents in Greystones
2022 Highlights in video Part 1
David O’Doherty’s visit to the shop February 2022
Books of the Year 2022
All five of us at Halfway up the Stairs cast our votes for our favourite books published in 2022. There were two books that were unanimously chosen as our Top Books of the Year and we chose a selection of our top 20 books across all categories that we loved! You can follow the links below to find out more about the books.
Picture Book and Novel of the Year
Be Wild Little One by Olivia Hope, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus – Picture Book of the Year
The Light in Everything by Katya Balen, cover art by Sydney Smith – Novel of the Year
A Dress with Pockets by Lily Murray, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie
Amuigh Faoin Spéir by Sadhbh Devlin, illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald
Be Wild Little One by Olivia Hope, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus – Picture Book of the Year
Fox & Son Tailers by Paddy Donnelly
The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy
Well Done, Mummy Penguin by Chris Haughton
Bumble & Snug and the Excited Unicorn by Mark Bradley
Loki by Louie Stowell
The Shop of Impossible Ice Creams by Shane Hegarty
Frankie’s World by Aoife Dooley
The Chestnut Roaster by Eve McDonnell
The Light in Everything by Katya Balen – Novel of the Year
The Lost Whale by Hannah Gold
The Sackville Street Caper by Alan Nolan
While the Storm Rages by Phil Earle
Teen/ Young Adult
Big Bad Me by Aislinn O’Loughlin
My Heart and Other Breakables by Alex Barclay
Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Truth Be Told by Sue Divin
Reference/ Gift Books
Be Inspired by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Graham Corcoran
Girls Who Slay Monsters by Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald
Some more of our favourites:
Click into the bottom of the image to see more information
A picture of hope and friendship
You can download this picture of hope and friendship (designed by Alan Nolan) to show support for the children of Ukraine and children from all over the world who have been affected by war or had to leave their countries. (Or email us at email@example.com and we will send it to you). You can decorate it with your own pictures and messages. Drop it back to us or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will display them in the window and online.
Our top sellers of 2021
Yet again we have a top 30 to be proud of! We are so happy to have such a strong representation of Irish authors – 19 out of our top 30 books are written by Irish authors/ illustrators, and 7 of our top 10! This is testament to the amazing quality of talent in our shores.
Our topselling category is Picture Books, followed closely by 5-8 (with 4 of the titles being graphic novels!) , 9-12 and Board Books. Next year we’d love to get more Teen and Young Adult books in our topsellers. Some authors make it more than once in our top 30; Julian Gough & Jim Fields are there with three of the Rabbit and Bear books, and Chris Haughton also has three titles! 17 of the books featured were published in 2021.
It is great to see how many books that were featured in our Children’s Books Salon make the top 30, including The Last Bear, Maybe, Rabbit & Bear and The Vanishing Lake.
1. A Hug for You by David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard, tells the story of the virtual hug created by David’s son Adam who stole the heart of the nation on The Late Late Toy Show in 2020. It is a beautifully illustrated reflection of the past two years and the importance of sharing the love. We had a wonderful visit from the King family in November – a fantastic day to remember! This book was also the worthy winner of the Junior Children’s An Post Book of the Year and was also one of the finalists for overall An Post Book of the Year. (Irish, Irish Published, 2021, Picture Book)
2. The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street by Sarah Webb – a wonderful historical novel set in the Dublin tenements in 1911, this is a book about friendship, resilience and circus life with a hint of magic! We have been very lucky to have Sarah work in the shop since August and we held a signing event and an online launch in October (Irish, Irish Published, 2021, 9-12). Sarah’s nursery rhyme board book, Sally Go Round the Stars also makes the list at number 17.
3. Boot by Shane Hegarty: All three books from the Boot series sell incredibly well for us, but as the first in the series, Boot – Small Robot, Big Adventure is a firm favourite of ours to recommend for strong readers aged 7+. Shane visited the shop with his family during the summer and signed lots of copies of all three books. (Irish, 2019, 5-8, #6 last year)
4. Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits by Julian Gough & Jim Field (Irish, 2016, 5-8, #12 last year). The first in the series, the Rabbit & Bear books are so popular with children and their parents! Julian & Jim joined us in the Children’s Book Salon in September. Two more form the series make the list at numbers 22 & 29
5. Up on the Mountain by Peter Donnelly (Irish, Irish Published, 2021, Picture Book). Peter is a great friend of the shop’s, and took part in our Meet the Author event with Sarah Webb in August. He also created two wonderful windows for us – one to celebrate the launch of Up on the Mountain and a beautiful winter’s scene for our Christmas window! The Dead Zoo is also on the list at number 16.
6. Dog Man: Mothering Heights by Dav Pilkey (2021, Graphic Novel, 5-8) Dog Man is such a popular series for us, and the first in series makes the list at number 29. Graphic Novels are really gaining in popularity and we also have two Bunny vs Monkey books in the Top 30.
7. There’s a Ghost in this House by Oliver Jeffers (Irish, 2021, Picture Book). A wonderfully innovative book which make a perfect gift at both Hallowe’en and Christmas. Oliver took part in the WonderFest festival in November, which we were the partner bookshop for. Here We Are also makes the list at number 12.
8. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (2019, Gift Book) Our number 1 selling book in 2020, it remains hugely popular and relevant
9. The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge (2021, Irish, 9-12). One of our favourites, a touching tale with lots of humour and adventure
10. Barbara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen (2021, Picture Book) A classic in the making! The page of bad moods at the end of the book never ceases to amuse!
11. Bird Sounds by Sam Taplin & Federica Iossa (2016?, Board Book)
12. Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers (Irish, 2017?, Picture Book, #5 last year)
13. The Last Bear by Hannah Gold (illustrated by Levi Pinfold) (2021, 9-12)
14. Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton (Irish, 2018?, Board Book)
15. The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell (Our 2021 Book of the Year , 9-12)
16. The Dead Zoo by Peter Donnelly (Irish, Irish Published, 2020, Picture Book#2 last year)
17. Sally Go Round the Stars by Sarah Webb, Claire Ranson & Steve McCarthy (Irish, Irish Published, 2018?, Board Book)
18. Bunny vs Monkey, The Human Invasion by Jamie Smart (2021, Graphic Novel, 5-8)
19. Vi Spy: License to Chill by Maz Evans (2021, 9-12)
20. Mo Chuid Amhráin Ghaeilge by Tatyana Feeney & Risteard MacLiam (Irish, Irish Published, Irish Language, 2020, Board Book)
21. Maybe by Chris Haughton (Irish, 2021, Picture Book)
22. Rabbit & Bear: A Bad King is a Sad Thing by Julian Gough & Jim Fields, Irish, 2021, 5-8)
23. Follow the Track all the Way Back by Timothy Knapman & Ben Mantle (2018?, Picture Book, #4 last year)
24. Bunny vs Monkey by Jamie Smart (2019?, Graphic Novel, 5-8)
25. Mo Chuid Amhráin Ghaeilge 2 by Tatyana Feeney & Risteard MacLiam (Irish, Irish Published, Irish Language, 2021, Board Book)
26. Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton (Irish, 2021, Board Book)
27. Rabbit & Bear: A Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough & Jim Fields, Irish, 2019?, 5-8)
28. The Vanishing Lake by Paddy Donnelly (Irish, 2021, Picture Book)
29. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (2015?, Graphic Novel, 5-8)
30. Elsetime by Eve McDonnell (Irish, 2020, 9-8, #3 last year, last year’s book of the year!)
Our Books of the Year!
There have been so many wonderful books published this year, so it was very difficult to choose our top picks! Please see our blog on our Top Picks here for Christmas to see all our recommendations!
The Halfway up the Stairs Book of the Year is…
The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell. This is an unforgettable tale of friendship, loss, forgiveness & acceptance. We all absolutely loved this book – a unanimous choice for Book of the Year!
Our favourite books this year, in alphabetical order:
Young Teen/ Young Adult
Our top picks for Christmas 2021
Check out some of our top recommendations for Christmas gifts. We also offer gift boxes and subscriptions in our The Gift of Books service. For more information, click here
Baby & Toddler
Some brilliant new board books that were published in 2021:
Usborne have a wonderful range of interactive board books:
Christmas Books for Little Ones:
Animal & Nature Picture Books by Irish authors:
These funny and interactive books are all written by Irish authors:
Some of our favourite funny picture books:
Some heartwarming books. Frindleswylde is a long story so suitable for older children too.
Beautiful Christmas picture books by Irish authors & illustrators:
Reference Books: History & Politics (age 8+)
An extract from Fireborn, by Aisling Fowler
We are delighted to share this extract of Fireborn, a new fantasy novel by Aisling Fowler, published by Harper Collins. It can be ordered here