Published 14.12.2015
by Kids’ Own

Reflections on The Book Press at The Dock by writer Mary Branley

After a 10-week whirlwind of bookmaking activity, children taking part in the Kids’ Own Book Press at The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon, unveiled the books they created at a special showcase event in December 2015. Writer Mary Branley reflects on this unique after-school programme:  

The Book Press in The Dock came to a cracking end with all our writers and illustrators finishing their books with not a minute to spare.  As parents ascended the stairs for the launch, ink was drying on the last edits, glue was sticking to covers and final pages, illustrations were finding their way to their exact location and the final stitches were being carefully threaded through the masterpieces. It was testimony to efforts put in by every child to really use their time in creativity to the last minute. Then it was launch time. Many of our new published writers were happy to stand tall and give us a flavour of their work, a bit of the story and an illustration.

Book Press - closing event 4Book Press - closing event 7

Book Press - closing event 2










I love working with children over a long period. I prefer letting ideas unfold over weeks. It allows a bit of time for contemplation and reflection. However I was very impressed at just how sure all the children were of their story as it unfolded sentence by sentence, scene by scene.  There was a sense of purpose and pacing as the plots advanced, the characters developed in surprising ways and the endings were measured.  The combination of writing and illustration is so natural for children, each build and inform the other.

Book Press - closing event 3

Book Press - closing event 1








Feedback from our young artists was very positive.  All agreed that it was a fun way to spend Tuesday afternoons, though Caireann thought the next time we run the Book Press it should be twice a week. Abi loved making up the story, and was pleased at how imaginative her story turned out to be. Annebelle also loved the story and making up animal characters that were half this and half that, like her giraffe dog.  James was delighted with his drawings. Masha was surprised at how well her story and illustrations worked together. Lucy was happy with her story and surprised that it was so long.  Libby loved making up her story and putting it altogether in the end. So did Caireann, who enjoyed all of it. Oisin enjoyed drawing and felt it was hard to make up a story.  Kristina was delighted with her story and illustrations.

Book Press - closing event 5Book Press - closing event 8








The Kids’ Own Book Press at The Dock was led by writer Mary Branley and artist Vanya Lambrecht Ward.