Eilís Dillon: Books for Young People

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Eilís Dillon wrote over thirty books for young people, published in Ireland, England and America and translated into fourteen languages. They are presented here in three main categories: longer books for adolescents, shorter books for children aged 8 to 12 years old, and books for young children. In each category, you can click on featured titles, find out more, and read some sample pages. In Twentieth Century Children's Writers (edited by D.L. Kirkpatrick, London, Macmillan 1978), Eilís commented: "I began to write at a very early age and so unselfconsciously that. it was almost inevitable that I should begin by writing children's books. I work on them exactly as I do on adult fiction, concentrating on character and background rather than on plot but usually find that a strong story soon develops. Almost all of my books for children have a strong Irish background and have their source in my knowledge of the Irish language."

Eilís Dillon's Books for Young Children

Eilís Dillon's Books for readers aged 8-12

Eilís Dillon's Books for Teenagers

In Written for Children: An Outline of English-Language Children's Literature, 6th Edition (Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 1996), John Rowe Townsend commented (pp. 298-99):

"In Ireland, good writing for children was scanty for most of the [twentieth] century. [...] The dominant name for almost all the half-century up to her death in 1994 was that of Eilís Dillon, born in 1920. Of her numerous books, those I have read are almost all adventure stories with settings on the west coast of Ireland and the islands beyond. In The House on the Shore (1955), Jim O'Malley is caught up in a struggle between his miserly, half-crazy Uncle Martin and the villagers whom he cheated out of their money. The old man has foolishly called in a couple of villainous sailors to help him get away with the loot, and great deeds are done - not least by the village women - before right is triumphant. Pat and Danny in The Island of Horses (1956) sail to an island now deserted by people, but inhabited by a wild herd led by a magnificent stallion. The action centers round a colt which the boys bring back to their own island and the machinations of a thieving horse-dealer. In The Coriander (l963), the islanders of remote and lonely lnishgillan, which has been without a doctor for many years, make a prisoner of one who is cast ashore in a shipwreck: a tall story - but one which the author has the skill and nerve to get away with. These three books and many others were memorably illustrated by Richard Kennedy."

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