What would you do if you could be a child again for one more day . . . ? This is the question that I asked many times this summer and this is the story of how it all began . . .
Last year, myself and several other authors had contributed short stories to an anthology titled All I Want for Christmas with all royalties going to Barnardos, which was published by my own publisher Poolbeg. I really enjoyed the whole experience, especially because as a mother of three young children myself, I was very glad that through our words, myself and the other authors involved, were able to help a charity like Barnardos who work tirelessly to change the outcomes for children in disadvantage every day.
Earlier this year I had the idea for If I Was A Child Again whereby contributors would tell us what they would do if they could be a child again for one more day. I approached Poolbeg and told them what I had in mind. Thankfully they liked it, as did Barnardos. Then came the nerve-wracking bit of transforming what literally started off as an idea in my head into a book and I set about contacting fellow authors, journalists and high profile people in the media to ask them to write a piece about their own childhoods for the book. I will admit that I was worried when I started asking people to get involved that no one would say yes. I fully realise that people are inundated with requests to help worthy causes so I was honoured when one by one the people that I contacted, agreed to get involved. Then I started to panic somewhere around the midway point where I had some yes’s but still not enough to fill a book and I had a few sleepless nights as whether this book would actually happen or not.
I worried at several stages that I was going to have to turn around and tell the contributors who had already agreed to get involved, Poolbeg and worst of all Barnardos, that actually it wasn’t going to happen after all. So the day when we reached our last contributor was a huge milestone. Finally I could breathe a sigh of relief that it was going to happen and If I Was A Child Again was going to become a reality.
When I first had the idea for If I Was A Child Again, I expected to receive lots of warm, fuzzy childhood memories but as the pieces started to come back to me, I soon realised that this book was going to be so much more than that. Some people recall their fondest childhood memories; some are bittersweet, while others provide uplifting words of wisdom for today’s children. Some of the stories in this book will make you laugh but there are also some darker pieces too, which is what makes this book so relevant to the work that Barnardos do. As Fergus Finlay (Barnardos’ Chief Executive) says in his foreword, Barnardos work with ‘children who might not ever wish to revisit their own childhoods’, which is a really heartbreaking thought. So that’s why If I Was A Child Again is such an important book – because there is a real message of hope on its pages and a reminder to us all about what really is important in life.
I am so grateful to each and every contributor who took part in this book, because it would not have happened without them. I am not just saying this because I compiled it – but I really think that together we have made a very special little book and for a very worthy cause as 100% of the royalties raised will be donated to Barnardos.
There are some really beautiful pieces in there, some of which I know were difficult for their authors to write and I really appreciate them sharing them with me. A special mention must go to bestselling author and journalist Niamh O’Connor whose short story ‘The Day Things Changed’ was nominated for the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year Award as part of the Irish Book Awards!
I also have to give a big thank you to Poolbeg for getting behind the idea and for all their work in editing, printing and distributing the book.
I really hope that people will go out and buy If I Was a Child Again (just click here, it’s easy! – Ed) . It would make a great stocking filler or a present for your friend/granny/child’s teacher/your work kris kindle – whoever is on your Christmas list this year, this is a book that everyone will enjoy.
And by buying it, not only are you getting a great read, but you are also helping to change a child’s life for the better.
(c) Caroline Finnerty
If I Was a Child Again is a collection of memories and inspirational words from some of Ireland’s finest writers, journalists and TV personalities as they tell us what they would do if they could be a child again for one more day. Some recall their fondest childhood memories, some are bittersweet, while others provide uplifting words of wisdom for today’s children. This book will make you laugh and cry but, above all, it encapsulates the magic of childhood.
The following are all the fantastic contributors:
Claire Allan • Jennifer Barrett • Shirley Benton • Siobháin Bunni •
Jennifer Burke • Colette Caddle • Janet E Cameron • Anna Carey •
Ann Carroll • Fiona Cassidy • Carol Coffey • Roslyn Dee •
Caroline Finnerty • Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin • Sorcha Furlong •
Ciara Geraghty • Caroline Grace-Cassidy • Niamh Greene •
Carmel Harrington • Andrea Hayes • Emma Heatherington •
Gemma Jackson • Susan Loughnane • Marisa Mackle • Mary Malone •
Miranda Manning • Eugene McEldowney • Siobhán McKenna •
Roisin Meaney • Helen Moorhouse • Sinead Moriarty •
Eugene O’Brien • Jennifer O’Connell • Andrew O’Connor •
Brian O’Connor • Niamh O’Connor • Fintan O’Higgins •
Geraldine O’Neill • Louise Phillips • Margaret Scott • Áine Toner