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Introducing: Clara’s Corner!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to Clara’s Corner. I am so delighted to have been invited by the team in ABC to talk to you every month about one of my biggest passions, children’s literature!

Each month I’m going to review and recommend three gorgeous texts and share some suggestions for extension activities to suit the classroom and some things to try if you’re
reading at home.

Looking forward to sharing lots of great recommendations with you over the coming months.

Happy reading!


Mountain and Cloud : A Story About Facing Your Worries and Finding Friendship

By Jana Curll

9780241598269 (1)

Mountain and Cloud is a beautiful little story about friendship and facing fears and worries head on! Mountain and Cloud are great friends and spend all their time together;
Mountain depends on Cloud and Cloud depends on Mountain. All is fine until the two become separated. Cloud is lost and Mountain is bereft without his special friend!
However, the two persevere and are eventually reunited, proving to each other that they can weather a storm, cope alone and are even capable of making other friends too! An ideal text for junior infants – 2nd class, this simple text is a wonderful entry point for discussions on big feelings, big worries and friendship. Beautifully illustrated, with a poignant plot, this text makes for a warm, meaningful and memorable read.

Things to try at school:
● A lovely text to link in with SPHE and an exploration of big feelings and emotions.
● An ideal text to support a unit of learning on weather systems.
● Cloud sings a gentle song. What do you think that might sound like?
● Mountain made lots of new friends too. Explore the illustrations and discuss who
these friends may have been.

Things to try at home:
● Cloud spotting: Go outdoors, lie down and look up at the sky. What shapes or
figures can you spot in the clouds?
● Dinnertime discussion: Things that make us feel worried.

All The Wonderful Ways to Read

By Laura Baker & Sandra De La Prada

9781801044165 (1)

All the Wonderful Ways to Read is a gorgeous, rhyming text, celebrating the joy and power of reading for pleasure. The tone is light and playful and is perfectly suited to stages 1 & 2 of primary school (Infants – 2nd class). The text is crafted with plenty of questions to keep young readers (and listeners) engaged and thinking. This book is a simple but ‘wonderful’ celebration of the magic of reading – a great text to demonstrate that reading is more than just something to associate with hard work; it reminds young readers that reading can take us anywhere and can happen in any place, anytime. Beautifully illustrated, a simple text with an alluring flow; this has gone straight into my ‘go-to’ shelf!

Things to try at school:

● Discuss how, where and what you like to read.

● Reflect on your favourite type of text to read.

● Revisit the illustrations – how many different animals can you find?

● Explore the interesting verbs used across the text.

● Examine the class library. Discuss and plan in groups for how this could be made into a more welcoming or inviting space for readers.

● Create a display with the titles or covers of all the texts everyone in the classenjoys the most.

● Caught reading: Create a school display with pictures of the staff reading their favourite books in interesting places.

Things to try at home:

● Find a space in your house to create a cosy reading space or book nook.

● Dinnertime discussion: If you could write a book what would it be about?

Turtle Rescue

By Jonny Marx & Xuan Le


This is one of the nicest picturebooks I’ve read in a while – and that’s saying something! Turtle Rescue tells an adventurous tale of Flora (a marine biologist), Fauna (an inventor with a fear of water), and Baby Bud (who loves jellyfish). All three are initially planning to have a well-deserved holiday, but before long their plans are scuppered and they have to charter a boat in order to put their skills to good use and track down some missing turtles. The narrative itself is brimming with rich, sophisticated vocabulary creating a story worth revisiting again and again. This is an age and stage cross-over text which would appeal to readers of all ages.

There are so many hidden joys to this text! Although this is mainly a fiction text, there are pockets of information about sea life nestled amongst the pages, enabling an interactive and engaging reading experience for all. While the reader follows the adventure of Flora, Fauna and Baby Bud, a wealth of knowledge and information about turtles and sea life is unpacked in tandem with the plot. Xuan Le’s illustrations are truly incredible and offer an absolute feast for inquisitive eyes; from birds-eye views to detailed side-profiles, the illustrator succeeds in creating a sense that you, the reader, is part of the adventure too. There are fold-out pages and flaps to unfold making for a wonderful text for an independent or shared reading experience.

A beautiful story of adventure with an important underlying message of environmental protection boldly highlighting our collective role in working together to protect the natural world.

Things to try at school:

● An ideal text to incorporate into a sea theme or as a nice addition to a unit of work on turtles.

● Explore the key vocabulary and record new terms or phrases.

● Use illustrations to try visual perception tasks or ‘seek and find’ games.

● Learn about herpetologists and cheloniologists.

● Learn about Archie Carr, the ‘father’ of sea turtle research and conservation.

● Sketch and paint sea turtles using watercolours and practise the creation and use tones (explore shades of browns & green).

● Plan a campaign to reduce litter and pollution on local beaches.

● Record all the things you know about turtles and decide what you would like to learn more about.

● Reflect on the variety of languages within the classroom; explore the word ‘turtle’ in each of the languages.

● Read, recite and explore the poem ‘Tiny Todd the Turtle’ by Kenn Nesbitt.

● Design and build a boat using recycled materials. The boat should float and be able to hold three toy people.

Things to try at home:

● Dinnertime discussion: Discuss the types of litter that may be harmful to sea life in Ireland.

● Create or build a turtle using recycled materials from around the home.

About Clara:

Clara Fiorentini is a former primary school teacher, now lecturing in initial teacher education at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin where she specialises in literacy education and children’s literature. Clara provides CPD for teachers and early childhood educators in the areas of literacy, children’s literature, playful learning and school transitions. Clara is completing her PhD research on preschool literacy practices at Trinity College Dublin and is the current President of the Literacy Association of Ireland (2024). Clara is a huge advocate for children’s literature and the use of the read-aloud in school and the home.

You can connect with Clara via Instagram, X or via her website.
For contact and enquiries, please email: [email protected]