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Boot Shane Hegarty is 2020 Citywide Reading Choice

We are delighted to announce Boot by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle, as the 2020 Citywide Reading for Children choice. This fun story about a robot who wakes up in a rubbish dump with only two-and-a-half memories, is suitable for boys and girls aged 7-10 years.

The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with Hachette Childrens Books, and runs from January to March 2020. The aim of the initiative is to encourage children to read for pleasure.

“I am thrilled and honoured that Boot has been chosen as the 2020 Citywide Read. Growing up a Dubliner, my local libraries fed my imagination from a very early age, sending me on adventures in space and time every time I walked through their doors. As a writer I see the magic readers still find in libraries. I’m really looking forward to inventing exotic robots, telling tall tales and sharing the adventure with today’s young Dubliners.” says Shane Hegarty.

There will be author visits to many Dublin City Libraries branches as well as city-centre based events to promote the campaign.

Multiple copies of the book will be available in all Dublin City Libraries as well as in all good bookshops.  Children can borrow the book in any library across the country. The project is funded by Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The Book

Boot follows the adventure of a robot who wakes up in a rubbish tip and, with only two-and-a-half memories and a gang of new robot friends, sets off to find its owner. It was recently shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award in the UK and the second book in the series will be published in February 2020.

The Author

Shane Hegarty was born and raised in Skerries, Dublin, where he still lives. His bestselling Darkmouth series, about a reluctant monster hunter and the strange town he lives in, has been translated into over a dozen languages and a major animated film is in the works. 

The Illustrator

Ben Mantle has been working as a Children’s Book Illustrator since 2008 from his shared studio in Brighton. He illustrated ‘Callum’s Incredible Construction Kit’ which won the Bishop’s Stortford Picture Book prize 2013.

Teachers Guide and Activities

Boot Teacher Notes

Boot Activity Booklet


Key Events 

  • Author visits to Dublin City Library branches between January and March. Class visits booked locally at branch libraries.
  • Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane, Charlemont House, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1. Thursday 20th February, 11am-12.15pm Robot-themed illustration workshop with Frances Coghlan along with reading and chat with author Shane Hegarty. Suitable for 5-10 year olds. Parents stay with their children for this workshop. Free, no booking required although numbers may be limited.
  • The National Library of Ireland, Kildare St, Dublin 2. Monday 24th February at 12pm Author visit with Shane Hegarty. Suitable for up to two classes (2nd or 3rd)  Contact Bríd O’Sullivan
  • World Book Day event with author Shane Hegarty and illustrator Ben Mantle Thursday 5th March, 10.30am, Liberty Hall Dublin. Free. 400 children will have the chance to see how Boot was created with storytelling, readings and illustration. To book a class in for this event contact
  • St Patrick’s Festival Monday March 16th between 12 and 3pm Final event of the campaign in Festival Village, Merrion Square. Dublin City Libraries Citywide Read will take over the Festival Village Big Top where author Shane Hegarty will deliver a series of readings from Boot in the unique surrounds of a circus marquee. Shane will be joined by artist Jane Groves who will curate a robot-making laboratory encouraging children and families to put their inventor skills to the test.  Families will also have an opportunity to recreate the world and characters of Boot with the help of local Irish Illustrators. Learn to communicate with robots by creating your own robot language using nanotron synthesiser in the Robot Sounds Studio created by Dabbledoo Music, who will create a robot themed interactive play resource.



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