“Firsts for Irish Women” by Olive Collins, “Martin Luther King Jr.” by Andrew O’Connor and “Pope Francis” by Brian Doyle are all books which are part of Poolbeg’s “In a Nutshell” series.

The first of these books depicts the lives of six Irish women from 1818 onwards until the present day who, according to the book, “broke the barriers and became the first in their field in Ireland”. The lives of Catherine Hayes, Eleanora Fleury, Lilian Bland, Eileen Kennedy, Mary Robinson and Brenda Fricker are included in the book.

With the exception of Catherine Hayes, Ireland’s first female opera singer, all these women were born into well to do families. This book would be of use for International Women’s Day to highlight women who have played a noteworthy role in Irish society over the years.

The second of these books about Martin Luther King provides a comprehensive overview of his life, his pivotal role in the civil rights movement and his involvement with Rosa Parks. It introduces students to the reality of life for African Americans where segregation and racial discrimination were the norm.

The third book on Pope Francis is a timely publication given the Pope’s planned visit to Dublin in August 2018 for the World Meeting of Families. It is a child friendly biography which charts his life and provides some insight into the type of individual he is. For example, it was news to me that he spent three months in Milltown, Co. Dublin learning English.

All three books provide a glossary of terms, a timeline and also a list of lower and higher order questions to prompt both discussion and analysis. The books are suitable for fifth and sixth class.

By Sandra Doody

All three of these books, published by Poolbeg Press, are now available to purchase for €4.99 each

Disclaimer: These books were provided by the publisher, Poolbeg Pressfree of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review