Set in the competitive world of Irish dancing, Siobhán Parkinson's latest book will delight girls from aged 10 upwards.

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160 pages
196x130 mm

Also available as an Electronic Book (ePub)


When Kate goes to her very first Irish dancing lesson she is smitten: It's like flying, she decides. It’s the best thing she's ever done. But, coming from a poor family in Dublin's Liberties in the 1930s, how can Kate continue with her dancing? How could she ever manage to buy a fancy dancing costume?

Still, Kate has her dreams – and sometimes dreams come true, even if not in the way we imagine!


Having grown up in Galway and Donegal, Siobhán Parkinson has lived most of her adult life in her native Dublin. She studied English literature and German at Trinity, and went on to take her doctorate in English literature. She has worked for many years as an editor, a profession that very closely resembles that of writing. She concentrates more on her writing these days, but is also a very active member of the writers-in-schools scheme, and she gives workshops in creative writing and talks on her work in all sorts of situations. She has held various writing residencies and has been editor of, Inis -- The Children's Books Ireland Magazine, and Bookbird, the IbBy International magazine. Her books have won numerous awards and been translated into lots of languages, her favourites being Latvian, because it is so different, and Japanese, because it is back to front. Her husband, Roger Bennett, is a woodturner and teacher, and her son Matthew is almost grown up. Being her son didn't do him too much harm, he claims, but time will tell. Her book Sisters ... no way! won the Bisto Book of the Year award. Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (maybe) won a Bisto Merit Award. Siobhán's next book, The Moon King, also won a Bisto Merit Award and was on the iBbY Honour List 2000, in Ireland's first year as a member of iBbY. Siobhán was Ireland's first Laureate na nÓg (Children's Laureate) from 2010-2012.

'The easy flow of the narrative and clever banter sweep readers into this story.'

Horn Book Magazine

'This is an authentic, engaging story....with a very definite sense of time and place.'

Inis Magazine

'A warm and earthy tale of ambition in the face of poverty'

The Irish Examiner
Irish Examiner

'I highly recommend Kate . . . the charming and evocative tale of a girl who loves Irish Dancing'

Irish Independent
Sarah Webb - Irish Independent

'A lovely book to share with grandparents who will find much to discuss about life in an era when choices for women were extremely limited.'


Engaging from the very beginning, with plenty of light-heated banter, home-spun philosophies, and phrases that many young readers will recognise from older generations of their own families. All the characters are precisely realised, and no matter how small their part, are wholly believable. Kate is an uplifting and enjoyable read for girls between 9 and 11, no matter their interest or not in dancing.

Books Ireland
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Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the novel by Peter Heaney

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the novel by Peter Heaney

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