Author-illustrator Ciara Gavin

Happy Friday! Are you planning what you're going to read over winter break? Yes. Have you read Room for Bear? Yes. Did it make you laugh and smile? Yes. Me, too! Did you know Bear's second book comes out on January 12. Really? I didn't know that. Yes, it is called Bear Is Not Tired. Ciara Gavin dropped by to tell us all about it. I wrote the words in orange, and she wrote the words in black. Excellent. I cannot wait to read it. Thank you for dropping by! Happy reading! 

Bear doesn’t want to be alone anymore. He has found where he belongs, smack bam in the middle of his duck family.

The duck family are not complete without Bear. Their love for one another is unconditional. They may not look the same, they may have different needs but they are willing to over-come any obstacle to be together.

I created the illustrations for Room for Bear and Bear Is Not Tired after a lot of experimenting. I didn’t always know how Bear would look. I could see him in my head but it was a lot of work to get the Bear in my imagination onto the paper.

I drew over a hundred pictures of him using everything from collage to oil pastels but I couldn’t find my Bear. Finally, I decided to make a 3D model of Bear, I am a ceramic artist first so this way of working made most sense to me. After I had made my Bear model, I found I could draw him more easily. When I used watercolor, he came alive. I could almost see him get up and walk across the page, his slow, heavy footfall and the gentle sway of his fur. Then I knew I had found my Bear.
From Room for Bear
The next time you visit Ireland bring boots that keep out the rain. Once you have that sorted you should go to the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin. It is very reminiscent of Hogwarts and has all the wonderful smells of old books. You feel as though you have stepped back in time. It’s one of those places that makes you look around in wonderment.  A room that makes you tingle.

From Room for Bear
When I’m tired I am no good to anybody. Sleep is one of my all time favorite things and one of life’s true pleasures. Waking up on a dark, cold Winter’s morning is one of my least favorite things. I could quite happily hibernate with stocks of oat and orange cookies and flasks of strong milky tea under my bed. Wake me up in Spring.

Picture books are my true passion and obsession. I began to explore the children’s section of our local library when my son was very little. I got my library card and every time I went I would take out the maximum books allowed on loan and a few more if they would let me.

We read at least six books every night before bed and it became our favorite time of day. Together we snuggled up and prepared to dive into the worlds that these books would take us to. There is a real intimacy in reading. We are involved in the stories. Some books would stay with us and repeat in our minds and my son would quote a line or he’d point to something in real life that reminded him of a drawing or illustration and just like that we became a part of the books.

Books are culture. We share the world through books. We pour over beautiful art from artists all over the world. We become the characters, we go on the journey with them. We have words from some of the most accomplished wordsmiths in the world humming in our ears long after the book is finished. We are Stuck in Floyd’s tree*, we are in the puddles with Alfie*, we are on the Endurance with Shakelton* and we are going on a Bear Hunt*. Magical, wonderful and inspirational.

Illustration credit: Ciara Gavin 
Reading is powerful. At the very most a book can change your life and at the very least it can change your mind. Reading to children is essential. How many of life’s obstacles have we been able to navigate within the safety of a book? Reading allows us to play-out different scenarios through the characters, to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves. We practice for the times when we will face difficult situations.  A chance to be the one who is left out and chance to be the one who saves the day.

This is more so important for children who are just discovering how life works. A book can reflect real life issues and offer encouragement or even a resolution. 

Room for Bear shows us how a blended family can work no matter the obstacles. Bear is Not Tired shows us that gone is not forgotten. There are children in the world that need to hear those messages. Through reading, my books can reach the children that I cannot personally deliver that message to.

It is my honor and privilege to write for children. I hope I can make them laugh and feel good about themselves.

Illustration credit: Ciara Gavin
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what is my favorite picture of Bear. It is one of the images from Bear Is Not Tired. Bear and Mama duck are sitting on chairs facing each other, Bear is feeling oh so tired and oh so worried about trying to stay awake and Mama duck is holding his giant bear paw and telling him, it’s ok big one, its time to sleep.
The other thing you should have asked me is what are Bear’s top three favorite things:
1.     Jam.
2.     Disco dancing when no one is looking.
3.     Quacking.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to chat about Bear!

*Alfie’s Weather by Shirley Hughes
*Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
*Shakelton's Journey by William Grill

Thank you, Ciara! 

Borrow Room for Bear and Bear Is Not Tired from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


  1. Congratulations Ciara .Bought this book today for my Granddaughter's they will love the pictures.Well Done.


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