My name is Emma Larkin, and I am the founder of “Emma Larkin Books”.
Emma Larkin Books publishes and sells unique Irish sporting themed children’s books, the “Izzy’s Magical Adventures in Sport” series.
There are three Izzy books in the series, “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, “Izzy’s Magical Camogie Adventure” and “Izzy’s Magical Christmas Adventure” which are written by myself, Emma Larkin and illustrated by Paul Nugent.
A fourth Izzy book, “Izzy’s Magical Soccer Adventure” is on the way in Autumn 2022.
We also sell a range of Izzy merchandise in gorgeous Izzy gift boxes, including Izzy branded notebooks, pens, training tops and additionally we sell sliotars from Cúl Sliotars and football gloves from Field Queens. The Izzy books are printed in Ireland and all the merchandise is sourced from Irish businesses, such as Cúl Sliotars, Field Queens, KPS Colour Print and The Brand Geeks.
We have a range of gift box options to suit all price points.
In addition, Emma Larkin Books sells a sporting themed chapter fiction book for children. “Twin Power: Throw In”, which is also written by myself.
This came about as the Izzy books brought me to the attention of O’Brien Press. I was approached by them and signed with O’Brien Press, who are one of Ireland leading publishers in 2021.
This was a dream come true! O’Brien Press asked me to write a sporting themed chapter fiction book for children. “Twin Power: Throw In” was published on March 21st, 2022. It is aimed at an older age group than the Izzy books. Twin Power is for ages 9 plus, whereas the Izzy books are perfect for ages 6-8 or could be read to a younger child.
I was inspired to write my Izzy books while looking for a book for my daughter, who loves Gaelic Football, back in 2019, when she was 7. I quickly realised that there were very few books available with girls in a lead sporting role. I had a classic light bulb moment as I realised that I could create a book, with a girl in a lead role, playing Gaelic Football, but also feature in it, a tribute to my grandmother, Maureen Cashman, and her Cork Camogie teammates. My grandmother won three All Ireland medals playing camogie for Cork, and had her medals made into a bracelet. This “magical” bracelet is a key plot feature in the Izzy books!
After I published “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, I was hooked. I loved writing, I loved marketing the book, I loved everything that went with it. So, I started to build a business around it.
I am originally from Cork, but have been happily living in Kerry since 2006. I live in North Kerry with my husband, four children and two dogs.
In my spare time, I love to run. I am involved in my local parkrun in Listowel. I also coach the Finuge/St. Senans ladies football club U12 girls and help with coaching the St Senans U9 boys. I did attempt to play ladies football for a few years with my local “Gaelic4Mothers&Others Team”! I may not have been the greatest football player, but I could run! And it was an hour each week where I could exercise in a fun environment with a fantastic group of women, who I remain friends with to this day.
My inspiration to write my Izzy books initially was my grandmother, Maureen Hennebry, née Cashman. She was on the Cork camogie team which won the All-Ireland Camogie Championship three times in row between 1939 and 1941. She came from a family rich in GAA history, the Cashman’s of Blackrock in Cork, and is even mentioned in the following poem by the famous Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh:
Patrick Kavanagh, 1905 – 1967
“Bright shone the sunlight on Peggy and Doreen
Wild swung the ash sticks. Be careful astoreen;
Josie is getting into her stride now,
Kathleen is hurling with all her Cork pride now.
A shout from the side-line: Mark your man, Kathleen Cody.
Kathleen pucks it. I tell you that puck was a dotie.
The game is exciting, it is indeed really,
Maureen Cashman is tackling the bold Ide O’Kiely …“
In hindsight, I am in awe of the fact that my grandmother and her teammates played camogie at such a high level at a time in Ireland, where a woman’s role was predominantly to be a wife and homemaker. Which comes to my reason for writing this book, my grandmother was my inspiration to write it, but my reason for writing it was to encourage all young girls to play sports. It is crucial for our wellbeing and development and we need to make it as normal for girls to play sport as it is for boys. The growing popularity of women’s sports in Ireland and further afield is so encouraging and we need to continue to develop this. As the 20*20 campaign phrase said, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”.
I hope that my book can in some way help to normalise girls playing football and that both boys and girls will enjoy reading about Izzy’s adventures and about Aoife and Aidan and their friends in Twin Power!