All posts by gracej

Grace Jolliffe is a Galway based writer. Her stories are widely published and she has also written for film, television and radio. Grace loves gardening, nature and being outdoors and loses no opportunity to share this passion in her work. She hopes that her stories will inspire children to explore the natural world around them and that they will come to enjoy nature as much as she does.


Iwoman and dog enjoy writing for both adults and children but I must admit there is a wonderful sense of freedom in writing for children. That freedom comes from making things up – something I have enjoyed doing since I was a child myself.

A few years ago I was a regular writer on Ireland’s RTE 1 FICTION FIFTEEN series. I wrote over twenty short stories for children and each one was narrated by an actor, recorded, and broadcast on Sunday evenings.


The subject of each of the stories had to be different and with every story I tried to explore a new theme, answer a new question or introduce a new subject. Each week brought new characters as well, so my imagination was constantly working and searching for new ideas.


I have often been asked if it is possible to buy these stories and I had to admit that up kids-reading-bookuntil now it wasn’t possible, as they were only available as audio recordings and of course in my own word documents without images or covers. I am pleased to say that this has now changed and I have been working on adapting these stories for publication. I am really happy to announce that some of them are now available as Amazon Kindle books.

I am continuing to adapt these stories and hope to have more available for publication very soon. Click here for more about me.



Happy Christmas

I would like to thank everyone who visited this site and bought books throughout the year.  I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas and that all your dreams come true in the New Year.

christmas stories. Image of santa

For those of you who have been waiting patiently for Father Christmas – a little bird told me he was on his way, so watch out…

christmas stories.


For a brand new Christmas story from Ballyyahoo click here, or on the Christmas stockings below.



Christmas In Ballyyahoo


Ballyyahoo is Ireland’s best-kept secret. A town so tiny, and so magical that only the people who live there, know exactly where it is.

Christmas in Ballyyahoo, Image of ballyyhoo

Christmas in Ballyyahoo is always special but this year it was set to be the best one ever. At least it was, until a very strange Santa and an even stranger Rudolph turned up on Christmas Eve and stole all the presents away!


It’s up to two boys, Kevin and Gerry, to save Christmas. The boys set off on their bikes, desperately seeking Santa, but when they get lost in the woods near the terrible town of Ballyuseless, Kevin and Gerry begin to wish they’d stayed at home.

Things get worse when they catch up with Santa and Rudolph and find out that they are real villains, the kind of villains that make ordinary villains seem nice. The two baddies have absolutely no intention of doing anything good, never mind returning the presents they stole from Ballyyahoo.

Christmas in Ballyyahoo. Image of santa-and-rudolph in BALLYYAHOO-


Soon disaster strikes and the two boys find themselves locked in a box, on a boat, in the middle of the Irish Sea. There’s only one person that can help them and that’s the wonderful Witch of Ballyyahoo, but can she come? Or is she too busy having fun? And will she find and rescue Kevin and Gerry before the wicked Santa and even wickeder Rudolph carry out their dastardly plan?

There are more original stories for children here.

KINDLE BOOKS 9-12 years old


kindle-books-for-9-12-years-olds. Image of a ladybird


A warm story about families, freedom and fun!

‘Free As A Ladybird’ is about Natasha, a girl who is torn between a Granny who runs away to become a travelling bodhran player and jellyfish collector, and her Mother who wants Granny to stay home and act like a proper Granny.  It isn’t easy for kids when they’re stuck in between two adults fighting, especially when both sides might just be right and might just be wrong.

kindle-books-for-9-12-years-olds. Image of  a tree


A true to life story about bullying.

Bullying is bad enough but what about those who watch and do nothing?

In ‘The Tree Hugger,’ Debbie wants to keep in with the cool crowd in school. But, she has to decide whether to risk getting bullied by sticking up for new girl, Shalmalah, the most uncool girl she’s ever met, or to leave her to the mercy of cool-school bullies.

kindle-books-for-9-12-years-olds. Image of a football


A story about love, loss and football!

For this family football isn’t just about the game – it’s their excuse for getting together, playing together, having fun together and even just being together!

‘Football Crazy’ is a funny story tinged with sadness about football fanatic, Jimmy, whose football loving family stop playing football and going to matches when something terrible happens to Grandad. It’s up to Jimmy to get the family back in the game again.

kindle-books-for-9-12-years-olds. Image of a football


A funny contemporary story about a family that forgets to make time – to be a family.

‘Football Mad’ is about Shane, who lives for football and desperately wants to get a place on the football team. However, his coach thinks a one-legged-nun would make a better footballer than him, so Shane needs his parents help but they just want to read books, so Shane is forced to take desperate measures. Will Shane Cooney be the next Wayne Rooney?

If you would like to see all my books you can visit my author page here. 

Enjoy your reading.








From the Another Little Book From Ballyyahoo series

For families who love to read!

kindle books


The real Halloween is a ghostly, Halloween story for kids, set in the tiny

town of Ballyyahoo in Ireland.

Sean thinks he’s not afraid of anything, not even ghosts, or ghouls at Halloween! In fact Sean loves ghost stories and horror stories so much that the reads them by torch-light in bed.

Then one Halloween night his mother catches him and takes away his favourite horror story book. Sean runs away to his Grandad’s house. He’s not afraid, even though it’s dark, and even though there is’t a single street lights in the tiny town of Ballyyahoo.

But then Sean’s Grandad tells him a story he’s never heard before, the story of the real Halloween, a true story, and the scariest story Sean has ever heard and what’s more Sean’s Grandad swears the story is true!


The Witch Of Ballyyahoo is a funny story about two bored boys, one bored policeman, one bored donkey, one dangerous mad-man and one very busy witch.

Since there’s not a lot else to do, most Ballyyahooians love to make up stories. That means there are always lot of juicy rumours and scandals going around. But when Gerry hears the rumour of the Witch of Ballyyahoo, he starts to wonder. Could it really be just a rumour? Or could the rumour be true?

Most Ballyyahooinans say that you shouldn’t spoil a good rumour with the truth, but Gerry begins to see some strange goings on in the quiet lanes of Ballyyahoo, and soon he learns that a crime is going to happen.

It is not the type of crime that usually happens in Ballyyahoo – nothing to do with donkeys, lights, or hazelnuts. No, it’s a terrifying crime that starts with a big knife, a big burglar, and that might just end in murder. Gerry desperately tries to stop this crime from happening, but he realizes he’s all alone. If anyone ever needed a witch in Ballyyahoo, it was now. But is there really any truth in the rumour of The Witch Of Ballyyahoo?


Especially for kids everywhere who are bored being bored.

Gerry Mac lives in the tiny village of Ballyyahoo in the west of Ireland. He’s very lucky that he loves swinging on a gate because he can’t find anything else to do. He is so bored; he’s bored with being bored.

Gerry Mac doesn’t like it when grown ups get ideas because they usually involve him getting off the gate and doing some work, so when his mother gets the idea to make him do a hard day’s digging in old Paddy Plant’s garden it’s no wonder Gerry wants to run away.


Take one computer, add one bored boy and you’ve got mischief, chaos and lots of fun in the tiny town of Ballyyahoo


‘Bonkers In Ballyyahoo’ is a fun story that introduces Gerry Mac and his cousin, Kevin, two boys who live in the tiny Irish town of Ballyyahoo.

Ballyyahoo is a great place to live, but some kids like Gerry and Kevin, get bored with dangerous donkeys, mad cows and secret beaches and they look for more mischievous things to do.

When Kevin gets a computer he is supposed to be learning how to improve his school work but Kevin’s more interested in learning how to create chaos and before long he’s spreading madness and mayhem around the town and everyone’s gone bonkers in Ballyyahoo.






childrens lettersCHILDREN’S LETTERS 

Children’s letters are a real bonus to a writer. You see, writing stories is something you usually do when you are alone. It can be hard to write in a room full of people, especially noisy ones who want to talk to you, so most writers prefer to be on their own to write.

Children who want to be writers when they grow up needn’t worry though, because when you are writing you don’t feel as though you are own.

In fact, you never feel lonely when you are writing. You have all the people you create with you when you write, and you can create as many people as you want.

Your creations don’t have to be people either! They can be animals, aliens, or even a few monsters and ghosts, if you like. You can make them as scary as you want as well. The great thing about that is, that you won’t be scared yourself, because you’ll know they’re only made up – by you.The most important thing is that you write a story that you enjoy writing.

Writing stories at home is not like writing in school because there is no teacher around. You can write whatever you want and you can write whenever you have free time to do it. That’s one of the reasons I loved writing when I was little. One of the other reasons was that I really love making things up and I still do now.

Another one of the things I love about writing is getting letters from children who have read my stories, especially if they liked them.

Recently, I have been really lucky because some young readers have written me letters after they read my new stories. I have so enjoyed reading these letters that I decided to publish them here.  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I get lots more letters.



childrens letters. Image of kids





Ladybirds - Image of a ladybird on a leaf

I am often asked why ladybirds feature in my stories.  Not just in ‘Free As A Ladybird’ I have also had them fluttering around some of my other stories as well. I even made a Ladybird image in a stained glass workshop I attended recently which you can see below:

ladybirds Image of a ladybird in stained glass
Ladybird in Stained Glass

The simple answer is that I just love ladybirds and I always have. I love their bright beauty and I love they way they can suddenly open their backs and rise up into their air like little red helicopters.

Ladybirds - Image of a ladybird on a leaf

It doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world, or in my life, the first sight of a ladybird in summer always gives me a feeling of joy.

Ladybirds - Image of a ladybird on a leaf

I very much enjoy gardening so I am always happy to see Ladybirds around my plants. Here’s one just arrived to help out in my vegetable garden.

ladybird. Image of ladybird on a stick
Ladybird climbing a stick

You see Ladybirds don’t just look pretty; they do important jobs in the garden. They eat aphids and other tiny creatures that would otherwise be feasting on our plants.

Ladybirds are known as Ladybugs in the US but they have another name – Coccinellidea. They come from the small beetle family and can be red, yellow, or orange, although there can be other colours too. There is more information here on Wikipedia.

Ladybirds - Image of a ladybird on a leaf

Here in Ireland we mostly see the red variety like the ones on this biodiversity website.

I hope you like Ladybirds/Ladybugs as much as I do! If you do you can find out about my story Free As A Ladybird,’ here.

If you like arts and crafts you might enjoy learning how to turn a stone into a Ladybird.

Ladybirds - Image of a ladybird on a leaf



Football Crazy is about a young boy who is literally football crazy and so is his whole family. They do lots of football things together like playing football, watching football, going to football matches and if they’ve had a really good week they even have football cake.

They are all crazy about their Grandad as well. He’s as football crazy as they are and they all love him to bits. He’s a funny Grandad and he’s got a great big grin, lovely bushy eyebrows and floppy ears. He makes huge sandwiches as well. The whole family is really happy until day something terrible happens.

I can’t tell you anymore without spoiling the story if you haven’t read it but this is what a very young reader called Joe thinks.

 Letter from Joe, aged 6, from England

In Joe’s words…

‘How funny nanny the lady( what’s her name again) oh yeh that’s right Gwace ha how funny she is-I love her stories can we go to Ballyyahoo after tea. That Grandad was funny wasn’t he and he said a swear word twice-should that be in the book. Sometimes it was sad and sometimes happy. Ma was funny nan you do that don’t you! I think it’s nice they all watch the football together and Ma bakes for them. If the little boy hasn’t if kicked the ball over near the Da he wouldn’t be watching football again.’

(In case you are wondering Joe’s Nana, June, read the story aloud to Joe and since she’s a great Nana she also helped him write his letter down but all the words are his.)


Dear Joe,

Wow thanks, Joe, I am delighted you liked Football Crazy and that it made you laugh. Your Nana is a brilliant Nana for reading you stories. I bet she can put on good voices as well. Sorry you couldn’t come to Ballyyahoo after tea – it might have been a bit too far for your Nana to take you – right across the sea and around lots of islands, rocky bays and then there’s the mountains and hills to cross and if that’s not hard enough, someone stole the sign for Ballyyahoo as well! So now I can’t even find it myself.

Never mind, I am really glad you like the stories from Ballyyahoo. Lucy is kept busy writing them and I am sure there’ll be more stories and pictures from Ballyyahoo quite soon.

Love Grace x

P.S. Hi Joe, here’s some special donkeys from Ballyyahoo –  just for you.

kids stories, three special donkeys from Ballyyahoo

Click here for more children’s stories.


It’s always great to hear from younger readers, particularly if I have written a story about kids with problems and a young reader takes the time to write and tell me what they would do if the same thing that happened in the story  – happened to them.  The letter below came from a young girl who read, ‘The Tree Hugger.’

In ‘The Tree Hugger,’ a new girl called Shalmalah, arrives in Debbie’s school. Shalmalah is different from the other girls. She doesn’t even try or care about fitting in.  She seems to like being different. She wears the wrong clothes, eats the wrong food and even says the wrong thing in class. In fact everything about her is ‘uncool’ and soon the class bullies begin a nasty campaign against her – pushing her over, calling her dirty and starting rumours that she’s got hair lice.

kids stories, The Tree Hugger by Grace Jolliffe. Shalmalah gets eggs thrown at her.Most people in the class, including Debbie, are afraid of standing up to the bullies in case the bully’s turn on them as well but Debbie begins to feel guilty seeing Shalmalah left out and picked on is horrible to watch.

Even though she feels bad, she still decides not to do anything to help Shalmalah because she is too afraid of being bullied herself.

But she is forced to think again when she goes home and finds that her mother and Shalmalah’s mother have become friends.

Debbie is forced to make a choice – she can either do the right thing, risk being bullied but get rid of the guilty feeling and feel really good, or she can do nothing and end up still feeling guilty, and never being able to stand up for herself.

I won’t spoil the story by saying any more if you haven’t read it, but I will say how great it was to get the following letter from a very young and special reader called Izzy who told me how she would react if the same thing happened in her school.


Hi Grace,

I think Shal was a very different person but if she was in my world i would help her straight away . leonie and susan are very mean and will probably have no friends left. Pauline just told lots of lies she was funny. I like Debbie because she felt guilty at the end and realised you should always be your self and not follow the in crowd. 
I really enjoy your stories and i am looking forward to my nanny reading me the next oneThankyou

love Izzy x


Dear Izzy

Thank you for this lovely letter. I am so glad to hear that your Nanny read you this story and that you enjoyed it.  I was really happy to know that you would have helped Shalmalah. You are right about being yourself and not following the crowd. If everyone did that there sure would be a lot less bullying in the world.

I heard you made your communion and confirmation recently and that you had a lovely day. I wish you all the best and I hope your Nanny keeps reading you my stories and that you enjoy them.

Love Grace x





little girl reading a bookStories for children can serve two purposes. First, they can entertain by telling a good story, one with great characters and a plot that keeps you interested, wondering and guessing just how the story will end.

Secondly, stories can do all the above but they can also help children with problems by raising topics for discussion and learning. I wrote ‘The Tree Hugger ‘ with both these purposes foremost in my mind.

Personally speaking, having been bullied in the past myself, I have always wanted to write stories that just might help prevent bullying, or help a child or parent cope with the effects of bullying.

‘The Tree Hugger’ was initially broadcast as part of a children’s radio show called Fiction Fifteen on RTE, national radio here in Ireland. It had a great response and as a result ‘The Tree Hugger’ was broadcast twice. Parents who have read the story with their children have told me they found it a great way to open up a difficult subject for discussion.

Stories for children often engage with the theme of bullying but this story also looks at the difficult choices and moral dilemma thrust upon children who witness bullying. Seeing bullying going on and being powerless to prevent it happening can have adverse affects on our self-confidence.

As a writer and a mother I also feel it is important to develop strong, bright female characters. Females who are not afraid to choose how they look or how they behave. The following synopsis provides parents with insight into the characters and story themes explored in the story.


Everyone’s scared of Susan and Leonie because they’re the school bullies. They decide who is ‘in’ and who’s ‘out.’ Debbie is just as scared of the bullies as everyone else because Debbie’s ‘in’ and Debbie wants to stay ‘in.

New girl, Shalmalah is definitely ‘out. ’ She doesn’t do her hair right or wear the right clothes. Another thing that makes Shalmalah different is that she doesn’t care what the bullies think and doesn’t see why she should change to suit them.

Susan and Leonie want to make her care and they do their best to make Shalmalah’s life hell. They pick on her all the time, spread nasty rumours about her and stop the other girls speaking to her. Soon Shalmalah is isolated and alone.

Debbie feels sorry for Shalmalah but she also thinks that if Shalmalah tried harder to be the same as everyone else Susan and Leonie would leave her alone. Shalmalah doesn’t want to be like everybody else – she wants to be herself.

Debbie doesn’t like seeing Shalmalah getting bullied but she knows that with Susan and Leonie, you’re either with them, or against them. Debbie doesn’t want to be the next person they start picking on either. Shalmalah knows too well that once the bullies have decided that you are ‘out’ then you are on your own.

One day, Debbie finds out that Shalmalah’s mother and her own mother are becoming friends and she has to be nice to Shalmalah at home. Debbie hates feeling so two-faced and soon she has to make a very difficult choice.