“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Lambert family for their contribution to theatre, in particular to children’s programmes at the national broadcaster, RTÉ. It is very good that, through the character of Bosco, children are encouraged to ask questions of significance for our planet such as climate change and ethical awareness.
President Michael D Higgins.
Dear Mr Michael D President of Ireland,
Thank you so much for your email. I was very excited to get it. I try very hard to look after our world. But some things make me very sad when I see what is happening to our world. Like plastic. I saw pictures of all sorts of sea creatures tangled up in plastic. So every time I go to the seaside I pick up plastic so it won’t do any harm. It’s only a little thing but if everybody just did one little thing to look after our world then that would make a difference
I love you and I HOPE you stay President for ever.
Ryan Tubridy is a writer and broadcaster. He presents The Late Late Show and – more importantly – The Late Late Toy Show
Ryan: Hi Bosco! I love reading because it brings me on amazing adventures. Do you think children should share screen time with book time?
Bosco: Hi Ryan! I love the Toy Show! Oh Ryan, I love books very much. I think my book time is too precious to share with screen time. If you only had screen time you would forget all your own adventures that are just yours, in your books!
Ryan: I’m normally very happy but sometimes I can be a bit sad. Is it okay for adults and children to be sad every now and again?
Bosco: Of course it’s alright to be sad. If you didn’t feel sad, how would you know what happy is? Bye Ryan, see ya on the Toy Show!
Marian Keyes is a best-selling novelist and non-fiction writer.
Marian: Hi Bosco! I think you’re FABALISS! Bosco, isn’t it very unfair that children in Direct Provision can’t go to third level education?
Bosco: I don’t understand why they call it Direct Provision, Marian. Why don’t they just call it jail? You go to jail because you did something wrong. In Direct provision, people have to leave their country because of bad things. So people come to Ireland for help and understanding. And we put them in jail.
Well, it’s like jail.
They give them very, very little money. Same as jail.
They can’t work for money. Same as jail.
You can’t cook your own food. Same as jail.
You can’t go to college. NOT the same as jail.
If the Adult Grownups in charge of school and college think it’s very important for all Irish children to go to school and college, why not all the Children that live in Ireland? IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.
Anne-Marie Smyth is a journalist and editor of RTÉ’s children’s news programme RTÉ news2day.
Anne-Marie: Hi Bosco! I’ve only two questions, cos I know you already have lots of really good ones!
What’s your favourite thing about being a child?
Bosco: My favourite thing about being a child? Ah Anne-Marie, that’s a REALLY hard question because I don’t know what it’s like not to be a child!
Well, I suppose I like being me. I like being loved. I like singing. I like playing every day. I love stories and when somebody reads them to me. I like funny things that make me laugh.
Anne-Marie: If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?
Bosco: One thing to change the world? Maybe that we should look after our world better. I mean, if we could think about all the people and children that haven’t been born yet and all the people alive now. And stop putting bad stuff in the air and on the land and in the sea.
Thanks Anne-Marie, I love news2day!
Niamh Randall is the National Spokesperson for Simon Communities of Ireland
Niamh: Hi Bosco. What does home mean to you?
Bosco: Hiya Niamh! My home means everything to me. It’s where I feel safe and warm and cosy. I’d hate to live away from my home; it’s hard to know what that would be like.
Niamh: What would you miss the most if you had to live away from your home?
Bosco: My own bed! I love my own bed! It’s where I have my lovely sleeps and dreams. It’s where I go to sleep, tired, thinking about what a day I’ve had, and feeling excited about the next day. The thing I’d miss most is my bed, and all my things that I’ve collected on my adventures in the park and at the seaside like stones and seashells. My box is somewhere to go if I need to be by myself to have a little think for myself.
Sometimes you need to be by yourself. Sometimes being by yourself makes you feel better. I think if you didn’t have a home it would be very hard to have your own thoughts because you would have nowhere to go.
Niamh: Would you find it difficult to tell your teacher or friends if you were homeless?
Bosco: If I had no home, I don’t think I’d mind telling my friends and my teachers. People who are kind will be kind and people who are mean will be mean. At least I will know who is who.
Niamh: Do you have a message for the mammies and daddies and the boys and girls who don’t have a home right now?
Bosco: My message to anybody who doesn’t have a home is don’t give up fighting for a home because everybody needs a home! It’s hard to understand how all the very clever Adult Grownups let this happen in our country. They’re supposed to look after children!
So keep dreaming! Dreams do come true.
Niamh: Bosco, there are over 3,000 Irish children living in emergency accommodation with their families. Can you suggest any games they can play in their hotel or B&B rooms?
Bosco: Games to play… Well when you have no home, it’s hard to play, because you have no room and you can’t be noisy!
Hide and seek? No.
Cards? Snap, yes.
I spy? Yes.
Playing house? Yes.
You need a good imagination. Wouldn’t it be funny if it said No Children on B&Bs and hotels and then the Adult Grownups would have to find homes for the children.
Niamh: What can we do to help Irish boys and girls who are homeless?
Bosco: I think we should all help the good grown-ups like you who are trying to get homes for everyone! Thanks Niamh!
Suzy Byrne is a disability activist. She blogs at mamanpoulet.com
Suzy: Hi Bosco. What advice do you have for kids who might see their classmates being bullied or left out at school?
Bosco: It’s not very nice to be bullied or left out! I’d do something like tell the teacher. Or say something like “Go away you bully!” You have to stand up and be strong like a superhero. And then the bully will go away.
Everybody is good at something. Just show your lovely self and you won’t be left out. Be brave!
Martin Collins is co-director of Pavee Point, the national centre which promotes Traveller and Roma rights in Ireland.
Martin: Hi Bosco. What’s the right age to talk with children about racism, do you think?
Bosco: Hi Martin! I don’t think children are born racist. I think they learn that from grownups. Children see everyone as equal until somebody tells them different.
Martin: What do you think about the fact that only one Traveller child in 100 gets the chance to go to third level education?
Bosco: I think everybody in Ireland should be allowed to do the same things. Like going to school or college.
Martin: How do we persuade children not to use words like “nagor” or “knacker”, which are very offensive to Travellers?
Bosco: It’s not nice to call people names! Maybe if you had a good think about what you’re saying before you say it. And maybe don’t say words you don’t understand.
Martin: Thanks very much, Bosco.
Rachel Pilkington is an actor and environmentalist. She plays Jane Black in RTÉ’s Fair City.
Rachel: “Dear Bosco, do you believe it is wrong or unkind (as I do) to keep a bird or animal in a cage for their whole life?” Ps. I’ve always wanted to go through your magic door.
Bosco: Hi Rachel! I love animals and I would never be unkind to them. I wouldn’t like to live in a cage my whole life, so maybe animals don’t like it either.
(PS: the magic door was nearly always at the Zoo.)
Sarah O’Callaghan is Head of Communications with LauraLynn, Ireland’s only children’s hospice
Sarah: Hi Bosco. What is your most treasured memory? Why?
Bosco: My most treasured memory is – you won’t believe this – but I ME Bosco got to conduct the RTE Orchestra!
I conducted the “Frog Song” and then l got to sing it with Zig and Zag and Dustin and Pajo and the Star Children’s Choir for Ryan Tubridy to raise money for Childline.
Sarah: You always seem very happy. What makes you happiest?
Bosco: I’m happiest when I’m with happy people.
Sarah: Not every hero wears a cape…Who is your hero? Why?
Bosco: My heroes are all the children and families and very kind people in LauraLynn.
I was at a party there a little time ago and it was a very special little girl’s birthday and we all had a very happy time in a very special place.
LauraLynn spreads happiness and makes every moment matter and every second count.
Sarah: What piece of advice would you share with the boys and girls of Ireland?
Bosco: Recycle your old batteries in the WEEE Ireland blue boxes and help raise money for LauraLynn. They need our help. And do something nice for someone every day!
Sarah: Have you ever been star struck? Who was it with?
Bosco: When I got an email from Mr Michael D President of Ireland!
Fergus Finlay is CEO of Barnardos and a long-time advocate of children’s rights.
Fergus: Hello Bosco. Here are my questions. Do you think you’re too young to have a mobile phone? What is the right age?
Bosco: Hi Fergus! Yes, I’m too young. Maybe you should be in big big school like when you’re going to do hard tests.
Fergus: What’s the best treat for a child when he or she is very good?
Bosco: My favourite treats when I’m really good are flying my kite and going to the beach or the park. I think it’s when somebody who loves me has time to play with me. That’s the best treat, like showing them how fast I can run.
Fergus: If you’re ever scared or frightened is there someone you’d always talk to? Or do you keep it inside?
Bosco: When I’m frightened or scared or unhappy about something, I always tell a grown-up I like and who doesn’t get cross and it always makes things better. I don’t keep it to myself because it makes me sad and I love being happy.
Fergus: Bosco, if you had a magic wand and could grant every child in Ireland a single wish what would it be?
Bosco: Every child should have someone who loves them, minds them and keeps them from harm. Somebody to kiss them goodnight, and smile at them when they wake up. And laugh when they’re happy and comfort them when they’re sad. Somebody who is always there for them.
Julie Feeney is a singer, composer and songwriter. After spending time on family, she is now working on her fourth album and rewriting her opera ‘BIRD’.
Julie: Hello, Bosco. Bosco, I love running and skipping around outside in nature. Do you like nature?
Bosco: Hi Julie! I love your song ‘Impossibly Beautiful’! It’s my newest favourite song! Julie, I love nature! Every day when I go outside I see something amazing, like in Spring when all the little plants are starting to wake up. I like growing things like sunflowers and I like growing things that bees like because bees are very important to all plants in nature. The carry pollen around in their socks and give their pollen to all the plants that need it.
Julie: What’s your favourite nature place to explore? Why is nature so important to us?
Bosco: My favourite place I like best is Lough Key because it’s beautiful there. It’s like a magic place and in May it gets covered in bluebells.
Nature is the most important thing in the world because without it we would have no food or air. So we better look after it!
Mary Kiely (7) is a big fan and a personal friend of Bosco.
Mary: Hi Bosco! I hope you’re not being a silly banana! You were really nice to me when I met you last year in the Everyman. You gave me some lovely puppets as a present and we had a great chat after your show.
Okay here are my questions. Bosco, are you a boy or a girl?
Bosco: Hi Mary, how are you? I’m not a silly bananananana! I think you’re a silly banananananananana!
When people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl, I just tell them I’m a Bosco. What’s important is to be yourself, I think.
Mary: How old are you, Bosco? Because you told me last year you are five but my Mom says she loved you when she was my age and I’m seven now! So how can you be five now if my Mom loved you when she was seven when she was a small girl and now she’s not a small girl and now I’m seven?
Bosco: I’m five because that’s my favourite number. I’m just a bit magic for children, so I can stay five.
Mary: Bosco, what’s in your Box? Is it your house? How big is it inside?
Bosco: My Box is my house, Mary. It’s lovely inside. It’s warm and cosy and full of my treasures. I have a bed and somewhere to hang my clothes. I have a ladder to get up and down. It’s very colourful. It’s not too big and it’s not too small. It’s just right.
Mary: Bosco, how were you born? Do you have a Mom and Dad?
I can’t wait to see your new show!
Bosco: I was born in Donnybrook. I have lots of grown-ups that love me and look after me and it’s really the same as a Mom and a Dad. Some people have two moms or one mom or two dads.
Everybody is different. It doesn’t matter, so long as you have someone who loves you. I’m very excited about coming to Cork. It’s one of my favourite places in the world!
See ya Sunday, Mary!