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The CLiPPA Winner has just been announced! Hip Hop artist Karl Nova scooped this prestigious poetry prize with his debut collection Rhythm and Poetry inspired by his desire to bring poetry to children and young people through rap. Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry was Highly Commended. Read more about these titles and the rest of the shortlist in this special category. Children find Poetry incredibly pleasurable and our selection of books below are broken down into just 2 age ranges to give you some guidance. All the books are perfect for sharing at bedtime and for children to also enjoy alone. Always inspirational; collections of poetry will take the reader into another world.
This captivating collection comprises intensely poignant profiles of people and places; of domestic life and wild landscapes, especially Scotland’s “dark and stormy waters”, with flashes of crimson running through the poems in the form of fire, a fox, red shoes, a red balloon. Among the cast of memorable characters is Mrs Dungeon Brae, terrifying in both life and death, and The Knitter, who “knits to keep death away” and urgently recounts big life occasions knitting has accompanied her through, all the while “casting on, casting off”. Then there’s the grandmother lamenting the fact that “it’s no like the past for grannies these days...nobody knows how to make a conversation/ let alone make a home-made meal or a fresh baked scone.” Brimming with humanity - with love, anger, frustration and flashes of humour - this engaging, accessible anthology makes a richly rewarding gift for language lovers of all ages.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Compiled by YA author and broadcaster Juno Dawson, this inspiring anthology of illustrated short stories by LGBTQ+ writers shines a light on a kaleidoscopic array of experiences through an equally kaleidoscopic breadth of genres, themes and styles. From Chinese lesbian fairytale The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So, to Simon James Green’s hilarious, heart-warming Penguins (who would’ve thought a pair of penguins could steal a person’s coming out thunder?!), this is a powerfully diverse collection. Alongside more established names, among them authors David Levithan and Jess Vallance, and illustrator David Roberts, special mention must go to the four new voices whose stories grace these pages – be sure to seek out what Karen Lawler, Michael Lee Richardson, Cynthia So and Kay Staples do next. These are stories of struggle and trouble, passion and promise, with much wit, warmth, wisdom and support shared along the way. And so it seems fitting to leave the last loud, proud, celebratory words to Dan from David Levithan’s queer youth choir story: “You hold your ground. You sing out loud and proud in defiance of all the people who want you to be quiet”.
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | | Michael Rosen is the bestselling author of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, along with many other picture books and collections of poetry. Packed with silly rhymes, witty wordplay and thought-provoking story poems, this new collection of poems will delight children of all ages.
April 2018 Book of the Month Beautifully illustrated by Jo Riddell, this collection of poems and stories is a perfect gift book. It’s ideal for dipping into, for quiet reading and for reading aloud; indeed, unusually amongst the stories, haikus and poems, there are a couple of rhyming plays too, great fun for the family or a group of friends. Single collections of poems are relatively rare these days, and it’s lovely to find one that gives the poet the space and time to explore ideas and return to themes. Poetry speaks to children directly, and this should become a real favourite, a book, to quote Rachel Rooney’s review, ‘to spark the imagination’. Other recommended anthologies for children include A Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri, and Kate Wakeling’s CLiPPA winner Moon Juice.
Poetry is possibly the best way to convey the wonder of space and our own place in it, and James Carter’s text for this picture book is both precise and inspiring: ‘A sea of stars at last were born/gradually they fired and formed/out of clouds of dust and gas/each a mighty sparky mass’. The artwork by Mar Hernandez is equally beautiful, illustrating the development of life from the big bang to the world as we know it. The last image is of a jumping child – ‘You’re a Star’ – and there’s a page of science facts to end, taking us five billion years into the future. ~ Andrea Reece
The insects have well and truly taken over the bathroom in Brian Moses and Sonia Holleyman’s lively, satisfying picture book. You won’t believe the things you’ll hear - an earwig using Dad’s aftershave, a caterpillar shampooing his hair, a beetle singing in the shower – no wonder our narrator (who is waiting to use the loo) is so cross! The scenes of beetle mania are splendidly conjured up in Brian Moses’s accomplished rhyming text, which piles image upon image before bringing readers up short in its final lines. Sonia Holleyman has a great time with the illustrations too, giving us wonderful close ups of the sploshing, splashing, waving, misbehaving insects. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece
This collection features poems by three of our best-known and best-loved children’s poets, Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens. Between them, using a range of poetic styles and voices, they cover lots of topics – friendship and togetherness, difference, tolerance, bullying. Some of the poems make their point through humour while others, particularly those about the refugee experience, are necessarily bleaker; some even contain direct advice about where to go or who to turn to in specific situations. All do what poetry does best, that is they will make readers think, engage and look at things, even situations or feelings that may be really familiar, with new eyes. An excellent collection that will be read and read again. ~ Andrea Reece
Highly Commended in the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 Five emerging writer-performers are showcased in a book which is a blend of anthology & individual collections. Ruth Awolola wonders about our world, the stars beyond, the beings that might live out there and the interconnections between these. Victoria Adukwei Bulley uses images from nature to explore movement and migration - parakeets as a metaphor for people and the wandering wind which ‘knows no such thing as nations.’ Abigail Cook’s poems demonstrate how her family and the environment in which she grew up made her the person she is, and urges her readers to ‘Remember you are falcon bones and phoenix wings, so fly.’ Jay Hulme looks through windows and walls, crosses borders and searches the world for new words. Amina Jama reflects on childhood memories and relationships with friends and family such as the cousin who ‘wore blue better than a sunset wore orange.’
A completely refreshing and exciting collection of poetry that will encourage even the most determined poetry avoiders to have a peek and maybe get involved. It’s beautifully packaged and filled with close to a hundred illustrations from award winning illustrator, Lane Smith. I adored reading ‘The Island Where Everyone’s Toby’ out loud as fast as I could. So much fun. ‘The One-Eyed Orr’ was deliciously full of oozy pus and gore and ‘If You Ever Have To Memorize A Poem Of Twenty Lines Or Longer and Deliver It To Your Class, Then This Is A Pretty good Choice’ is fantastic for those who worry about forgetting their lines (and actually so much fun to read), and kids everywhere will just LOVE hearing mums and dads read ‘Hey, Kids! Get Your Parents To Read You This Poem!’ I could go on and on, there are so many wonderful, funny, disgusting, and positively joyful poems filling the pages of this book. But even better than that, it’s also full of bonus surprises including the mystery of the misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem. Intrigued? Well you’ll have to read it to find out more. And I urge you too. Teachers, parents, grandparents, and kids young and old should have this book. It’s superb and I couldn’t recommend it more. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
December 2017 Book of the Month A series of twelve short, funny poems, one for every month of the year, written with brio by John Yeoman and illustrated by Quentin Blake with all his characteristic vitality and joie de vivre, make this a book to treasure all year round. Indeed, it’s rare to find books in which the words and pictures work together as perfectly as they do here: not a word is wasted, each poem creates a real and vivid sense of the month in questions and builds up with seemingly effortless economy to a comic or surprise final couplet. Illustrations too contain only what is absolutely necessary to capture the action but still fizz with character, personality and humour. A must-have. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). | Children’s Laureates Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen combine here to create a beautiful collection of ebullient poems for the very young. Michael Rosen’s close and affectionate observation of small children and the way they think is brilliantly captured in poems such as You Can’t See Me and Let Me Do It. There are also plenty of opportunities for the very young to join in with poems such as Tippy-Tappy and The Button Bop which they are guaranteed to want to hear again and again! Chris Riddell’s illustrations created an equally warm-hearted view of the early years and capture the spirit of the poems perfectly.
The winner for the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) 2018 has just been announced as Karl Nova for his debut collection Rhythm and Poetry. Established in 2003, the CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. The 2018 winner and shortlist celebrates and highlights the diversity of voices in the UK poetry scene.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said “CLiPPA is leading an essential movement to build on the current huge popularity of poetry and the growing poetry market to ensure that poetry for children is acknowledged as an essential part of this landscape. The shortlist recognises not just great children’s poets but great poets full stop. We want as many people as possible to know about these wonderful works and CLiPPA, the Shadowing Scheme and the resources we produce all come together to make sure that they receive the high profile they deserve.”
The full shortlist is:
Rhythm and Poetry by Karl Nova - WINNER
The Rainmaker Danced by John Agard
Rising Stars by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme, Amina Jama
Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Where Zebras Go by Sue Hardy-Dawson
Grace Nichols, Poet, winner of the first ever CLiPPA and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 Judges commented: “The judging process involved passionate discussions about which books to shortlist, leading us to come up with a variety of fresh new voices joined by established ones. This shortlist showcases a vibrant selection of poetry books that children will love to explore.“
The winner of the 2018 Award will be announced on 22nd June at the National Theatre in London.
Schools might also be interested in the free Shadowing Scheme to encourage involvement in the Poetry Award 2018. To support schools to take poetry into the classroom, videos of poets performing from the shortlisted books and talking about their work and high quality teaching resources, are available free of charge to all schools www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline.
Lovereading4kids Poetry Highlights from Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate 2007-2009 on Poetry:
Michael Rosen is a poet and huge supporter of children's poetry has given us his views on poetry - written especially for Lovereading4kids.
FROM MICHAEL ROSEN:
"Poetry is a special way of talking and writing. Poems are often musical, playing with the sounds of language while they tell stories, reveal feelings, make pictures and give us ideas. We all find this pleasurable, but children especially so. I guess that's because for very young children, language often comes at them as something they hear without necessarily understanding it. Then poems come along and hit the same channel, sound, rhythm, rhyme, repetition and all the other tricks in the poet's bag.
Poems can be snapshots: small pictures of a moment, an object, a scene, a feeling. They can be like photos in the family album: a moment frozen which we can look at over and over again and wonder why it matters to us.
Poems are also places where you don't have to say it all, they don't have to tie it up in a neat knot in the way that stories usually do. Poems can end with questions. Poems can end with no answers. Poems can pose problems. And that's fine, because life doesn't usually finish with neat little endings. Life itself is full of questions and problems. Particularly for children.
Poems are great for exploring those fascinating questions once posed by the painter Paul Gauguin: where do we come from? Where are we know? Where are we going? These are questions about what kind of background we have, what kinds of things we believe in and care about, what do we want our lives to look like in the future. Poems often explore these themes. And they do it in personal, direct ways, saying, in a thousand different ways: this is me, this is us, I wonder what kind of person I am, I wonder what's going to happen, and so on. And aren't these questions that children ask over and over again?
Poetry is great for what is almost the opposite of this: pretending we aren't who we say we are. Poets write poems where they pretend to be goddesses, houses, worms, graves, long dead ancestors, aliens. This allows poets to explore feelings they didn't know they had, and in so doing, they invite children to wonder about other lives, other states of existence, other possibilities.
Poetry can be impossible. As we proceed along our logical, sensible lines, relying on gravity to keep our plates on the table, days to follow nights, our blood to flow round our bodies, poems don't have to obey these rules. Whether it's through nonsense (remember the dish who ran way with the spoon?) or through making one thing like another, (perhaps our plates aren't sitting on the table; but rather, the table is tired of carrying the plates) poetry can get us to see the world in strange, new ways and from strange points of view.
Poems are often full of echoes, gathering together hints and memories of other poems, other stories, films, signs, speeches. They gather up and change words. It's as if poems like this point us at the very language we see and hear around us and invite us to stop, think and wonder if the words we are used to are right, honest or worthwhile. For children, this is especially important. If you think for a moment, very nearly all children enter school, using a language that is theirs, only to find that school is full of language that seems to belong to other people. If poetry plays with language and, through its music, invites children to remember and imitate it, this becomes a language that they can possess."
photograph - Graham Turner
... AND A WARNING TO GROWN-UPS FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE JUMBLE BOOK
Poetry is fun. Do not spoil it.
Do not make children read this book for homework. If you do you may be vaporized by a death ray.
Poems are allowed to have rude words because they are literature, so bum to you.
Do not ask children how these poems make them feel. It is a stupid question.
Do not try to analyse these poems: they may self-detonate.
If you can’t see the sense of it, that’s probably your fault.
Poems do not have to be written in grammatical sentences or have correct
punctuation, so nurch.
Do not tell people off for daydreaming. Poems come from daydreams.
Never make anyone copy out a poem. It spoils it.
Do not make children read these poems aloud in front of the whole class. If you do, you will be kidnapped by aliens and taken to Alpha Centauri and forced to mark Year Six homework for a thousand years.
Issued by the Galactic Authority and dictated by telepathy to Ken Follett, who wrote it all down with no crossings out.
National Poetry Day is held every autumn - you can find out more about this event and download a special free anthology of wonderful poems, both old and new from poets including Brian Moses, Rachel Rooney and Michaela Morgan. Find out more here.