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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.
Full of a sense of tenderness but also possibilities, Songs for our Sons contains every wish you could have for a young boy growing up today, from ‘Never change, fib or follow, just to try to fit in./Be proud, free and happy in your own, unique skill’, to ‘Keep a still place inside, that you can call home/ and know how to find it, wherever your roam.’ The text is touching, heartfelt and always uplifting, while Ashling Lindsay’s illustrations depict children playing in a range of settings, from green fields to desert cities and magic trees, bold colours and shifting perspectives making every turn of the page an adventure. Giving this and receiving it, both will be a real joy.
September 2021 Book of the Month | The opening poem in Joshua Seigal’s sparkling new collection invites readers to ‘fill the world with words’, and he does a very good job of doing just that in poems that represent his audience’s world perfectly. Here are poems about classrooms, playtime, grandparents, chocolate biscuits – all just right to read aloud and deliciously easy to remember. There are poems that deliver jokes, poems that play with sense and their shape, poems that sneak in deeper meanings too as they describe familiar emotions. One thing is for certain, everyone will find a favourite in this collection, a poem they’ll want to read to someone else. It ends with a selection of Seigal’s tips for children on writing poetry and I think lots of readers will be inspired to add their own poems to the world as a result.
Winner of the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) 2021 | On the Move is both personal and universal, with messages of home, identity and family. The CLiPPA judges found it full of emotion, delivered with a perfect sense of understatement; they praised the way words and illustrations provide pauses, allowing readers space to think. Chair of the CLiPPA judges, Allie Esiri: "the judges were unanimous in choosing On the Move as the winner for the way in which it situates us, with striking immediacy, within Michael Rosen’s own personal recollections of migration, and invites us to consider the plight of others forced to be on the move today. In a period in which migration is continuously reshaping our ideas of belonging, heritage and identity, this book serves as a timely — and timeless — reminder of our kinship with our fellow humans of all backgrounds for readers of all ages."
Shortlisted for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) 2021 | Nikita Gill brings together exciting new poets, all well known to poetry audiences but many making their first appearance in print; the judges hail this as a book to excite young people about all the potential of poetry, curated with skill and passion.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award ages 3-6 | I wonder, then, what freedom is. Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought? As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza's immersive, lush illustrations invite kids into the text, to ask themselves what it means to be free, while lyrical and emotive text is provided by musician Amyra Leon.
Shortlisted for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) 2021 | The poems in Matt Goodfellow’s collection range from the silly to the sensitive, and all will resonate with children aged 7 – 11. The CLiPPA judges admired the child’s eye view, the dynamic representations of real-life experiences, and the book’s understanding of a child’s sensibilities.
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 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.