Children's poetry, news, interviews, poetry tips and fun!
Author: Liz Brownlee
Poet, blogger and owner of Lola the alert dog. Be the Change, Apes to Zebras, The Same Inside, Reaching the Stars, Animal Magic. I visit schools, libraries, literary festivals, and organise poetry events. I give Zoom lessons on writing poetry for children. http://www.poetryroundabout.com http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com @Lizpoet
Over the last few weeks the team at The Children’s Bookshow have been thinking a lot about the joy of poetry. One of the Directors, Siân Williams, has been pulling poetry collections down from her shelves and revisiting all of the marvellous poets they have worked with over the years, and some with whom they hope to work in the near future. Throughout November they are focusing on a different poet every week, giving you an overview of their life and work as well as some videos of them reading and performing their poetry.
They’ve announced three poets of the week – John Agard, Michael Rosen and Grace Nichols – with Kit Wright and Kwame Alexander to follow.
Yes, it’s National Kindness Day – so here’s a poem I prepared a little while ago. This poem will be in my new book coming out next May in Mental Health Week.
If you’d like to buy one of my books, you can do it from this page on my bookshop – I will receive a small amount of money for each book bought, which will help feed us hopefully at this time of no income!
Do you buy books from Amazon? Something wonderful has happened for authors during lockdown. Well, it’s not all good. Children’s authors can no longer visit schools, and a large part, the major part of their small-anyway-income is gone. The other part is books sales – but you may be surprised to learn that authors earn very little from their books’ sales. Pennies. And sometimes book sales earn them nothing, because they were given a (very) modest advance and the books do not make as much as the advance and so the author never receives Royalties.
But now a new online bookshop has opened – one that not only gives a portion of the cover price to independent bookshops, but if an author signs up, a proportion of the sale to the author. This could be life-changing in that we might get to eat this Christmas. AND the books are discounted!
What could be better? Buying a brilliant book for a loved one, safe in the knowledge none of the money went to Amazon, and some of the money went to the person who spent 6 months night and day making shapes from poems for it…
If you are a teacher or a librarian, or even a poet looking for ideas of how to teach poetry to classes or groups, this is the book for you!
Both Trevor and Bernard are very experienced, both as excellent poets and as educators working with young people.
The book is laid out well, the subjects of chapters are pertinent and useful, any instructions are clear and easy to follow – all with examples and sample poems. There are sections on every type of question you may have from ‘How to do poetry with pre-readers/writers’, to ‘How to use audio/video as an aid’, and other things covered include ‘performance’, ‘reading aloud’, ‘music and poetry’, ‘imagery, similes and metaphors’ and even ‘how to answer difficult questions’!
I really recommend this! Published by Troika, you can buy it here.
This is such an excellent idea – in fact it is in my ideas book so jolly miffed I haven’t ever put it forward! Here are 60 engaging and funny poems ‘to boost reading and spelling’. Each poem is a rhyme that explains how to remember how to spell a word, or how to use the correct form of a homophone – for instance one poem deals with how to remember when to use to, too or two.
Using plenty of humour, repetition and playfulness, the rhymes really do work and I can imagine this being a very useful resource in schools and for parents; I can also imagine young people actually enjoying learning how and when to use these words!
Tor Freeman’s illustrations are wonderfully colourful, clear, and make a fabulous pairing with these clever, educational poems.
Excellent, highly recommended. I hope these rhymes enter every teacher’s lexicon! Published by Francis Lincoln , you can buy the book here.
When my children were little, picture books and poems by Colin West were great favourites; along with books by David McKee and Quentin Blake, Colin’s books are the ones I can remember fondly. The words I had fun reading on multiple occasions if not every day, the ones the children laughed at time after time, the pictures they enjoyed poring over.
So it felt surreal when Colin sent me his latest manuscript, Barmy Ballads, to read. Colin is truly masterly at combining fantastic nonsense with his hilarious images, and to sum up, this is what I sent for the back cover – Barmy, brilliant and absurd – Colin West‘s mastery of witty improbabilities in rhyme, combined with the quirky charm of his illustrations, makes this book irresistible.
The Open University (OU) has launched Book Chat: Reading with your Child, three short films and supporting materials to help parents, families and carers read books conversationally and creatively to children. Working with Macmillan Children’s Books, the films use a selection of their picture books and a poetry collection to support families with reading to different ages of children.
You may have noticed that the poetry collection is The Same Inside, by me, Roger Stevens and Matt Goodfellow, which we are thrilled to see.
The film above is read by Professor Teresa Cremin, who leads the OU’s Reading for Pleasure programme.
If you are an educator, librarian, parent or other person interested in supporting young people develop the reading habit., there is an OU Webinar you may be interested in viewing. The Book Chat crew, Teresa Cremin, Ben Harris and Richard Charlesworth will be joined by the children’s author Smriti Hall (TBC) and Rumenar Atkar, a mum and primary school librarian. The session will include research and practice insights, strategies to enrich informal book talk at home and school, and book recommendations that get everyone talking. The Webinar takes place Tuesday 20 October, 20:00 – 21:00. and can be found here.
Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France, and her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me, published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA, which can be bought here. Her book Firecrackers, Troika,illustrated by Jo Riddell, can be bought here, and her lovely book, Cherry Moon, is the 2020 CLiPPA Award Winner, and deservedly so, and available here! Zaro’s website is here.
Zaro kindly sent me this wonderful poem from the book a while ago for a poetry feast:
This video was filmed for National Poetry Day 2015 – but is all about VISION as well as light. Bright Spark, written by Michaela Morgan and performed by Eleanor Trapp in John Lewis’ lighting department – thanks to John Lewis, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol!
Here’s a poem for NPD about a narwhal – a type of whale, with a long twisted horn, which is actually a tooth. Scientists think people finding these horns on the seashore may have sparked myths about unicorns! There is a poem video – and a picture poem of it, below, by me, taken from Apes to Zebras.