Posted in Poetry Review

The Poetry Guide: Trevor Millum and Bernard Young

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.

Posted in Poetry Review

Colette Hiller and Tor Freeman: The B on Your Thumb Review

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.

Posted in Poetry Review

Colin West: Barmy Ballads

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.

You can buy it here.

Posted in Poetry News

Book Chat: Reading With Your Child

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.

Posted in CLiPPA

Zaro Weil – the CLiPPA Award Winner 2020 for Cherry Moon!

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 Riddellcan 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:

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HIDE AND SEEK

I decided to play a game with quiet

hide and seek

my turn

I slipped into the woods

looking for quiet

instead

a cacophony of forest-crackle

a hullabaloo of beast-babel

sprang towards me while

a tweedledum of pandemonium

circled above

it was a free-for-all

and even the sun

jangled copper

between the leaves

so much for the forest

I went to the sea

searching for quiet

but the waves trumpeted

a rumbling ruckus

a crash of crinkle-crests while

squarking gulls sky-dived into

wind-trembled sea and

tiny sea things zig-zagged

underfoot as a medley of

fat green seaweed

slapped the sand

non-stop non-stop

so much for the sea

but then I turned

and quiet tagged me

I stopped

forest stopped

sea stopped

I found quiet

it must have been hiding

the whole time

inside my words

inside of me

.

© Zaro Weil

Congratulations, Zaro and Troika Books!! 

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Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day Video of a Thomas Hardy Poem

Hello again! It is still National Poetry Day –  if you haven’t seen the video of the poem I wrote especially for NPD, as I am a National Poetry Day Ambassador – see the entry before this on the home page!

I was also asked to choose a poem to go with mine, and this is the one I picked. The magical The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House, by Thomas Hardy.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

It’s National Poetry Day! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Here is the first of my NPD poems – this one was especially written for NPD 2020 on the theme of Vision.  It’s called Who Knows, and it is about an owl.

You can find this poem and many more on National Poetry Day’s website which also has downloadable educational resources. Print out all you like and stick them in your window or on your wall. My poem is there! And it’s not too late to share their toolkits, posters and lesson plans. To #ShareAPoem, take a picture for Twitter or Insta, tag #NationalPoetryDay.

Have a lovely National Poetry Day!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2020

National Poetry Day One Day to GO!!!

Yes, it’s tomorrow. Poets everywhere are planning, posting, poeting and preparing for the BIGGEST and BEST poetry party all on one day. You can take part!

National Poetry Day’s website has downloadable educational resources that are amazingly popular. And it’s not too late to share their toolkits, posters and lesson plans. They have cleared permissions on loads of poems on the theme of Vision: print out all you like and stick them in your window or on your wall. One is by me! To #ShareAPoem, take a picture for Twitter or Insta, tag #NationalPoetryDay. They’ll be looking!

Here is my poem for today – it’s called Blackbird. Mainly because it’s about a blackbird.