Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for Children’s Poet and Author Louise Greig #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

 

Louise Greig

Louise Greig lives in Aberdeen with her husband and her rescue Greyhound, Smoky, where she writes children’s picture books and poetry.  She has been joint winner of The Manchester Writing for Children Prize 2014, winner of The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2015, winner of The Wigtown Poetry Prize 2015, winner of The McLellan Poetry Prize 2017 and winner of The Battered Moons Poetry Prize 2017. Her debut picture book for Egmont UK was short-listed for The Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2018. Louise loves birds, animals, mountains, rivers, forests and children’s literature. Louise’s Amazon Author link is is here.

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Here is one of her lovely poems:

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To Be a Bear

 

To be a bear

is not to be something else

like a chair or a pear.

To be a bear is to love berry-picking.

To be a bear is to love licking your paws

just because.

To be a bear is to love honey,

but not need money to buy it

(can be stolen from bees but do not try this at home).

To be a bear is to slumber and lope,

lumber, grumble and hope (for honey).

To be a bear is to like to roam,

up mountains and down,

to stand at waterfalls all paws and snout

and wait for unsuspecting trout.

To be a bear is to be big, brown and furry

and not to worry

about non-bear things

like what are wings.

To be a bear is not to have to know

the French word for snow (neige),

or “Hello, I am a bear”

(Bonjour, je suis un ours).

To be a bear is only to have to know

the language of bear.

To be a bear is to be a bear

and only a bear.

To be a bear is to be free,

to be wild and to live in a wood.

To be a bear is good.

 

© Louise Grieg

You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for Children’s Poet Matt Goodfellow, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Matt Goodfellow

Matt Goodfellow is a poet and primary school teacher from Manchester, England. He is a National Poetry Day Ambassador for the Forward Arts Foundation. His acclaimed debut collection, Carry Me Away, illustrated by Sue Hardy-Dawson, was released in 2016 and his most recent collections are The Same Inside (Macmillan 2018), written with Liz Brownlee and Roger Stevens, and Chicken on the Roof  illustrated by Hanna Asen (Otter Barry 2018). He still spends two days a week working as a primary school teacher; on the other days he visits schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, fun-filled poetry performances and workshops. Matt says he wasn’t supposed to be a poet, he was supposed to be a rock star – but he was awful at music! His website is here.

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Here is one of Matt’s gorgeous poems:

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Gone

 

She left last week for another school

somewhere out near Hartlepool.

I didn’t cry, I played it cool –

now I wish I hadn’t.

 

Deleted photos, mobile number,

left her standing there to wonder

why I slipped her arm and shunned her –

now I wish I hadn’t.

 

They made her cards and sang along.

I wouldn’t, couldn’t sing along.

Swallowed words, held my tongue –

how I wish I hadn’t.

 

© Matt Goodfellow (from Chicken on the Roof – Otter Barry Books)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for Children’s Poet and Author Chrissie Gittins, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Chrissie Gittins

Chrissie Gittins is an award-winning poetry writer for children and adults, and also writes short stories and plays. Her poems have been widely anthologised and animated for Poetry Pie and CBeebies on TV. She has been visiting schools as a poet for over 20 years, is an experienced teacher and has read at festivals all over Great Britain. Chrissie has written 5 children’s poetry collections. Now You See Me, Now You…, illustrated by Gunnlavg Moen, and I Don’t Want an Avocado, illustrated by Kev Adamson, were shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. Her latest book is Adder, Bluebell, Lobster, illustrated by Paul Bommer. Her website is here.

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Here is one of Chrissie’s poems:

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The Powder Monkey

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This is the moment I dread,

my eyes sting with smoke,

my ears sing with cannon fire.

I see the terror rise inside me,

coil a rope in my belly to keep it down.

I chant inside my head to freeze my nerve.

 

Main mast, mizzen mast, foremast,

belfry, capstan, waist.

 

We must keep the fire coming.

If I dodge the sparks

my cartridge will be safe,

if I learn my lessons

I can be a seaman,

if I close my eyes to eat my biscuit

I will not see the weevils.

 

Main mast, mizzen mast, foremast,

shot lockers, bowsprit, gripe.

 

Don’t stop to put out that fire,

run to the hold,

we must fire at them

or they will fire at us.

 

Main mast, mizzen mast, foremast,

belfry, capstan, waist.

 

My mother never knew me,

but she would want to know this –

I can keep a cannon going,

I do not need her kiss.

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Before 1794 children aged 6 upward went to sea. After 1794 the minimum age was 13.

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© Chrissie Gittins (This poem won a Belmont Poetry Prize)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

G is for American Children’s Poet Charles Ghigna, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Charles Ghigna

Charles Ghigna – or Father Goose® as he is often known, lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama and is the author of more than one hundred books. He has written more than five thousand poems for children and adults that have appeared in anthologies, newspapers and magazines. Not only does he speak at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, he has read his poems all over the world. More information can be read in the spotlight on Charles Ghigna, here. His website is here, and this is a link to his latest book, The Night the Forest Came to Townillustrated by Annie Wilkinson. 

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Charles is a wonderful supporter of children’s poetry and poets. Here is one of his lovely poems:

 

The Cold Gray Days of Winter

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In the cold gray days of winter

When the sky turns iron blue

And the leafless trees stand silent

With nothing left to do,

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There comes a cry across the land

That carries seeds of spring,

The echo of the distant hawk,

The sun upon his wing.

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© Charles Ghigna

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in Poetry Competition

#AtoZChallenge Competition!

Hidden in the A-Z of Best Children’s Poets there are FOUR poets who don’t exist – their names are the anagrams of real poets on the list, each of whom have written a false bio and a poem for their alter-ego! Guess all four and you stand a chance of winning Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens.

At the end of the A-Z send your entries to poetryfunfactory @ gmail.com. Include your name, the answers, email address and U.K. address. The competition closes on 12 May. Judgement is final. The winner will be informed by email and the result posted here.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet and Author Raven Howell, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Raven Howell

Raven Howell is the author of several children’s picture poetry books. Her most recent releases, Shimmer, Songs of Night (Spork), available here in the UK and here in the US, and A Star Full of Sky (Daffydowndilly Press), available here in the UK and here in the US, won several awards for Best in Children’s Poetry. She writes poems for a variety of magazines such as Highlights for Children, Ladybug, Stinkwaves, Cricket, Babybug, Hello Highlights, Jack and Jill, and High Five, and enjoys presenting children’s poetry workshops in libraries and to classrooms. She’s a member of the SCBWI, ILA, and is Creative and Publishing Advisor with RedCloverReader. Living in New York’s Hudson Valley, she can be found enjoying the mountains, the summer sun, and when she’s not writing poetry, she’s reading it! Her website is here.

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Here is one of Raven’s poems:

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In Outer Space

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Looking through

My telescope

Space doesn’t seem so far;

Glowing above our neighborhood –

A crescent moon

And stars.

 

If somebody in space looked back

I wonder what they’d see…

Would they spy my telescope?

Would they notice me?

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© Raven Howell (From Shimmer, Songs of Night which was illustrated by Argentinian artist Carina Povarchik, Clear Fork Publishing/Spork)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

 

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Australian Children’s Poet and Blogger Jackie Hosking, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Jackie Hosking

Jackie Hosking’s most favourite thing to do is write in rhyme and meter. Her second most favourite thing to do is walk amongst the Australian Bush. Her third most favourite thing to do is to combine the two. She also likes to copy other poets as she’s done in her picture book, The Croc and the Platypus, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. (Only available in Australia or New Zealand, I’m afraid!) If you read it very carefully you’ll likely hear echoes of Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. Jackie’s website is here.

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Here is one of Jackie’s poems:

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Wherever

 

Here she comes

whisper the trees

boughs sway heavy

with gossiping leaves

 

Where will she go?

murmur the breezes

 

However, whenever

wherever she pleases

 

Here she comes

whispers the sea

droplets colliding

with gossipy glee

 

Where will she go?

murmurs the sand

 

However, whenever

wherever she can

 

Here she comes

whispers the river

gossip like ripples

disperse with a quiver

 

Where will she go?

murmur the reeds

 

However, whenever

wherever she needs.

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© Jackie Hosking

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for American Children’s Poet, Lee Bennet Hopkins #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins has written and edited numerous award-winning books for children and young adults, as well as professional texts and curriculum materials. He has taught elementary school and served as a consultant to school systems throughout the US.  In 1989 he received the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for “outstanding contributions to the field of children’s literature” in recognition of his work; and 2009 brought him the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Excellence in Poetry for Children, recognising his aggregate body of work. In 2010 he received the Florida Libraries’ Lifetime Achievement Award. His books include the award winning Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life (Boyds Mills Press), Alphathoughts: Alphabet PoemsCity I Love (Abrams, 2009), and Full Moon and Star (Abrams, 2011), both illustrated by jazz musician Marcellus Hall. He has an unflagging belief that poetry is a necessity for children, at home and in the classroom, and is one of the United States’ most sought-after speakers on the subject of children’s literature.

To encourage the recognition of poetry, he has established two major awards: the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually by Penn State University for a single volume of poetry, and the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Reading Association Promising Poet Award, presented every three years by IRA. How fabulous is that? Here is one of his lovely poems:

 

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Storyteller

(For Augusta Baker)

 

As she speaks

words

leap from pages —

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there are

friends like

frog and toad —

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I walk

down a

yellow brick road.

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Worlds of paper

disappear —

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only

Miss Augusta

and I

are here

in a room

filled with magic

story

rhyme.

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and as her voice

reaches

the highest

rafter —

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I believe in

 

once-upon-a-time

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I believe in

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Happily ever after.

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© Lee Bennett Hopkins (From Jumping Off Library Shelves, Wordsong, celebrating the magic of libraries, illustrated by Jane Manning)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet Hannah Hodgson, #AtoZChallenge ZtoA

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Hannah Hodgson

Hannah has won numerous young poets network challenges organised by the poetry society; and she goes in to schools to run poetry workshops. Her first pamphlet Dear Body has been published by Wayleave Press, which details what life is like as a young person with a disability. Hannah writes about her disability as she thinks it is important children and young people understand the challenges that differently able people face. Her blog is here.

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Here is one of Hannah’s poems – this was a winner in the August Challenge #2 on Young Poets Network (YPN) 19-25 age group category in 2016.

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The lift, a green room for the wheelchair user

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The doors are scissor blades –
sever us, give us space.

We exhale in sighs,
hot frustrated hand driers.

Our eyes flash colour, marbles
rolling around our sockets.

These flickering lids speak louder than we could.

We are sinking, quicksand drawing
us through floors as we complain

about the people
bumbling down the stairs.

The doors chime. We reapply smiles
like lipstick.

The curtains are open,
we are actors, polite once again.

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© Hannah Hodgson

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet and Artist Sophie Herxheimer, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Sophie Herxheimer

Sophie Herxheimer is a prolific, multi-disciplinary artist whose poetry is fiercely energetic, erudite and punchy. She’s held residencies for LIFT, Southbank Centre and Transport for London. Exhibitions include The Whitworth, The Poetry Library and The National Portrait Gallery. She’s illustrated five fairy tale collections, made several artists books, made a life size concrete poem in the shape of Mrs Beeton sited next to her grave; and a pie big enough for seven drama students to jump out of singing, on the lawn of an old peoples’ home. Sophie does the wonderful artwork for National Poetry Day every year. Recent publications include Velkom to Inklandt, Short Books Ltd. Sophie teaches for The Poetry School and The Royal Drawing School, and collaborates extensively. Her website is here and Twitter here.

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Here is one of Sophie’s poems from the above book – the true story of her grandmother, who when she arrived in London as a refugee from Berlin in 1938, was surprised to be called ‘love’ by the bus conductor and others. She took it literally and was much cheered! Bus conductors in those days wore a ticket machine round their neck which had to be wound with a handle to dispense a bus ticket. This poem is of course much better read out loud:

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london

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Not zo mainy Dais zinz ve arrivink.

Zis grey iss like Bearlin, zis same grey Day

ve hef. Zis norzern Vezzer, oont ze demp Street.

A biet off Rain voant hurt, will help ze Treez

on zis Hempstet Heese vee see in Fekt.

Vy shoot I mind zet?

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I try viz ze busses, Herr Kondooktor eskink

me… for vot? I don’t eckzectly remember;

Fes plees? To him, my Penny I hent ofa –

He nods viz a keint Smile- Fanks Luv!

He sez. Oh! I em his Luff – turns Hentel

on Machine, out kurls a tickett.

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Zis is ven I know zat here to settle iss OK. Zis

City vill be Home, verr eefen on ze Buss is Luff.

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© Sophie Herxheimer

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Australian Children’s Poet Steven Herrick, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Steven Herrick

Steven Herrick is the author of twenty-four books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and have been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards on eight occasions. He is widely recognised as a pioneer of the verse-novel genre for young adults. He is also the author of six travel books. He spends nine months of the year visiting schools in Australia and three months on his bicycle somewhere in Europe.

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Here is one of his poems – I think every children’s poet has experienced this!:

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the poetry visitor

 

Yesterday

a poet came to our school

and read lots of his poems.

Some were funny,

some sad,

some even made Ms Stevrakis laugh,

especially the one about kissing.

At the end, Ms Stevrakis suggested

we ask the poet questions about his poetry.

After a long silence,

Rachel asked, ‘How much money do you make?’

Matthew asked, ‘Where do you live?’

Sarah asked, ‘How old are you?’

Tran asked, ‘Can you speak Vietnamese?’

Sam asked, ‘How come you’ve got a bald head?’

and Peter asked, ‘Can I go to the toilet please?’

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© Steven Herrick (First published in ‘Untangling Spaghetti’ – published by University of Queensland Press.)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for American Children’s Poet and Educator Georgia Heard, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Georgia Heard

Georgia Heard is a founding member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York City. She received her M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University. Currently, she is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and in schools around the United States and the world. She is the author of numerous books on writing including: Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School. In addition, her poems have been widely anthologised and she has published several children’s poetry books including Creatures of Earth, Sea and Sky: Animal Poems, illustrated by Jennifer Dewey, Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems,  illustrated by John Sandford and The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems, illustrated by Antoine Guilloppé. Her new book Boom! Bellow! Bleat! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices is forthcoming in 2019 (WordSong/Boyds Mills Press). Georgia’s website is here and Twitter here.

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Here is one of Georgia’s poems:

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Dragonfly

 

It skims the pond’s surface,

searching for gnats, mosquitoes and flies.

Outspread wings blur with speed.

It touches down

and stops to sun itself on the dock.

Wings flicker and still:

stained glass windows

with sun shining through.

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© Georgia Heard (from Creatures of the Earth, Sea and Sky, WordSong Boyds Mills Press)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

 

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet Matt Harvey, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey is a writer poet, and children’s poet. He often appears in anthologies, and he has written the rhyming texts  Shopping With Dad illustrated by Miriam Latimer, and the Beastie and the Boys, illustrated by Chloe Uden. Shopping With Dad was made into a film by CBBC and has been translated into several languages. Matt has also written lyrics for children’s song cycles, collaborating with composer Stephen Deazley on The Songbook of Unsingable Songs, A Little Book of Monsters and more recently Peck! a schools’ opera for the Mahogany Opera Company’s ‘Snappy Opera’ series. His website is here.

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Here is one of Matt’s funny poems (which neatly sums up how I feel about maths!):

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Tense Times Table

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Once tense is tense

Twice tense is too tense

Three tense is quite stressed

Four tense is fraught

Five tense is frightening

Six tense is tightening

Seven tense is distressed

Eight Tense is taut

Nine tense is intense

Ten tense is uptight

Eleven tense – keep your distance

Twelve tense just might…

Thirteen tense – RIGHT! THAT’S IT! I’ve had it up to here with your tense times table, it’s not a proper poem it’s not a proper times table and that’s the last time you make me make a fool of myself in public… (continue ranting indefinitely, then fade, and look sheepish)

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© Mat Harvey

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet and Author A. F. Harrold, #AtoZChallenge, #ZtoA

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A. F. Harrold

A.F. Harrold is a children’s author and children’s poet who writes and performs for both grown ups and children. He can often be found in school halls pointing at children and sharing his poems, and even more often in the bath, thinking them up… though he’d rather you didn’t come in, thank you, because that would be weird. Just be patient. His latest poetry book is Things You Find in a Poet’s Beard, illustrated by Chris Riddell.  A. F.’s Website is here and Twitter here.

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He has kindly sent a poem beautifully illustrated by the wonderful illustrator and British Children’s Laureate 2017, Chris Riddell. It happens to be a picture of A. F. himself.

 

 

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© A.F. Harrold and Chris Riddell

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Canadian Children’s Poet Avis Harley, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Avis Harley

Avis Harley was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has an MA from the University of B.C. where she taught poetry in the Language and Literacy Education Department.  An elementary school teacher for many years with teaching experience in Canada and England, Avis has also been a writer-in-residence, mentor, and workshop leader.  She has given poetry presentations in Canada, U.S., Hong Kong, and Japan.  Avis has written several books of poetry for children, and some of her books she has also illustrated.  Many of her poems appear in anthologies and magazines, and often focus on the natural world.  Her writing reflects a keen interest in experimenting with poetic forms. Avis’ book Africa Acrostics is here (UK) and here (US).

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I first found and loved Avis Harley’s work while visiting Canada. Here is one of her poems, a sonnet:

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FEET TREAT

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How handy are the monarch’s taste-full feet

reporting where the treasure nectar flows!

Whenever they have savoured something sweet

they phone Proboscis to uncoil its hose.

 

This gives the butterfly a lovely straw

to carry out her dainty floral sips.

So delicately does she drink and draw,

she never needs to nectar up her lips.

 

Imagine if we tasted with our toes!

What grounded nectars do you think we’d find?

Soft grass or soil? Cement? Or icy snows?

Cool cotton sheets? The sea? An orange rind?

 

If we would let our toes seek what we eat,

what smorgasbord would greet our eager feet?

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© Avis Harley (From The Monarch’s Progress, all about monarch butterflies, also illustrated by Avis. Published in the U.S. by Wordsong, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press)

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You can hear more about children’s poets and poetry, if you follow The Children’s Poetry Summit, @kidspoetsummit on Twitter