Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZChallenge; G is for Matt Goodfellow

Matt Goodfellow (links to What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) is a poet and National Poetry Day Ambassador. His most recent collections are The Same Inside (Macmillan 2018), written with Liz Brownlee (me!) and Roger Stevens, and his solo collection, Chicken on the Roof  illustrated by Hanna Asen (Otter Barry 2018). He visits schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, fun-filled poetry performances and workshops. His new book, Be the Change, Poems about Sustainability, written with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee (me, again!), is out in August. Matt’s website is here.

Matt sent this beautiful poem from Chicken on the Roof, saying: “I wrote it for my mum, who died nearly 20 years ago, as a reminder to her, and myself, that memories live on. I hear and see echoes of her wherever I go.”

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Still There

 

I see you near the river,

half-extinguished by the mist.

 

I see you in the summer fields

where dandelions drift.

 

I see you through the stubble plains,

autumn at your back.

 

I see you on the skyline

when night is winter black.

 

I follow you down shadow-lanes

where memories still pass.

 

I walk within your footsteps,

haloed in the morning grass.

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© Matt Goodfellow

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If you would like to blog hop to another AtoZ Challenge, follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZChallenge; D is for Jan Dean

D in the Poetry Feast is Jan Dean – oh, Jan is fun. She is also a National Poetry Day Ambassador, writing poems in a tucked away corner of her house, next to a rubber chicken handbag and Templeton the kiwi.  She has two full collections of poetry, three collaborations and is in over a hundred anthologies.  She used to visit schools to perform her poems and have an amazing time writing with classes, but has recently retired, however, she will never give up writing poems! Her latests books are The Penguin in Lost Property, illustrated by Nathan Reed (written with Roger Stevens) and Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, illustrated by Steph Says Hello (written with Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan). Jan’s website is here.

Jan gave me free reign to choose any of her poems so I chose one from The Penguin in Lost Property, because it is very typical of Jan’s wonderful sense of humour, and it made me laugh.

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Unsuccessful Pets

 

Given half a chance

A skink would slink off

 

In the blink of the eye of a lynx

A skink would skulk away

 

Yes, I think a skink would slink

Because I once had a skunk

 

And it slunk

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© Jan Dean

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If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge then follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; C is for Dom Conlon

Letter C in the Poetry Feast belongs to Dom Conlon. Dom launched onto the children’s poetry scene with Astro Poetica, illustrated by Jools Wilson, a lovely collection of poems inspired by space and praised by Nicola Davies, Jon Culshaw, George Szirtes and many more. Since then he has been published in magazines and anthologies whilst performing and teaching in schools and libraries around the North West. Dom’s work can be read here.

Here is the lovely poem Dom has sent:

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Choose to be

 

You get to choose the you you are
so choose this school and you’ll go far.
You’ll get the time, you’ll get support
you’ll get to build a deep rapport

with people who’ll be friends for life
who’ll stick beside you through the strife,
who’ll listen, help and be your light
but only if you choose what’s right.

So choose the pen and not the sword,
choose to work and not get bored.
choose to be the one who said
I’m not afraid to be well-read.

Choose to sit and choose to learn
to raise your hand and take your turn
at being right (or being wrong)
because you know before too long

you’ll be the best that you can be
the kid who’ll be the one to see
that working hard beyond the bell
is an education wishing-well.

It grants a future, then guess what?
It grants you more than just one shot
at teaching maths or fixing taps
or dancing til the whole world claps,

at growing into something new
a brighter, better, braver YOU,
the sort of person who looks up
who always sees a half-full cup,

who stills joins in with every game
and still has dreams of wealth and fame
who sees a school as good, not bad
nor a jail term to be had

until you’re old enough to leave.
So choose to trust and to believe
that everything which you put in
will one-day count and be a win

even if it’s late at night
by your child’s bedside light
as they look to you and ask you why
you chose to give this school a try.

 

© Dom Conlon

 

If you would like to blog hop to the next AtoZ Challenge then follow this link.

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; A is for Poet Moira Andrew

Illustration from Wish a Wish, written by Moira Andrew and illustrated by Ana Popescu

Welcome to the A to Z challenge featuring a feast of poets and poems for every day except Sundays in April!

Letter A in the Poetry Feast this month is filled by Moira Andrew.

Moira was born and educated in Scotland. She taught in primary school, eventually becoming a Head Teacher of a primary in Bristol. During the 80s, 90s and into the 2000s she wrote stories and poetry for children. Her most recent poetry collection is Wish a Wishillustrated by Anna PopescuPoetry Space, 2016. Moira’s brilliant new website is here.

Moira has sent one of the poems from Wish a Wish!

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Portrait of a Dragon

 

If I were an artist

I’d paint the portrait

of a dragon.

 

To do a proper job

I’d borrow colours

from the world.

 

For his back I’d

need a mountain range,

all misty blue.

 

For spikes I’d use

dark fir trees pointing

to the sky

 

For overlapping scales

I’d squeeze dye from

bright anemones.

 

I’d gild his claws

like shining swords

with starlight.

 

His tail would be

a river, silver

in the sun.

 

For his head, the

secret green of forests

and deep seas.

 

And his eyes would

glow like embers in

a tinker’s fire.

 

But I’d keep the best

till last.  For his

hot breath

 

I’d use all reds and

yellows – crocus, saffron,

peony, poppy,

 

geranium, cyclamen, rose –

and fierce orange flames

from a marigold.

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© Moira Andrew

 

To blog hop to another post in the challenge, click here.

Liz Brownlee

Children’s Poets’ Climate Change blog: Be the Change

Liz’s Blog: Liz Brownlee Poet

Liz’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizpoet

KidsPoets4Climate Twitter: https://twitter.com/poets4climate

Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter: https://twitter.com/kidspoetsummit

Posted in World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day!

It’s World Poetry Day! What a fabulous thing as the day turns round the world to know that thousands and thousands of people will be Tweeting, blogging, reading, writing and trying poetic words on their palate!

Poetry has been said to be like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. But most people turn to poetry on occasions of emotional highs and lows, to express those thoughts with words that are hard to find at those times.

Here’s my fun marmite poem to celebrate the fact that we are all different, but all have a place, on World Poetry Day, and any other day.

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My Mite

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I like my mite,

my mite’s my mate,

it gets my vote

and not my hate,

I like my mite,

but others won’t,

you either like it

or you don’t.

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© Liz Brownlee

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Mites help decompose leaf litter in the woods. Without decomposers to break down all the dead material such as leaves, twigs, animal bodies, and waste materials that animals produce (poo!), there would be no soil. Without soil, nothing would grow. We would starve as there would be nothing to grow our food in, there would be no grass-eating creatures such as cattle, there would be no birds or anything that lives in trees because there would be nothing for trees to live in and no trees, no insects, no flowers… in fact the whole web of life would break down. Decomposers are creatures like bacteria, mites, earwigs, beetles, slugs, wasps, flies, and very importantly, worms.

 

Image by Heidi Elliot on Flikr by CC License.

Posted in International Womens Day

A Poem from Jan Dean on International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

Jan Dean’s latests books are The Penguin in Lost Property, illustrated by Nathan Reed (written with Roger Stevens) and Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, illustrated by Steph Says Hello, and written with Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan.

This is one of her wonderful poems from Reaching the Stars.

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Advice to Rapunzel

 

Sort yourself out.

Don’t hang around

for someone else to rescue you.

 

Give yourself a trim.

Pick up the scissors,

it’s not rocket science.

 

Make a rope ladder.

Twist one. Plait one. Improvise.

Use your head for more than growing hair.

 

Escape.

Secure the ladder

Shimmy down and leg it.

 

Don’t look back.

Get clean away

Vamoose.  Stay loose.

 

And learn your lesson.

Staying put beneath a tyrant’s thumb

is dumb.

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© Jan Dean

 

Reaching the stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, can be bought here.

Posted in Lego Poem

Teachers, Young Poets; Lego Poem Challenge

Here is my quick spider poem and Lego spider. Send me a Lego animal photo and I might write your animal a poem! If you send me a Lego animal poem you might see it here, too!

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Spidery Ways

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I’m a red-footed spider

with spidery fangs,

spider means spinner –

from spun silk I hang.

 

Related to scorpions

I’ve a poisonous bite,

but it’s not true I crawl

into mouths in the night.

 

Only females spin webs

and lay spiderling eggs,

and I taste and I hear

with the hairs on my legs.

 

I know that my scuttle

is scary to some

but I run in small bursts

for I’ve only one lung.

 

I have multiple eyes

but don’t have good sight

my eyes just spot motion

or darkness and light,

 

but my cousins, the hunters,

when hunting a snack

can see frontwards and sideways

and right round their back.

 

Despite being poisonous

I’m harmless, it’s true

for my jaws are too tiny

to take bites of you!

.

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in Poetry Awards

Apes to Zebras, Winner of the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards 2018 for Poetry

Award winning children's poetry
Apes to Zebras, by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens, Award Winner!

There aren’t many awards for children’s to poetry so it’s pretty special to win one of them!

I’m thrilled to announce, with Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens, that we have won this year’s North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award for Poetry, which is voted on by teachers from North Somerset and all over the UK.

A huge thank you to all the teachers who took the trouble to read the entire shortlist and vote on them. What a special thing. We are overjoyed that our book is helpful and being used in schools.

Over the next few days I will be sharing videos of some of the poems from the book read by the authors.

Book Award

 

 

I Bet I Can Make You Laugh, Poems by Joshua Seigal and Friends

 

There’s something in this anthology collected by Joshua Seigal to tickle all funnybones – young or old!

Joshua Seigal is an award-winning poet, performer and educator who uses poetry to develop literacy skills and inspire confidence and creativity in communication

My favourite poem was my dog, Lola’s, favourite poem. Joshua once wrote a great poem for Lola. She is one of his fans.

 

DogMatic

 

I’ve got a new DogMatic

she’s my automatic pet.

Of all the beasts I’ve ever bought

she is the best one yet.

She likes to play outside with me

but sometimes she gets wet,

and then she blows her circuitry

and ends up at the vet.

 

I’ve got a new DogMatic,

she’s my high-perfomance mate.

Of all the cronies I could own

it’s her I really rate.

I simply click a button

and she starts to calculate

the distance to the park, in metres,

from our garden gate.

 

I’ve got a new DogMatic –

she’s my electronic chum.

She’s smarter than my sister,

more efficient than my mum.

She has a byte at dinner time

and then, when she is done,

a tiny little microchip

comes plopping out her bum…

 

© Joshua Seigal

You can buy I Bet I Can Make you Laugh, humorously illustrated by Tim Wesson, here.

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2018

E is for American Children’s Poet David Elliott, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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David Elliott

David Elliott is an award-winning author of many picture books and novels for young people, the poetry series On the Farm, In the Wild, and In the Sea, illustrated by Holly Meade, On the Wing illustrated by Becca Stadtlander; and the author of the critically acclaimed BULL, a YA novel in verse retelling the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. His most recent poetry picture book In the Past, illustrated by Matthew Trueman, chronicles life on earth from the Cambrian to the present geologic era, the Quaternary. The delightful In the Past can be bought here. David’s website is here.

This is one of his gorgeous animal poems, which will be in a forthcoming book called IN THE WOODS from Candlewick Press; illustrated by Rob Dunlavey.

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The OPPOSSUM

 

Your rattish snout, your naked tail

dragging on the woodland trail:

you’re not a classic beauty.

 

You bump along the woodland track

your babies clinging to your back:

 

there’s beauty, too, in duty.

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© David Elliott

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment! Thank you!

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 —

.

there are

friends like

frog and toad —

.

I walk

down a

yellow brick road.

.

Worlds of paper

disappear —

.

only

Miss Augusta

and I

are here

in a room

filled with magic

story

rhyme.

.

and as her voice

reaches

the highest

rafter —

.

I believe in

 

once-upon-a-time

.

I believe in

.

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)

Click on the title of the post if you are on the home page to be taken to the post’s page where you will be able to comment! Thank you!

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