Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

F is for Children’s Poet and Author Vivian French, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Vivian French

Vivian was first published in 1990, after careers in the theatre, counselling and storytelling. Despite publishing around 300 titles, Viv leads a very busy life away from her keyboard conducting writing workshops for both children and adults, teaching at the University of the West of England and the Edinburgh College of Art, and mentoring new writers and illustrators. She has responded with enthusiasm to invitations from schools and libraries throughout the UK, and has toured from Orkney to Oklahoma, and particularly enjoyed running writing workshops in Ibiza and Majorca. She is constantly in demand to contribute to collections and anthologies, and one of her poems was included recently in the anthology Wonderland: Alice in Poetry, edited by Michaela Morgan (Macmillan).

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This wonderful poem by Vivian is the one in the above anthology:

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The Crocodile and the Undertaker

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‘A question,’ said the crocodile

While walking down a hill

‘I’ve drunk a vat of gasoline

Will I be very ill?’

The undertaker rubbed his hands

‘I trust you’ve made your will?’

 

The crocodile looked at him

And shed a silver tear

‘I sometimes think, my oldest friend,

You wish I wasn’t here.’

“No, no,’ the undertaker said.

‘I hold you very dear.’

 

He smiled an undertakers smile

His thoughts were cold as ice

‘A crocodile bag and shoes

Would bring a pretty price…’

But all he said was, ‘Let me buy

You dinner somewhere nice.’

 

‘Once there,’ the undertaker thought

‘I’ll have no more delays.

I’ll light the match. the gasoline

Will make a merry blaze

And so my crocodilly friend

Will end his scaly days.’

 

They found a little baker’s shop

And ordered apple pie

The undertaker lit a match —

It fizzled with a sigh

The crocodile looked at him

And winked his yellow eye

 

‘I think perhaps it’s time to dine

Pray, pass the pepper shaker

Today’s the day, my oldest friend

You go to meet your maker!’

He opened wide his toothy jaws

And ate the undertaker.

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© Vivian French

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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

F is for Children’s Poet and Educator John Foster, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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John Foster

John Foster is an educational writer and children’s poet. As well as authoring twelve books of his own poetry including The Poetry Chest (OUP) and The Land of the Flibbertigibbets (Salt), he is the UK’s most prolific anthologist of children’s poetry, having compiled over 150 anthologies. His best selling books include Twinkle, Twinkle Chocolate Bar (OUP) and the poetry collections illustrated by Korky Paul, such as A Rocketful of Space Poems (OUP). He is a frequent visitor to schools, libraries and festivals as a poetry performer. His forthcoming books include Eggs with Legsillustrated by Korky Paul (Troika) and Don’t Stand Under a Flying Cow (King’s England Press). His website is here.

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I bet you couldn’t beat this brilliant poem by John Foster – but there’s no harm in trying!

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Beat That

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Our dog ran the London Marathon

in under one hour.

He raised over a million pounds

For the Dogs Benevolent Society.

Beat that! I said.

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Our cat went on Master Chef.

He cooked a dish of minced mice

With sparrow’s beak sauce,

He won first prize and is now head chef at The Ritz.

Beat that! He said.

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Our hamster swam the Channel,

Climbed the Eiffel Tower

And rowed across the Atlantic within 24 hours.

He was knighted by the Queen

And became Prime Minister.

Beat that! I said.

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Our rabbit helped Superman

beat off an attack of mutant aliens.

He became King of the World,

and lived until he was 900 years old.

Beat that! He said.

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Our giraffe fought King Kong,

Became Master of the Universe

And ruled for a million years.

Beat that! I said.

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A giraffe couldn’t do that, he said.

This one did, I said.

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© John Foster

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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

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 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

L is for American Children’s poet B. J. Lee, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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B. J. Lee

B. J. Lee lives in Florida. Her poems appear in anthologies, including Construction People (ed. Lee Bennett Hopkins), The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry and The Poetry of US (ed. J. Patrick Lewis), One Minute Till Bedtime, illustrated by Christoph Niemann (ed. Kenn Nesbitt), available here in the US and here in the UK, and many others. Her debut picture book is coming soon.Here are B. J.’s  Website and Poetry blog

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This is her lovely poem and photo illustration, first published by Renée LaTulippe on her website, No Water River.

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© B. J. Lee

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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

M is for Children’s Poet Laura Mucha, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Laura Mucha

Laura Mucha worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer. Now she spends most of her time playing with words. Her poetry has been published in books, magazines and newspapers around the world, and she’s performed on BBC Radio, at festivals and in schools. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize. You can read and listen to Laura’s poetry here.

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This is one of Laura’s great poems:

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DEAR UGLY SISTERS 
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Bread has been baked, veggies are chopped,
salt in the pan – kitchen’s been mopped,
skirts have been washed, hoovered the floor,
took out the bins – polished the door,
cleared up the bathroom, cleaned up the sink,
washed all your socks – still really stink,
ironed the laundry, folded the sheets,
serviced the car – here’s the receipt,
dog for a walk, cat to the vet,
married a wonderful prince that I met,
leaving tonight, so good luck with the chores,
I’m dropping my apron and keys by the door.
FROM
CINDERELLA
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.© Laura Mucha
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Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

M is for Children’s Poet and Author Michaela Morgan, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Michaela Morgan

Michaela has had over 140 titles published including poetry, picture books, junior novels and non-fiction. She is a regular visitor to schools, has been shortlisted for the BBC Blue Peter Award (twice), and has won a UKRA (now UKLA) award, and many others. Her 2016 poetry book Wonderland: Alice in Poetry, illustrations by Tenniel, was shortlisted for the prestigious CLiPPA Award for poetry and her 2017 collection Reaching the Stars: Poems About Extraordinary Women and Girls co-authored with Jan Dean and Liz Brownlee has just won the North Somerset Teachers’ Award.  She is about to release a newly updated and extended third edition of How To Teach Poetry: Writing Workshops, in which she stresses the importance of poetry across the curriculum.

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Michaela is great fun – here is one of her great more serious poems from Reaching the Stars:

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Malala

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A girl with a book.

A girl with a book.

That’s what has scared them –

A girl, with a book.

 

They get onto the bus.

They call out my name.

They aim. And they fire.

A shot to the brain.

 

Because a girl with a book,

A girl with a voice,

A girl with a brain,

A girl with a choice,

A girl with a plan

To have rights, like a man.

That’s what they’re scared of

One girl, with a book.

 

A girl who has words.

A girl with a pen.

A girl to be heard

With support of her friends

Who want to live free –

That’s what they fear

a girl just like me.

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© Michaela Morgan

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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

P is for Children’s Poet Trevor Parsons, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons was born in Parsons Green, London, but, disappointingly, was not the son of a parson. After studying dentistry at London University (he decided it was not for him) he had a variety of jobs including being a postman and cataloguing pressed flowers; then he trained as a teacher and after that formed a company making models for film companies etc. Trevor has written poetry since his postman days and for the last twenty years has written for children as well. He has had poems in dozens of anthologies and in 2011 had his first children’s collection, Hear Here (illustrated by Lucy Creed) published –  available here! He also writes poems for greetings cards. This is his website.

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This is one of his witty poems:

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All About Poets

 

A poet is for life

not just for Christmas Day.

Stroking a silky-haired poet

can soothe your troubles away.

 

A long-haired breed of poet

should always be kept well-groomed.

Keep their sleeping-quarters

in a draught-free part of the room.

 

Do not indulge your poet

with titbits from your plate.

Encourage regular exercise

to avoid excessive weight.

 

It is generally thought unhealthy

to have poets in your bed.

Be sensitive about disposal

once your poet is dead.

 

Sorry, I meant to say ‘pet’.

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© Trevor Parsons

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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

R is for Children’s Poet Michael Rosen, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen was born in 1946 in Harrow, Middlesex. Many of Michael’s early books were about his life between 2 and 12, and his son Joe filmed Michael performing all the poems from The Hypnotiser; see here. His first book for children in 1974 was called Mind Your Own Business, and was illustrated wonderfully by Quentin Blake. Michael is still writing books, performing and running workshops in schools, libraries and theatres, as well as many other activities such as teaching teachers to teach poetry. His latest children’s poetry book, Jelly Boots Smelly Boots, illustrated by David Tazzyman, is here. His website is here.

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The first thing I think about when I think of Michael Rosen is chocolate cake, because of his wonderful poem. What a fabulous thing to be associated with! Here is another of his amazing poems:

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Heathrow

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I’m a suitcase

in the attic all year

I’m a suitcase

stuffed full of gear

I’m a suitcase

crammed in a hold

I’m a suitcase

freezing cold

 

Well yes…

 

I may be a suitcase

but I want to be free

I want to go to the beach,

and swim in the sea

I want to go to the mountains

and learn how to ski

I want to hear music

dance and shout

You leave me in the room

when you go out.

But I don’t want to be baggage

It’s not what I want to be.

I’m a suitcase

and I want to be free.

 

Next trip you take

you’re in for a shock

I may be quiet

shut tight with a lock

But while you’re out

enjoying the sun

I’ll escape

I’ll be on the run

A suitcase on the move

looking for fun.

I’ll be that suitcase

Yes, that’ll be me

I’m a suitcase

who wants to be free.

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© Michael Rosen

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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

R is for Children’s Poet Rachel Rooney, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Rachel Rooney

RacheI Rooney’s poetry collection The Language of Cat, latest edition illustrated by Ellie Jenkins, won the CLPE Poetry Award and was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Her second collection My Life as a Goldfish, Illustrated by Ellie Jenkinswas shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2015. Her forthcoming book A Kid in My Class, illustrated by Chris Riddell will be published by Otter-Barry Books in 2018. She visits schools for workshops with pupils and has performed her work at festivals and for The Children’s Bookshow. She was Chair of Judges for the CLiPPA 2017 and the Betjeman Poetry Prize. Her website is here.

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Here is one of her wonderful poems:

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Who?

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Who cast the P from a spell

sold it for profit as sell,

then kept what was left

in a locked letter chest?

 

And who sucked the O from a hoop,

hopped off with that loop

which she balanced for fun

on the tip of her tongue?

 

Who stole the E from a cheat

in the street when they met for a chat,

slipped her hand in a bag

and made off with the swag?

 

Then who plucked the T from a thorn,

carved an ivory pen out of horn

and dipped it in ink…

Well, who do you think did that?

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© Rachel Rooney (From The Language of Cat, Francis Lincoln Books)

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Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

R is for Children’s Poet John Rice, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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John Rice

John Rice is a Scottish poet who writes for both children and adults. He has published 12 collections including Bears Don’t Like Bananas and Dreaming of Dinosaurs which were illustrated by Charles Fuge. His most recent book for children was Guzzling Jelly with Giant Gorbelly. He is a regular contributor to anthologies and his poems have been used in educational exams all over the world. During the Robert Burns 250th anniversary celebrations (2008-2010) he was Poet-in-Residence in Glasgow. He has been Chair of the Society of Authors’ Authors North group and a member of the Society’s Poetry & Spoken Word Group. John’s website is here.

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Here is one of John’s lovely poems:

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Dazzledance

 

I have an eye of silver,

I have an eye of gold,

I have a tongue of reed-grass

and a story to be told.

 

I have a hand of metal,

I have a hand of clay,

I have two arms of granite

and a song for every day.

 

I have a foot of damson,

I have a foot of corn,

I have two legs of leaf-stalk

and a dance for every morn.

 

I have a dream of water,

I have a dream of snow,

I have a thought of wildfire

and a harp-string long and low.

 

I have an eye of silver,

I have an eye of gold,

I have a tongue of reed-grass

and a story to be told.

..

© John Rice

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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

S is for Children’s Poet Marilyn Singer, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer was winner of the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry, and is the author of over one hundred books, many of which are poetry collections; including Feel the Beat: Dance Poems That Zing from Salsa to Swing illustrated by Kristi Valiant, (Dial); and three books of “reversos”: Mirror Mirror, Follow Follow, and Echo Echo, all illustrated by Josee Masse, published by Dial. Marilyn co-hosts the Poetry Blast, which features children’s poets reading their work at conferences. She and her husband, Steve Aronson, live in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, CT, with their pets. Her website is here.

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Here is one of her poems:

 

ALL OVER THE WORLD, DANCING IS JOY

 

All over the world,

dancing

is

joy.

Move your feet.

Spin.

Sway.

Just

feel the beat,

the rhythm.

Find

a partner.

Grab

your shoes.

All you can lose are

the blues.

Dance, dance away.

Now’s your chance!

What do you say?

 

JOY IS DANCING ALL OVER THE WORLD

 

What do you say?

Now’s your chance.

Dance, dance away

the blues.

All you can lose are

your shoes.

Grab

a partner.

Find

the rhythm.

Feel the beat.

Just

sway,

spin,

move your feet.

Joy

Is

dancing

all over the world!

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© Marilyn Singer (From her book Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing, ill. by Kristi Valiant, published by Dial, 2017)

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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

S is for Children’s Poet Joshua Seigal, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Joshua Seigal

Joshua Seigal is a London-based poet, a great performer as you see above, and educator. He has three published books and has performed all over the world. He has held residencies at numerous schools, is an official National Poetry Day Ambassador, and was shortlisted for a National Literacy Trust Award and the Laugh Out Loud Award. Joshua works with children of all ages and abilities, as well as running training days for teachers and doing comedy and spoken word performances for grown ups. His website is here and his book, I don’t Like Poetry, illustrated by Chris Piascik, here.

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Here is the great title poem from that book!

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I Dont LikPoetry

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I don’t like similes.

Every time I try to think of one

my brain feels like a vast, empty desert;

my eyes feel like raisins floating in an ocean;

my fingers feel like sweaty sausages.

I don’t like metaphors.

Whenever I attempt them

a hammer starts beating in my chest;

lava starts bubbling in my veins;

zombies have a fight in my stomach.

I don’t like alliteration.

We learnt about it in school

but it’s seriously, stupendously silly;

definitely drastically difficult;

terribly, troublingly tricky.

I don’t like onomatopoeia.

I wish I could blow it up

with a ZAP! and a BANG! and a CRASH!;

a BOOM! and a CLANG! and a POW!;

a CLASH! and a BAM! and a THUD!

And I don’t like repetition

I don’t like repetition

I don’t like repetition…

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© Joshua Seigal

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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

T is for Children’s Poet Nick Toczek, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

© Gaynor Toczek

Nick Toczek

Nick Toczek is a British writer and performer who has had more than forty books and dozens of recording published. As well as being a poet, he’s a rock journalist (for the magazine RnR), a radio broadcaster with his own week show (on BCB Radio), a professional magician and puppeteer, and an authority on the activities of racist groups in the UK and in America. To find our more about him, check out his Wikipedia page here and his Authors Abroad page here. His own brand new website is currently under construction and should be fully active by summer 2018. (I will add it then!)

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Here is one of his great poems:

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WINTER AT THE ZOO

 

When round the zoo it starts to freeze

The chimpanzees’ll hug their knees

While monkeys, donkeys, fish and fleas

And marmosets and manatees,

Brown bears, baboons and bumble bees

And other breeds of beasts like these

Bronchitically sneeze and wheeze

From cough, cold, flu or such disease.

 

But we don’t, we don’t, we don’t care

Says penguin to the polar bear.

 

And round and round and round and round

The neck of every tall giraffe

Is wound and wound and wound and wound

An oh-so-lengthy woollen scarf.

And each bird hunching in its nest,

Beak thrust between its wing and chest,

Stays warm by being doubly dressed

In plumage plus a thermal vest.

 

But we don’t, we don’t, we don’t care

Says penguin to the polar bear.

 

The stags and stallions and stoats

Start wrapping snakes around their throats,

While gibbons, guppies, geese and goats

Wear gabardines and overcoats,

And all the cats and bats and rats

And fat wombats and tall meerkats

To keep warm leap like acrobats

While wearing socks and gloves and hats.

 

But we don’t, we don’t, we don’t care

Says penguin to the polar bear.

 

The snow lies thick on distant hills.

Ice forms on pools and window-sills.

There’s frost on fencing, bars and grills.

Now no ker-chinging fills the tills,

No visitors to pay the bills.

The heat’s turned down. The whole place chills.

No hoots or howls or growls or trills.

A silence falls that saps all wills.

 

But we don’t, we don’t, we don’t care

Says penguin to the polar bear.

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© Nick Toczek

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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