Posted in Poet's Piece

Chrissie Gittins asks, Are Children Ever Too Young for Poetry?

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. Not only has she been visiting schools as a poet for over 20 years, she 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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Are Children Ever Too Young For Poetry?

 

I live next door to twins – Billie and Milo. When they were three years old I discovered that Billie called her dollies Baby Door and Baby Floor. This begged for a poem. I wrote ‘Billie’s Dollies’ and took a copy next door to show her. The family had visitors and I was asked to read/perform the poem to them all. There was much laughter.

Milo also wanted a poem. He is mad about leaf blowers and asked if I would write a poem about a leaf blower, which I did. Their parents framed both poems and hung them on the wall in their bedroom. Just before they got into bed they would say the poems together. Before they could read them they would run their fingers along the lines as they remembered them. They enjoyed the rhymes and could pick out their names and recognise repeated words. After their parents left the room they would say the lines to each other.

I’m so pleased that I contributed in a small way to the twins learning to read, and to their enjoyment of poetry.

‘Milo the Leaf Blower’ will appear in the anthology ‘Poems Out Loud’ published by Penguin in September 2019.

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Billie’s Dollies

 

Billie has two dollies,

Each dolly has a name,

One dolly is called Baby Door,

The other one’s called Baby Floor.

 

Billie throws Baby Floor to the ceiling,

Then she pushes Baby Door to the wall,

They all look out of the window,

Then Billie shouts ‘More! More! More!’

 

They all go into the garden,

Where the dollies are planted in soil,

Soon the two beautiful dollies,

Become Four! Four! Four!

 

© Chrissie Gittins

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Milo The Leaf Blower

 

Milo is a Leaf Blower,

He blows every single leaf,

They spin and twirl and hit the ground –

He catches three leaves in his teeth.

 

The golden leaves lie in a pile,

They cover Milo’s nose,

No matter how much Milo blows –

They pile up on his toes.

 

Milo blows and blows the leaves,

The orange and the red,

But if the wind blows North to West –

They pile up on his head!

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© Chrissie Gittins

 

Posted in Poetry Celebration/Anniversary

Poetry Zone – a Celebration of 20 years of Children’s Poetry!

Last night in London, in the setting of the CLPE‘s wonderful library, was the FABULOUS party to mark the 20th anniversary of PoetryZone, the website started by the wonderful poet Roger Stevens, and the publishing of the excellent book above by way of celebration.

PoetryZone has supported and encouraged many generations of children in their poetry by giving them arena to post their poems, see them published, and get feedback – it is a wonderful resource for young poets everywhere; it has had more than a MILLION visitors in its 20 years on the web!.

PoetryZone, a Celebration of 20 Years of Children’s Poetry, is published by Troika, and is chock-full of Roger’s favourite poems by a number of top children’s poets – and also some mind-blowing poems by some of the 30,000 children who have had their work published on the PoetryZone website.

The night was a happy mix of lovely children’s poets (a whole boatload of whom turned up to help celebrate and honour Roger) and poetry, with readings from the poets present, including me, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Laura Mucha, James Carter, Andrea Shavick, Trevor Parsons, Coral Rumble, Celia Warren, John Agard, and of course, Roger himself.

A very lovely evening indeed.

 

Posted in Poetry Videos

A Folly of Poets…

Here are the out-takes and boo-boos and some of the fun takes from a group of children’s poets who met earlier in the year to make some poetry films and do a poetry performance…

I give you, A FOLLY OF POETS, Ed Boxall, Liz Brownlee, Jan Dean, John Dougherty, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Trevor Millum, Eric Ode, Andrea Shavick, Roger Stevens, Philip Waddell, Celia Warren, and Bernard Young.

All the above poets have websites where the actual poem performance might or might not appear… but I can tell you, mine, Back in the Future, is on my site, here!

 

Posted in Poetry in Education

Teachers!

Do you want to enthuse your pupils with a love of words and give them ways of expressing themselves and extend their vocabulary at the same time as giving them a fabulously entertaining day?

There is one way to do this – invite a poet in to your school to read, perform, excite, enthuse, inspire and do workshops with them!

In the tabs at the top of the site is an A-Z of poets working in schools. Most are working in this country. Have a look! There may be one near you… including me!

Posted in #AtoZChallenge, Poetry Competition

COMPETITION NOW OPEN!!! #AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallenge

Hidden in the A-Z of 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.

To read through the entries more easily you can access them at the top of the page under the tab: A-Z List of Children’s Poets.

It’s now the end of the A-Z send and time to 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, Poetry Competition

#AtoZChallenge Competition! #AtoZChallenge

Only a few more days left of the A-Z of Children’s Poets – have you spotted any imposter poets yet? 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. Have a read through of the entries and see who you think they are and then follow the instructions below! Good Luck!

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-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 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 Poetry Competition

AtoZ Poetry Competition! #AtoZChallenge

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

K is for Children’s Poet Jackie Kay #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. Jackie writes for adults as well as children; her children’s titles include Strawgirl (Macmillan) and Red Cherry Red (Bloomsbury), available here, which won the CLiPPA (CLPE Poetry Award).  Alongside books, Jackie has written extensively for stage and television; her play BRINK was performed at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester.  She is also Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.  She made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002 and was awarded an MBE in 2006.  More recently, in March 2016, Jackie Kay was named Scots Makar—the National Poet for Scotland. You can read more about Jackie here.

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This is her moving poem:

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My Face is a Map

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I was born with a map of Australia on my face;
it was beautiful, my mother told me –
there was nobody like me in the whole wide world
who could trace the edges of down under
on the raised and grafted song line of her face.

I was connected to the upside-down people,
to those who loved the bush and the kangaroo.
I could never smile or frown or weep
in case my special map fell off my face.
My face was pulled tight, so that nobody got lost.

I held my head steady and I held my head high.
When people gaped and gawped and gawked
I thought they were trying to find Alice Springs,
to work out where they wanted to go, where they’d been.
And when somebody stared for a very long time

I would simply ask if they’d been down under:
the hardest human heart melts when it sees a koala bear.
My words were slower than other children’s
because my map was stitched to my mouth:
every time I managed a whole sentence

I imagined a small boat floating out of Sydney harbour.
Yesterday there was talk of peeling my map off,
changing my face, so that it looks like others;
my mother said I should have a long think,
and that maybe life would be easier…

I am thinking now, staring hard into the mirror.
I trace the hard edges of the world in my face.
I know the hard stares of some people.
Without my map, will I be the same person?
Will I know where I am, where I have been?

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© Jackie Kay (From Red Cherry Red, Bloomsbury, winner of the 2008 CLiPPA award)

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

L is for American Children’s Poet J. Patrick Lewis, #AtoZ Challenge #ZtoA

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J. Patrick Lewis 

After a wild and rugged youth as a bronco rider, lobster fisherman, opera singer, confidential police informant,  Economics professor, and Russian spy—he has been to Moscow thirteen times (shhh!)—J. Patrick Lewis is now  in the Federal Witness Protection Program in XXXX, Ohio, USA with XXXX, his wife, and two vicious K-9 guard  toy poodles. Please do not ask to see his secret tattoos. His alter ego, J. Patrick Lewis poet, has published 110 children’s picture and poetry books to date with Knopf, Atheneum, Dial, Harcourt,  Little, Brown, National Geographic, Creative Editions, Chronicle, Scholastic, and others. The Poetry Foundation named him the third U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate (2011-2013). Recent books include the series Let’s Celebrate Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Halloween,  and Everything is a Poem: The Best of J. Patrick Lewis. His website is  here.

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Here is one of his lovely poems;

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How the Yellow Jacket

Lost her Shyness

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The King of England

Once was stung

Upon his royal bottom,

And you could hear

A yellow jacket

Yell, “Oh, boy, I got ‘im!”

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And that is how

The yellow jacket

Finally lost her shyness,

And how the English

Came to call the King

“His Royal Highness!”

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© J. Patrick Lewis

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 Poetry Competition

AtoZ Poetry Competition! #AtoZChallenge

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 Poetry Competition

AtoZ Poetry Competition! #AtoZChallenge

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 Poetry Competition

A-Z Poetry Competition! #AtoZChallenge

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

S is for Children’s Poet and Author Andrea Shavick, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Andrea Shavick

Andrea Shavick is an experienced UK writer with 27 books published including best-selling children’s picture books, funny children’s poetry and a biography of Roald Dahl that’s still in print around the world after 20 years! Her poetry book, Grandma was Eaten by a Shark can be bought here. For freelance writing/commissions please get in touch via Andrea’s website here.

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Here is Andrea’s shark poem!

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Grandma Was Eaten by a Shark!

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Grandma was eaten by a shark

Dad, by a killer whale

And my baby brother got slurped up

By a rather hungry sea snail

 

A cuttlefish cut my mum to bits

An octopus strangled my sister

A jellyfish stung my auntie’s toes

Giving her terrible blisters

 

A pufferfish poisoned my grandpa

A dogfish ate my cat

And then a catfish ate my dog!

I was very upset about that

 

So you go for a swim if you like

Just don’t ask me to come too

I’m staying here with my camera

I can’t wait to see what gets you!

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© Andrea Shavick

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