Posted in School Libraries

I Support School Libraries!

Regular readers may have noticed an addition to the side bar of Poetry Roundabout – wonderful Philip Ardagh has been appointed Ambassador of the School Libraries Group. School libraries are ESSENTIAL, so I am thrilled to be able to display this image to say so.

Three in ten children in the UK do not own a book. Being able to read is the foundation of all eduction – every subject relies on this ability.

But it’s not just about being the basis for basic or academic learning – neuroscientists have found that reading fiction (and poetry!) lights up the same areas in the brain that real life does. Wait, what? Yes! Reading can give your child the benefit of experience they might never get in any other way. Not only are they receiving information about other places to live and ways of living, other ways of looking at life, facts about a myriad of subjects which may spark an interest in areas you could not have predicted, it places them literally into another person’s shoes, and thus fosters empathy.

Being able to understand how another person is feeling and react appropriately gives you the ability to lead a happy and successful life at work and home. Access to a library is the very best thing we can do for our children and their futures. And it’s achievable.

So let’s make sure it happens.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

A is for Author and Children’s Poet Philip Ardagh, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

© Dotty Hendrix


Philip Ardagh

Best known as an author of children’s prose (and for his beard), Philip Ardagh also writes poetry for all ages; his poems appearing in a variety of anthologies. These include Green Glass Beads, collected by Jacqueline Wilson, Read Me and Laugh, collected by Gaby Morgan, A Million Brilliant Poems (part one), collected by Roger Stevens, and Puppy Poems  collected by Gaby Morgan. This is Philip on Tumblr and on Twitter. I know Philip as a very, very funny man – this poem doesn’t reflect that, but it is one of my favourites of his:


Goodbye, Good Boy


Old, old friend.

Stiff-boned now,

Like Grandma’s fingers.

My first true love.

I bury my face in your fur,

Black, now streaked with white.

You smell of sunshine

And golden days of play.

You manage to lift your head

And look at me with trusting

Amber eyes.


I recall your puppy days

And all we’ve shared together since.

The secrets that I’ve told you,

Best dog. Best friend.

A part of me forever.

Kind hands lift you from me.

It is time.

I will be with you until the end, boy.

I’m right here at your side.

And afterwards? You will live

In my thoughts,

the happiest wet-nosed memory of all.


But first the pain.

Who knew unhappiness

Could feel like this?

You thump your tail on the

stainless-steel table.

My heart-bursting wish,

Trough burning eyes,

To turn back time.

Goodbye, Good boy.

Good dog.


© Philip Ardagh

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Posted in Freedom Poem, National Poetry Day 2017

#NationalPoetryDay Freedom Poem by Philip Ardagh

‘A Small Poem For A Big Subject’
To be born free
Is how it should be.  
It should be the norm,
The standard,
The default setting.
To be born free
Is how it should be.
It should be the usual,
The convention,
The constant.
To be born free
Is how it should be.
As it is for me.
Free to talk,
Free to walk,
Free to balk,
At the lies
Our leaders
Feed us.
Not to be thrown
In jail
For an email.
Not to be the property
Of another
Not to be silenced
To be born free
Is how it should be.