Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZChallenge; M is for Michaela Morgan

And who else could it be, with such a perfect name other than award-winning poet 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. 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 won the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award 2017.  Her book How To Teach Poetry: Writing Workshops, stresses the importance of poetry across the curriculum.

Here is the poem Michaela has chosen, from Reaching the Stars.

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Tinker… Tailor

 

I could be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a vet.

I could be a mother, an artist, or the pilot of a jet.

I could be the one who speaks up for a revolution

Or a steady force for status, calm, order, institution.

I could be a strutting model or a structural engineer

Or I could march in uniform to fight foe, or fire, or fear.

I could be a juggler… a jeweller…

What could be my scene?

Whatever it is, I choose to be

A fully fledged human being.

 

© Michaela Morgan

 

If you would like to blog hop to another AtoZ Challenge please 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

# A to Z Challenge, B is for Liz Brownlee

Sue Hardy-Dawson, Me and Roger Stevens after our NSTBA win

The second post is me, because I handily have a surname beginning with B. I write poems for kids and I’m a National Poetry Day Ambassador, a role I take very seriously.

I have my own website, but run this website to showcase all children’s poets and the wonderful work they do to celebrate children’s poetry and everything it encourages, such as empathy, understanding, reading ability, education, etc. The website contains poetry videos for kids, poetry activities for kids, poetry games for kids, everything to do with poetry for young people!

I run the Children’s Poetry Summit Twitter feed, as well as my own, and also the Twitter account for KidsPoets4Climate, supporting our children in their fight for their climate. If you have any suitable sustainability poems, do send them for tweeting!  There is also my blog called BetheChange about sustainability for children.

In August, a book of sustainability poems I have written with Matt Goodfellow (link to Matt’s article, What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) and Roger Stevens (link to Roger’s article, Three Simple Steps to Perk Up Your Poems) will be out, called Be the Change – we are all very excited about it!

I also love going into schools, to libraries, performances and literary festivals with all the books’ subjects, but my favourites are animals, rainforest and sustainability readings and workshops.

You might think I’d have no time for writing, but I love writing for children; my books are Animal Magic, Poems on a Disappearing World (about endangered animals), Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls (about some of the countless women who have shaped history, until now), The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship (what it says on the tin), Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems, a book of animal poems in the shapes of the animals they are about, and out on August 8, Be the Change, Poems About Sustainability

Reaching the Stars won the prestigious NSTBA for poetry in 2017 and Apes to Zebras won it in 2018, with The Same Inside being shortlisted.

Here is my poem for the poetry feast:

Pelican

And here’s the poem written down!

 

Pelican

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A pelican scoops up to consume

its seafood soup with its own spoon;

the spoon unfolds into a dish,

and soon as it is full of fish

which wiggle-waggle round inside,

the pelican swallows, goggle-eyed.

Oh, what efficient use of space

to keep a kitchen in its face!

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© Liz Brownlee, poem and shape.

 

If you’d like to blog hop to another A-Z Challenge, follow this link.

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 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 A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

B is for Children’s Poet Liz Brownlee, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Liz Brownlee

Liz Brownlee is the children’s poet who collated this A-Z (in answer to a survey in the UK which found teachers were mostly unable to name more than one children’s poet). Liz is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, hosts this website, and runs the Twitter feed for @kidspoetsummit. Her latest books are Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, Macmillan, written with Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, which won the N. Somerset Teachers’ Book awards in 2017,  The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship, Macmillan, written with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, and Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems, Bloomsbury, written with Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. Liz loves visiting schools, libraries, literary festivals etc. and has read in town centres to the Southbank Centre accompanied by her assistance dog, Lola. Her website is here and Twitter here..

This is a poem from Apes to Zebras, An A-Z of Shape Poems:

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.© Liz Brownlee

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 International Womens Day

Poem for #InternationalWomensDay ‘Girls of the Week’ by Michaela Morgan

Girls of the Week

Monday’s girl stands up proud.
Tuesday’s girl speaks clear and loud.
Wednesday’s girl likes to dream and ponder.
Thursday’s girl loves to wander.
Friday’s child can be slow – or speedy.
Saturday’s child will help the needy.
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is as good as the rest in every way.

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© Michaela Morgan

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From Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by Liz Brownlee, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, Macmillan.

Posted in International Womens Day

Poem for #InternationalWomensDay – The Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes

Bobby Riggs, a 1939 tennis champion, unwisely asserted that the female tennis game was inferior and that a top female player could not beat him. In 1973, Billie Jean King, who fought constantly for recognition and equality for women in sport, accepted his challenge, determined to beat him. She felt it would set the progress of women back fifty years if she lost and affect all women’s self-esteem. In front of a worldwide television audience of almost fifty million, she beat him easily. The match was called ‘The Battle of the Sexes’.

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Bobby Riggs, tennis champ,

said a woman couldn’t

beat a man . . .

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Billie Jean King, tennis champ,

in three straight sets, showed

a woman can.

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© Liz Brownlee

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From Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by Liz Brownlee, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, Macmillan.

Posted in Poetry Book Parade

#Suffragette100 Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls

Poems from the collection by Michaela Morgan and Liz Brownlee.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of SOME women getting the right to vote in the UK. Although things are much improved, amazingly, the struggle for equality (notably, and recently in the press, wage equality) is still going on.

Written to mark the suffragette anniversaries in the past year and this, Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls has proved extremely popular, particularly with teachers, in fact it recently won the N. Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards for poetry.

It celebrates the lives of women through history who have made a difference to humanity in a myriad of ways – not just those women we have all heard of (From Boudica, through Anne Bonny the pirate, to Frida Khalo, Marie Curie, and Helen Keller to Malala Yousafzai and Hilary Clinton) but those that are much less known, or overlooked, or written out of history, or who will never be known… such as the ‘Unknown Worriers’, who kept the home fires burning. It also includes poems about feminism, and some modern young women who have made a difference in their communities.

Of course, there are a poems about the suffragettes – but, perhaps not surprisingly, many of women in the book (whilst they weren’t and were fighting the system to become doctors, scientists, fashion-reformers) also supported women’s suffrage.

Each poem is proceeded by a short biography of the person in the poem.

It seems the right day for sharing part of Jan Dean’s poem, Suffragette.

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Part of ‘Suffragette’

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I want to make my own choice.

I need to use my own voice

I won’t be silent, won’t ignore important things –

the world has queens as well as kings.

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And so I march, protest and claim my right

to take part in my country’s life.

I want what’s fair – to have my say

on who makes laws and who holds sway.

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© Jan Dean

Posted in Poet's Piece

Kick Start by Jan Dean

Jan Dean is the author of Wallpapering the Cat, Macmillan, A Penguin in Lost Property, Macmillan, (with Roger Stevens) and Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls Macmillan, (with me and Michaela Morgan).

She has also written two fiction books for children, but describes herself as “a poet who sometimes writes fiction, not a fictioneer who knocks of the occasional poem.”

Jan is great fun and a brilliant poet who works in schools – her projects have also included working with groups from Covent Garden’s innovative music theatre education programme in the Purcell School for gifted young musicians and writing in the environment with Northumberland schools. She has led workshops for both adults and children in Manchester, Liverpool and Chester Cathedrals, and has also run workshops at major festivals. 

Jan’s blog is here and her Twitter account is @glitterpoems

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Kick Start

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I hate grey weather. It makes me miserable. Sometimes I wonder if the weather has seeped inside my head and filled me up with fog… and when I feel like this I find it hard to write. So I have to kick-start the process. These are some of the things I do:

• Look out of a window and write down the first three/four things you notice, then go to another window and do the same. (You can do this for every window in the house if you like.)

• Say the words out loud to hear if there are any interesting sound patterns going on in the lists

• Visualise the things in the list to see if there are any striking colours/pictures.

• Write six or seven opening lines based on the list. (You don’t have to use everything and you can mix the lists up. Or you can write one verse about your room and one about a better/worse room.)

• Work up the best four into draft poems – be sure to weave your mood and any changes of feeling into the drafts. Remember that once you start writing you don’t have to stick to the ‘truth’ of what you saw. Making the words work is what counts.

I did this one from the list of stuff from my window. It might be finished. I won’t know for sure until I’ve put it away for a few weeks and then come back and re- read it.

Outside
Wren in the hedge. Hopping
like a brown ball. Stopping
for a second on the red brick wall.
I wish I had just an ounce
of your bounce…

Slug on the step. Sliding
smooth as oil. Gliding
by milk bottles then back to black soil.
Writing your route in slime
while I write mine in rhyme.

I did see a bird in the hedge – but it wasn’t a wren. And I did see a slug – but it wasn’t on the step. I changed what I saw to improve the sounds and rhythms in the poem. (My actual list was: Blue tit in hedge bouncing on branch. Bright blue car in road. Slug on ivy root. Recycling bag on gate.)

I’ve got a couple of other drafts to work on too – one about how sinister ivy is – the way it creeps and clings and takes over; and one about matching your day to the first thing you see when you open the curtains that might begin like this:

‘Today is a tin can day
a clattering day
a rolling away day

Today I am going to bang about
slam doors
howl under beds
and throw stuff….’

Or it might not. I’ll have to see how it goes.

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Jan Dean

Posted in Poetry Awards

North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award Poetry Winner

There are few poetry awards for children’s poetry – but the Carnegie has some nominations this year, which is fabulous; Joe Coelho for Overheard in a Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books), Michael Rosen for What is Poetry, illustrated by Jill Calder (Walker Books), and Kate Wakeling for Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Braslina (The Emma Press).

The main one is the CLPE, or the CLiPPA (The Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award), which is the only National award in the UK for published children’s poetry.

Winning a poetry award as you can imagine is something that happens very rarely and when it does, as you can imagine, children’s poets jump for joy.

So when Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by Liz Brownlee, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, cover illustrated by Steph Says Hello (Macmillan), won the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards for poetry this year, one of the people dancing was me.

North Somerset teachers love it, and are using it a lot, which means that teachers everywhere probably do – and that means a lot to us, as teachers really know what pupils like and want and need. We are thrilled.  *Jumps for joy*