Posted in Poetry Art and Craft

Words Grow on Trees – Art and Poetry Idea from Sue Hardy-Dawson

Yay! I’m very happy to have a guest art and poetry blog post here from the lovely Sue Hardy-Dawson!

Words Grow on Trees

Why not write and decorate your own word tree? Here’s how:

First of all you might start with a list of tree related words – I sometimes write my list as a mind map.

I have put a few ideas in mine, I bet you can think of lots more things the parts of the tree look, feel, sound and smell like.

I started mine with, ‘Words grow on trees’, because we’re making a word tree. Also when I was small and used to ask for more of my share of something grownups often used to say ‘Do you think they grow on trees?’ which if it was new shoes or a biscuit I thought was funny.

The first verse is about the roots. You will have different ideas so your roots will be made of different things.

 

Words grow on trees

from knotted roots

like coiled ropes

round ancient bones.

 

The next verse is about the trunk, I thought about the texture, things it reminded me of.

 

My tree has a fat trunk

bark, leathery and cracked

as elephant skin.

 

The next verse is about the branches, I thought about them being held up to the sky like arms, you will have your own ideas.

 

Long, strong branches

that can hold the moon.

 

The last verse is about the leaves. Mine are spring leaves, soft, green and new but yours might be autumn leaves and different colours or thick dark shady ones. I wanted my poem to end with words as it was a word tree and I thought about trees whispering words. Again it’s your poem so there are no wrong ideas.

 

Spring brings new buds

of soft green leaves

everyone of them soon

whispering different words.

 

Once you have written your poem, you are ready to make your word tree. Here’s my finished poem and this is what you do next.

 

Words Grow on Trees

 

Words grow on trees

from knotted roots

like coiled ropes

round ancient bones.

 

My tree has a fat trunk,

bark, leathery and cracked

as elephant skin.

 

Long, strong branches

that can hold the moon.

 

Spring brings new buds

of soft green leaves.

Everyone of them soon

whispering different words.

 

So here’s how to write out your poem, in the shape of a tree, starting with the roots at the bottom, so you read it up instead of down. It’s probably easier to show you so here is a picture:

Now the really good thing about trees is that you can’t really go wrong, so if as I did you have a word that sticks out it just looks like a twig. Basically, as long as it’s sort of thin in the middle, is wider at the root and has some branches it’s going to look like a tree.

Once you have written your poem in a tree shape, you are ready to put the leaves on. You could just draw them of course but I did mine with finger prints in paint. It works best with two or more colours and I would suggest you have another spare sheet of paper nearby to dab your finger on first so it’s not too thick and drippy.

Here’s how I built mine up:

So here’s my tree and I think it looks quite nice like that and of course you might just want to leave it there.

However I thought it might be even nicer to cut it out and stick it onto a different colour background and add some grass and other bits. So that’s what I did with mine and here it is:

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

Thank you so much Sue for that fabulous idea! 

Posted in A Rainbow of Poems, Poetry Book Parade

If I Were Other Than Myself, by Sue Hardy-Dawson

Oh, Sue Hardy-Dawson. I was waiting for another book from Sue, and it arrived through the post a little while ago – but I didn’t want to post a review until I had read it all, and really, it takes a while to read and notice all the details, the metaphor, the wordplay, the delicious words, the beauty within Sue’s poems.

And to make the perfection whole – Sue’s own illustrations – which of course exactly complement the poems.

This book has everything you could possibly want from a poetry book and lot of more besides, which you could never dream of wanting, because Sue’s imagination is rich and wild and free and unique.

Order it now and step into Sue’s world – you won’t regret it. Here is a small sample. If I Were Other Than Myself, Troika, Sue Hardy-Dawson.

Funny poems a day resuming soon – I fell over and hurt myself and have taken a few days to rest! All fine, now!

Posted in Funny Poem a Day

A Funny Poem a Day – Sue Hardy-Dawson

Lola (pictured with Gromit in Bristol)  says let’s hear some laughter! For teachers, parents, children  (this is a safe site) and anyone who could do with a giggle. thank you so much to lovely Sue.

A review is coming soon of her absolutely FABULOUS new book… If I Were Other Than Myself, Troika Books.

 

Toilet Humour

 

Miss, my last 2p

fell in the loo

where there should’ve been 1 p

there’s 1 plus 2

 

Me! Get it out?

No it’s covered

 

in dirty water…

So what I was thinking is

Missss – can you?

 

Or better still

get me a clean one?

 

©SHD 2020

Posted in Favourite Children's Poetry

Laura Mucha: Favourite Poetry Books

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. She is extraordinary fun to know and I can guarantee that in any room, you will always know where she is by the laughs. Laura’s 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. Laura’s book about Love – Love Factually  is non-fiction, and her debut collection is due out next year. You can read and listen to some of Laura’s poetry here.

Heard It In The Playground by Allan Ahlberg.

I’ve been reading a lot of his picture books lately and wanted to check back in with his poetry so I re-read this collection. Child-centred, witty and technically brilliant. Boom.

Everything All At Once by Steven Camden.

I’ve been reflecting on what makes a good collection recently and have concluded that an original and authentic voice plays a huge role. Steve Camden has that totally nailed. This collection feels like he climbed into the minds of KS3 students and articulated their inner workings via poetry.

Plum by Tony Mitton. A classic. Read it.

Selected Poems for Children by Charles Causley.

Predictive spelling keeps changing his name to Charles Casually – and I wonder whether there’s some truth in that. His poems seem so effortless that it feels like they just popped out of him while he brushed his teeth or washed the dishes. I wonder whether he spoke at all times in perfect metre and rhyme.

A Kid in My Class by Rachel Rooney Rooney is a whizz with words and, as always, combines insight with technical rigour in her most recent collection. Combine her words with Chris Riddell’s illustrations and you have a stonkingly good book.

Where Zebras Go by Sue Hardy-Dawson I don’t understand how Hardy-Dawson’s brain works, but I love it. She creates sketches, doodles and sculpts with words and crafts poems I wish I could write.

The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship by Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Matt Goodfellow.

Brilliant poems looking at important themes written by exceptional poets. What’s not to like?

Dear Ugly Sisters by Laura Mucha I’ve read this about 1,526,927 times now and I’m sick of it. It comes out next year but I never want to read it again. Please don’t make me.

Laura Mucha

Posted in Favourite Children's Poetry

Sue Hardy-Dawson; My Favourite Poetry Books

My Favourite Books of Poems

Here is the third in a series where I ask children’s poets what their favourite poetry books are – they must choose 5-8 books, one of their own, and they can if they wish choose a book of poems for adults, too. Welcome this week to lovely Sue Hardy-Dawson!

My house is full of books, far more than my long suffering family think anyone should have. Of those I suspect roughly two thirds are poetry. I thought I would enjoy doing this and I did, but oh dear choosing eight, that was agony. I have many talented poet friends, far more than eight. So I elected not to choose from them, an impossible choice. Instead I’ve gone with poets either dear and departed, or books that had a profound effect on me.

I’m going to start at the very beginning with A A Milne, I’m cheating a bit because I have a book with both When We Were Very Young and Now We are Six in. I might as well because a friend stole my individual copies so I feel exonerated in this. My dad at bedtime used to act out The Dormouse and the Doctor and The King’s Breakfast. I could go on. I loved them the whole experience was so sensory, so loved and cuddly. Definitely the beginning of my lifelong love of poetry.

My next choice is 4 O’CLOCK on Friday. John Foster just somehow put together a wonderful anthology. I could write a whole article on John’s anthologies. I give mention to the First Book, 2nd Book etc series. I love them so.

Manifold Manor, Philip Gross, is my next choice. I love everything about it. Again sensory and there’s something wonderful about Chris Riddell’s understated yet mystical ravens.

My next choice is The Best of Ted Hughes, I fell in love with his Thought Fox when I was fourteen. It’s an indelible memory of a sticky hot June class room from which I escaped into a midnight snowy garden and the hot stink of fox. I confess my copy is stained and has loose pages. It has traveled with me on almost every holiday I’ve ever been on.

My next choice is The Oldest Girl in the World, Carol Anne Duffy. Again wonderfully synaesthetic poetry. It encapsulates myths and fairytales, one I often return to.

My next is a book that I think deserved much more recognition than it got, The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poetry. This is just gorgeous, the full stunning illustrations alone are enough to merit its inclusion. But Celia Warren has created a beautifully balanced collection here. One for all the family to enjoy for years.

My next is To Catch an Elephant, by the late great Bradford Laureate, Gerard Benson. What can I say about these beautiful, fun and poignant poems. I hear his river voice in all of them. If you haven’t come across him it’s well worth a look. His poetry for both adults and children is just joyous.

So these are just a few of the books that I keep by my bed, that I often dip into. I count myself very lucky to do what I do, my child self would never have thought it possible. Where Zebras Go, my first collection, was published by Otter-Barry Books in 2017. But I’m conscious I owe almost all of this to the wonderful legacy of poets I was introduced to by my father, by enthusiastic teachers and by wonderful, kind and talented poet friends who also encouraged and championed me.

Posted in My Favourite Poetry Books

Roger Stevens; My Favourite Poetry Books

My Favourite Books of Poems

Here is the first in a series where I’ll be asking children’s poets what their favourite poetry books are – they must choose one of their own, and they can if they wish choose a book of poems for adults, too. First to go is Roger Stevens, who idea this was!

Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here (Puffin) Michael Rosen. Michael reminds us what it’s like to be a child. The poems are funny, clever and full of heart.

The World’s Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury) James Carter. There are so many brilliant books around to choose from but, well, I just really like this one.

The Dictionary of Dads (Otter-Barry Books) Justin Coe. This book is full of funny, sad and very thoughtful poems, brilliantly written. Every class should have one.

Picnic, Lightning (Random House) Billy Collins (for grown-ups). If you don’t know Billy Collins check him out. He has a very natural style, and is easy to read. But the way he tackles both big themes and small themes, is so skilful, it almost makes you gasp.

Apes to Zebras: an A – Z of Shape Poems (Bloomsbury) Liz Brownlee, Sue-Hardy Dawson and Roger Stevens. A tricky book to put together, but it turned out well in the end. It won an award you know.

Thank you, Roger! There will be more poet’ choices to come. Do you have a favourite book of children’s poems? Let me know what it is in the comments!

Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

AtoZ Challenge; H is for Sue Hardy-Dawson

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

Sue Hardy-Dawson is a Yorkshire born poet, artist, and illustrator (she illustrated poet Matt Goodfellow’s first book, Carry Me Away), and is widely published in children’s poetry anthologies. She enjoys visiting schools and has provided workshops for the Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and the Arts. Being dyslexic she takes a special interest in encouraging reluctant readers and writers. Her first solo collection, of illustrated poems, Where Zebras Go (Otter-Barry Books) was long-listed for the North Somerset Teachers’ 2017 Book Award and shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018. Sue has a new collection of shape poems, Apes to Zebras (Bloomsbury) with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee, and her second solo collection If I Were Other than Myself (Troika) is due out soon!

Here is her wonderful hare poem for the poetry feast:

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The Shape of Hare

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Sometimes he is long and thin
others, just ears
a grass apostrophe
but mostly he’s gone
lacing the meadow
with damp loam shadows.

somewhere distant
he’s a constellation
shades on the moon
waxing about cloud hills

he who has watched
our ancestors prayers
and dances
knows only the beat as rainfalls
the gentle music of silence
moist winds

inside he’s the rattan
of storm bent trees
soft bones sinking into fern
blanched stone
hardly a touch
from the breath of his feet
forged in earth
as the land falls below

.

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

 

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

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 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

 

 

Posted in Poetry Awards

North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards Shortlist for Poetry Announced

This award is voted for by teachers who use poetry in the classrooms, so it is thrilling to even be nominated.

Here are this years shortlisted books in the poetry category:

#NSTBAs team go all out; the longlist reviews all the books (poetry and fiction and non-fiction) in wonderful detail, and the shortlisted books are all pictured with fabulously cute dogs, making the whole process very, very special.

The organisation involved in getting Lady and Mungo dressed in the correctly coloured bows to set off each book alone must be epic!

Here’s each book in detail:

I’m thrilled to be involved in this shortlisting with lovely Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. The work involved in writing and shaping all these poems into the animals they are about took months and months of back-breaking work, and it’s wonderful to have it recognised! This book was published by Bloomsbury, who have made a beautiful hardback book on quality paper with two colour printing to properly show off the loveliness inside! Artwork by Lorna Scobie.

Matt Goodfellow‘s first entry on the shortlist is his wonderful single voice book, Chicken on the Roof. Matt has a sensitive and lyrical way with words, and Otter-Barry, the publisher, always do a fine job with quality paper and excellent illustrations, in this case by Hannah Asen.

Zaro Weil’s fabulous Firecrackers is an amazing bumper book of poems, wordplay and stories with gorgeous illustrations by Jo Riddell. It is published by Troika in association with ZaZa Books in an eye-catchingly large format hardback.

And lastly – I’m over the moon to be shortlisted again for this award with The Same Inside, with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, both also shortlisted twice. The Same Inside is a book of poems all about empathy, tolerance, kindness, and love; there are poems in here to spark conversations and opinions about many sensitive subjects that are or could be worrying our young people today. It was hard to write! But a subject dear to our hearts. The publisher is the long-time stalwart of children’s poetry, Macmillan, with a wonderful cover by Debbie Powell.

The winner is announced on November 10th at the award ceremony.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2018

Send Me Your Poems About Change!

The theme of National Poetry Day (October 4th) this year is ‘change’.

If you have a children’s or young people’s poem on the theme of change, or if you are a young person who has written a poem on the theme of change, would you like to see it on Poetry Roundabout?

Send poems for a chance to see them here to: lizpoet @ gmail.com with ‘Change Poem’ in the subject line.

Here is a poem of mine, published as a shape poem in Apes to Zebras, an A-Z of Shape Poems, by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens, pub. Bloomsbury.

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The Paradox Frog

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The ambition of all frogspawn

in any pond or bog,

is to change from tiny tadpole

into a fine, fat frog;

.

But to be a giant tadpole

is quite unorthodox,

and to grow into a smaller frog –

well, that’s a paradox.

.

Liz Brownlee

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

H is for Children’s Poet and Illustrator Sue Hardy-Dawson, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Sue Hardy-Dawson

Sue Hardy-Dawson is a Yorkshire born poet, artist, and illustrator, and has been widely published in children’s poetry anthologies. She had worked with children for over twenty years. She enjoys visiting schools and has provided workshops for the Prince of Wales Foundation for Children and the Arts. Being dyslexic she takes a special interest in encouraging reluctant readers and writers. Her first solo collection, of illustrated poems, Where Zebras Go (Otter-Barry Books) was long listed for the North Somerset Teachers’ 2017 Book Award. She has a new collection of shape poems, Apes to Zebras (Bloomsbury) with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee. Her second solo collection If I Were Other than Myself (Troika) is due out in spring 2019. 

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Here is one of her wonderful poems with its illustration, also by Sue:

.

.

where zebras go

 

where the amber river slows

where the alligator wallows

where the cruel acacia grows

where the hippo haunts the shallows

 

Where the sleeping lions doze

where antelope meekly swallows

where the sky and land sit close

where the trees are dark as gallows

 

Where the hot wind ebbs and flows

where the grass is coarse and fallow

where the plains grow dry as bones

where the earth is scorched and yellow

 

Where the desert soil corrodes

where the trees are parched and sallow

where vultures stoop in funeral clothes

where the clouds are looming  shadows

 

Where the dust creeps down the road

where the air is still and hollow

where mountains fall and woodlands close

where the mud is thick as tallow

 

where the elephants leave their bones

where gazelle and bison follow

where the great Sirocco blows

where the rains go, zebra goes

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© Sue Hardy-Dawson (From Where Zebras Go, Otter-Barry Books)

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