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Benjamin Zephaniah - Author

About the Author

Poet, novelist and playwright Benjamin Zephaniah was born on 15 April 1958. He grew up in Jamaica and the Handsworth district of Birmingham, England, leaving school at 14. He moved to London in 1979 and published his first poetry collection, Pen Rhythm, in 1980. Benjamin Zephaniah is an internationally renowned performance poet and acclaimed author of bestselling YA novels: FACE, GANGSTA RAP, TEACHER’S DEAD, REFUGEE BOY and TERROR KID.

He has been Writer in Residence at the Africa Arts Collective in Liverpool and Creative Artist in Residence at Cambridge University, and was a candidate for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. He holds an honorary doctorate in Arts and Humanities from the University of North London (1998), was made a Doctor of Letters by the University of Central England (1999). Benjamin lives in Lincolnshire.

Featured books by Benjamin Zephaniah

Talking Turkeys

Talking Turkeys

9+ readers

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/08/1995

Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.  A thought provoking and wide reaching collection of poetry for children that explodes from the page begging to be read aloud.  

Other books by Benjamin Zephaniah

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

The Little Book Of Vegan Poems

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/02/2019

Funky Chickens

Funky Chickens

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Enter the crazy world of rap poet Benjamin Zephaniah! A reissue of the wonderfully irreverent collection of poetry for young people, touching on anything from vegetables to the Queen and from sewage to the sun. There's plenty of humour as well as poems on racism, pollution and the murder of a cat.

Gangsta Rap World Book Day 2018 edition

Gangsta Rap World Book Day 2018 edition

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/02/2018

WORLD BOOK DAY 2018 EDITION `Not for a long time have I read a book with such a pick me up again factor' - Independent on Sunday Just what do you do with talent from the wrong side of town? Benjamin Zephaniah draws on his own experiences with school and the music business to create a novel that speaks with passion and immediacy about the rap scene. Ray has trouble at home, and he has trouble at school - until he's permanently excluded and ends up sleeping on the floor of a record shop. What happens to a boy like Ray? If he's lucky, maybe he gets a chance to shine. The story of three boys who aren't easy. They don't fit in. They seem to attract trouble. But they know what they want, and they've got the talent to back it up ... Brilliantly written and with a real ear for dialogue, fans of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman will love Benjamin Zephaniah's novels for young adult readers: Refugee Boy Face Gangsta Rap Teacher's Dead

Face

Face

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/01/2018

In the moving and compelling debut novel from Benjamin Zephaniah, a young man's life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a car accident. Martin seems to have it all. He's cool, funny, and he's the undisputed leader of the Gang of Three, who roam their East London estate during the holidays looking for fun. But one night after the Gang leave a late night rap club, Martin accepts a ride from Pete, a Raider's Posse gang member. Too late, he realises that the car is stolen, and that the police are after them. What happens next will change Martin's life and looks, and show him the true meaning of strength, courage, discrimination and friendship. Brilliantly written and with a real ear for dialogue, fans of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman will love Benjamin Zephaniah's novels for young adult readers: Refugee Boy Face Gangsta Rap Teacher's Dead

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Just what do you do with talent from the wrong side of town? Benjamin Zephaniah draws on his own experiences with school and the music business to create a novel that speaks with passion and immediacy about the rap scene. Ray has trouble at home, and he has trouble at school - until he's permanently excluded and ends up sleeping on the floor of a record shop. What happens to a boy like Ray? If he's lucky, maybe he gets a chance to shine. The story of three boys who aren't easy. They don't fit in. They seem to attract trouble. But they know what they want, and they've got the talent to back it up ... Brilliantly written and with a real ear for dialogue, fans of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman will love Benjamin Zephaniah's novels for young adult readers: Refugee Boy Face Gangsta Rap Teacher's Dead

Talking Turkeys

Talking Turkeys

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2015

One of the coolest poets for children, Benjamin Zephaniah's Talking Turkeys has something to say! Talking Turkeys is the very first ground-breaking children's poetry collection from street poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Playful, clever and provocative, this is performance poetry on the page at its very best.

Terror Kid

Terror Kid

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/04/2015

Rico knows to stay away from trouble as best he can. But he's angry and frustrated at the injustices he sees happening at home and around the world. He wants to do something - but what? When he is approached by Speech, a mysterious man who shares Rico's hacktivist interests, Rico is given the perfect opportunity to speak out. After all, what harm can a peaceful cyber protest do...?

Rollercoasters: Teacher's Dead

Rollercoasters: Teacher's Dead

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 26/03/2015

A teacher is stabbed outside school by a student. Jackson, a young boy who witnesses the stabbing, goes on a personal quest to find out the motives behind the attack. Over the course of the investigation, Jackson forms an unlikely friendship with the victim's wife, has to face the murderer's mother and confronts the school bullies and their victims. Through all of this he invites the reader to reflect on the many factors that contribute to a crime being committed, and how we view crime. This Rollercoasters school edition of Benjamin Zephaniah's gripping novel is published in a durable flexi-cover format, proven to last longer in the classroom.

Being Cool Band 10 White/Band 17 Diamond

Being Cool Band 10 White/Band 17 Diamond

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/01/2014

Written by award-winning author, poet and performer Benjamin Zephaniah, this modern story follows Jaden's first few weeks at his new secondary school. As two rival groups of boys both befriend Jaden, the pressure mounts - who will he choose and does he really want to be part of a gang? * Collins Big Cat Progress books are specifically designed for children at Key Stage 2 who have a Key Stage 1 reading level, giving them age-appropriate texts that they can read, building their confidence and fostering positive attitudes towards reading. * Text type: A story with a familiar setting * Curriculum links:

Liam

Liam

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2012

The photo was small. I clicked to enlarge it. It was upside down. I clicked to rotate it. Then I stopped. As I stared into the computer screen I couldn't believe what I saw. A handsome, tall black man, with very short hair, wearing a black suit. He had on a pair of those small round glasses that clever people wear, and he looked so happy. Liam's life is going well. He's done okay in his GCSEs; he's getting pretty good at playing the guitar. If he could just persuade Amy Zyskowski to go out with him, everything would be perfect. Oh, and if he could find out who his real parents are... *Help Key Stage 3 students move from Level 3a to Level 4c in reading. *Support comprehension with fascinating and contemporary illustrations. *Encourage shared and guided reading using the ready-made tasks and discussion points on the activity pages at the back of the book.

Benjamin Zephaniah: My Story Band 17/Diamond

Benjamin Zephaniah: My Story Band 17/Diamond

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/01/2011

Find out what it's like to be a famous poet, author and performer in this autobiography by Benjamin Zephaniah. Learn what it was like growing up in a house of seven children, meeting Nelson Mandela and how he sets about writing poetry, all told through his own voice and accompanied by artwork from Kate Greenaway winning illustrator Victor Ambrus. * Diamond/Band 17 books offer more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view. * An autobiography * A timeline on pages 54 and 55 presents the key events in Benjamin Zephaniah's life chronologically, allowing plenty of recapping and further discussion. * Curriculum Links: Citizenship: Living in a diverse world * This book has been quizzed for Accelerated Reader.

J is for Jamaica

J is for Jamaica

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah, Prodeepta Das Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/01/2009

From Cricket to Pumpkin, from Hummingbird to Yam - this is a photographic alphabet showing Jamaica in all its colourful diversity. In vibrant rhyming verse, Benjamin Zephaniah explores some of the sights, sounds and tastes of Jamaica, from the bustling capital of Kingston, to the peaceful and serene Blue Mountain. A perfect way to introduce children to this small and beautiful Caribbean island with a big heart.

Theatre Centre Plays for Young People

Theatre Centre Plays for Young People

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah, Anna Reynolds, Anna Furse Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/11/2003

Celebrating 50 years of Theatre Centre Edited and Introduced by Rosamunde Hutt Foreword by Pam St. Clement Listen To Your Parents by Benjamin Zephaniah | Precious by Angela Turvey | Look At Me by Anna Reynolds | Gorgeous by Anna Furse | Glow by Manjinder Virk | Souls by Roy Williams A challenging and culturally diverse collection of new plays by some of the UK's foremost writers. dealing with topics such as domestic violence, eating disorders, mother/daughter relationships and sibling rivalry, written by some of Britain's foremost writers. Beautifully written and tested in performance, these plays which deal with topics such as domestic violence, eating disorders, mother/daughter relationships and sibling rivalry, will become essential texts for theatres, schools, colleges and youth centres.

Wicked World!

Wicked World!

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2000

A brand new brilliant collection from the ground-breaking poet, Benjamin Zephaniah. His verse explores people and places, cultures, nationalities and tribes. Includes poems about Inuits, Celts, the history of Britain, Maories, the Dalai Lama, the North and South Poles, and much more - a real tour of the world.

Funky Chickens

Funky Chickens

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/07/1997

A second irreverent collection of poetry for children touching on anything from vegetables to the Queen and from sewage to the sun. There's plenty of humour as well as poems on racism, pollution and the murder of a cat.

Face: The Play

Face: The Play

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/1970

Benjamin Zephaniah and Richard Conlon deal with issues such as prejudice, drugs and disfigurement in this vibrant, gritty adaptation of Zephaniah's bestselling novel for young people.Everything is going Martin's way. The holidays have started, he's got a gorgeous girlfriend and everyone agrees he's the coolest dancer around. But when his world is turned upside down by a crash in a stolen car, he has to come to terms with more than his facial injuries...This is a powerful, exciting and accessible play. It contains relevant, gritty, contemporary issues and dialogue. It offers stimulating activities in the book and a free scheme of work available to download on publication.

Gangsta Rap

Gangsta Rap

Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/1970

The story of three boys who aren't easy. Who don't fit in. Who know what they want. When Ray and his friends are permanently excluded from school, their headmaster gives them a final chance. Within weeks they form a rap group and within months they sign a record deal. As competition from a rival group intensifies the gangsta style gets mixed up with real gangster action. An accessible read with a hard-hitting plot which 'leaves the reader no choice but to be drawn in' - particularly reluctant boy readers. Perfect for exploring different kinds of speech, language and the poetry of rap.

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