The CLiPPA Winner has just been announced! Hip Hop artist Karl Nova scooped this prestigious poetry prize with his debut collection Rhythm and Poetry inspired by his desire to bring poetry to children and young people through rap. Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry was Highly Commended. Read more about these titles and the rest of the shortlist in this special category. Children find Poetry incredibly pleasurable and our selection of books below are broken down into just 2 age ranges to give you some guidance. All the books are perfect for sharing at bedtime and for children to also enjoy alone. Always inspirational; collections of poetry will take the reader into another world.
April 2018 Book of the Month Beautifully illustrated by Jo Riddell, this collection of poems and stories is a perfect gift book. It’s ideal for dipping into, for quiet reading and for reading aloud; indeed, unusually amongst the stories, haikus and poems, there are a couple of rhyming plays too, great fun for the family or a group of friends. Single collections of poems are relatively rare these days, and it’s lovely to find one that gives the poet the space and time to explore ideas and return to themes. Poetry speaks to children directly, and this should become a real favourite, a book, to quote Rachel Rooney’s review, ‘to spark the imagination’. Other recommended anthologies for children include A Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri, and Kate Wakeling’s CLiPPA winner Moon Juice.
The insects have well and truly taken over the bathroom in Brian Moses and Sonia Holleyman’s lively, satisfying picture book. You won’t believe the things you’ll hear - an earwig using Dad’s aftershave, a caterpillar shampooing his hair, a beetle singing in the shower – no wonder our narrator (who is waiting to use the loo) is so cross! The scenes of beetle mania are splendidly conjured up in Brian Moses’s accomplished rhyming text, which piles image upon image before bringing readers up short in its final lines. Sonia Holleyman has a great time with the illustrations too, giving us wonderful close ups of the sploshing, splashing, waving, misbehaving insects. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece
December 2017 Book of the Month A series of twelve short, funny poems, one for every month of the year, written with brio by John Yeoman and illustrated by Quentin Blake with all his characteristic vitality and joie de vivre, make this a book to treasure all year round. Indeed, it’s rare to find books in which the words and pictures work together as perfectly as they do here: not a word is wasted, each poem creates a real and vivid sense of the month in questions and builds up with seemingly effortless economy to a comic or surprise final couplet. Illustrations too contain only what is absolutely necessary to capture the action but still fizz with character, personality and humour. A must-have. ~ Andrea Reece
Both an engaging guidebook to the major sights of our capital city and a collection of new London poems, this is a lovely book to read aloud and to look at. Sam Usher’s attractive pen and watercolour illustrations catch the beauty and grandeur of the city as well as its energy, its busyness made particularly appealing here. They are an excellent accompaniment to Patricia Toht’s poems which show us the city through a child’s excited gaze, from the London Eye, ‘a bracelet that hangs off the arm of the Thames’, to Piccadilly Circus in the rain. She takes particular pleasure in the various sounds of the city, from the bonnng of Big Ben to the ‘Hisssss. Ka-thunk’ of closing tube doors. ~ Andrea Reece
Six bouncy poems each of which is richly illustrated by award-winning illustrator Nick Sharratt. Burt, Cora, Charlie, Selwin, Ida and Quentin are the six Vikings let loose on a delightful shopping spree in a supermarket in the title poem. More reflective is The Mermaid and the Shoe. What would a mermaid do with a shoe? There are lots of watery ideas from using it as a little sailing boat to wearing it as a hat! The Tidy Pirate gives pirates an entertaining brush up while Fangsalot imagines what would happen if a vampire bat bit a cat, a cat bit a cow, a cow bit a horse – and so on! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Another lively collection from Roger Stevens, who does more to inspire a love of poetry in young children than almost anyone, and these are ‘poems to chase the clouds away.’ Grouped into three sections – Fun Time, School Time and Home Time – the subjects will all be familiar to little children but the poetry makes them special. Look out for recurring mentions of teacher Miss Moss and the irrepressible Billy, impervious to teacher’s Fairy Dust: She sprinkles it on naughty boys It stops them being silly And helps them work, and sit up straight It doesn’t work on Billy ~ Andrea Reece
A joyful collection of poems for young children by an author who is completely in tune with her audience! Julia Donaldson celebrates the delights of going to the park, walking the dog, pizza, riding a bike and sliding down the bannisters in poems that are just perfect for reading out loud. Nick Sharratt’s illustrations have never looked brighter or more appealing and make the poems zing off the page. Definitely one to add to the picture book shelf and to return to over and over. ~ Andrea Reece
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 fine collection of poems and rhymes from all over the world, collected together by Elizabeth Hammill, renowned for her support and expertise in the world of children's literature. A host of fantastic illustrators including Axel Scheffler, Robert Ingpen and Shirley Hughes have donated their work to support Seven Stories, a national archive of British authors and illustrators.
Poetry is possibly the best way to convey the wonder of space and our own place in it, and James Carter’s text for this picture book is both precise and inspiring: ‘A sea of stars at last were born/gradually they fired and formed/out of clouds of dust and gas/each a mighty sparky mass’. The artwork by Mar Hernandez is equally beautiful, illustrating the development of life from the big bang to the world as we know it. The last image is of a jumping child – ‘You’re a Star’ – and there’s a page of science facts to end, taking us five billion years into the future. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). | Children’s Laureates Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen combine here to create a beautiful collection of ebullient poems for the very young. Michael Rosen’s close and affectionate observation of small children and the way they think is brilliantly captured in poems such as You Can’t See Me and Let Me Do It. There are also plenty of opportunities for the very young to join in with poems such as Tippy-Tappy and The Button Bop which they are guaranteed to want to hear again and again! Chris Riddell’s illustrations created an equally warm-hearted view of the early years and capture the spirit of the poems perfectly.
The world-famous rhymes starring cats such as Macavity the Mystery Cat and Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat are beautifully presented in this edition with illustrations by Axel Scheffler best-known for his pictures of the Gruffalo. Perfect for reading out loud, the poems about the practical cats are both humorous and affectionate, catching the quirky and familiar foibles of all cats. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Joshua Seigal is a rising star in the children’s poetry world and this new collection of his poems will be a real crowd-pleaser. Many of them are crying out to be read aloud, Brontosaurus for example, with its Stomp Swamp Chomp chorus, or My Dog Eats Spaghetti, but others are quieter, to be read, considered and remembered. He has particular fun with shape poems, of which there are many, look out for the Fruit Bat and Bat’s Fruit pairing! For children inspired to write their own poetry – and Seigal certainly makes it look fun – there are useful tips and suggestions included too. ~ Andrea Reece
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales. Dahl's Gobblefunk is brought to life with full colour illustrations by Quentin Blake making this a delight for fans young and old.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017 Award-winning Mini Grey pulls no punches in her brilliant illustrations to this classic cautionary tale. Jim’s parents give him everything but, even so, he has a dangerous tendency to run away. When he slips his charges hand in the zoo the result is a dramatic catastrophe. ~ Julia Eccleshare Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2011 Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2017 The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson The Crayons’ Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers The Crayons’ Book of Colours by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers Jim by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton
Arthur Robins’s scratchy illustrations are full of humour and he’s proving to be the perfect partner for T.S. Eliot. Skimbleshanks is the third of the Old Possum poems Robins has illustrated and it’s another rousing success. The world Eliot describes might be long gone, but Robins makes it totally friendly and recognisable to children. Skimbleshanks the railway cat looks wonderful in his railwayman’s uniform, exuding just the right amount of benevolence and bossiness, and Robins has fun with the other characters too, choosing to make the passenger preparing for bed a little old lady, and adding a carriage of rowdy dogs – Skimbleshanks confiscates their football! A delightful picture book in its own right, and a great way to introduce young children to great poetry, they’ll soon be reciting the verse with you. ~ Andrea Reece
A new cover edition of Read Me, the bestselling poetry anthology with over a quarter of a million copies sold. Read Me contains a poem for every day of the year from the very best modern and classic poets. 365 rhymes, verses and poems from the likes of Brian Patten, William Wordsworth, A. A. Milne, Emily Dickinson, Wes Magee, William Blake, Seamus Heaney, Ian McMillan, Gareth Owen and Walter de la Mare.
Shortlisted for 2015 CLPE Poetry Award - the only award in the UK for published children's poetry - Chosen as one of the Top Ten Best New Books for Children 2015 by Andrea Reece. A list of top books for children wouldn’t be complete without a poetry book and I’ve chosen this new collection from Rachel Rooney, who won the 2012 CLPE Poetry Prize. Rooney is a very exciting new voice. There are poems here on a range of subjects and themes, including some about poetry itself. Mostly short, often rhyming, they play affectionate games with language. There are laugh out loud poems, and lots for sharing, but this is also collection to take into a quiet corner and relish. ~ Andrea Reece
This is the second of Walter de la Mare’s poems to be turned into a picture book by Carolina Rabei and her illustrations provide a rich setting. It’s Hallowe’en and ‘Up on their brooms the Witches stream/Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam’. Sure enough, a line of witches race across the night sky on their broomsticks, while down below a party of jolly trick or treaters set out on their own night’s adventure. The two groups mirror one another, and the lines of the poem work equally for both. The night sky is portrayed in wonderful blues and purples, the centre spread in which the witches surge pell-mell down the Milky Way is particularly beautiful. De la Mare guides his witches through the constellations in his poem, and Rabei illustrates them all, the end papers providing readers with a very special chart of the night sky. ~ Andrea Reece
A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Our Lovereading4Kids Expert Review will follow shortly.
A fantastic collection of modern poems all about school from the talented poet Brian Moses. There are rhyming poems and funny poems and lots of poems about teachers - and exactly what they get up to behind the staffroom door and that's just the beginning of the school adventure in this brilliant collection of poems.
A super new collection of poems featuring a vast range of animals, birds and fish, from the penguin in lost property making a bid for freedom, to the cat that would rather be eating spiders than lapping up milk. Funny and poignant, there are poems here for every mood from two brilliant, funny and inspiring poets.
Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | Get ready to join in the Poetry Olympics, question a snake, talk to a toad and learn 20 ways to avoid monsters and mythical beasts. Where Zebras Go will lead you leads you on a magical journey across the savannah, into fairytale realms, back into the playground and through the seasons, introducing a whole host of animals along the way. An exciting debut collection from an up-and-coming poet, covering wide-ranging themes with humour and fun.
The poems that make up this collection were first published in 1913 but it was not until 1946 that it was published, as it is in this new edition, with Edward Ardizzone’s illustrations. Though de la Mare’s poems describe a variety of subjects, there’s a unity to the collection that makes it read almost like a song-cycle. Ardizzone’s drawings enhance that, making Peacock Pie, in the view of children’s literature expert Brian Alderson, ‘one of the most satisfying children’s books of the twentieth century’. Certainly the poems deserve to be lived with whole, and the drawings – in choice of subject and viewpoint, response to character and setting – are simply perfect. There should be a place for this on every child’s bookshelf. ~ Andrea Reece
A lovely, lively and varied collection of verse that invites gleeful participation from its intended audience. 16 poems to read out loud - perfect for sharing at home or at school. Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017. Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award.
In Poems to Perform, Julia Donaldson has chosen poems with performance by children in mind, and her notes and ideas on performing them are included in a special section at the end of the book. Julia's passionate belief that performance can help children enjoy reading and grow in confidence is informed by her own experience both as a child and now, working with groups of children to bring stories, poems and songs to life. The poems range from classics by Edward Lear, W H Auden and Eleanor Farjeon to contemporary work by Michael Rosen, John Agard and Clare Bevan. Illustrated throughout with exquisite, expressive lino-cuts by Clare Melinsky, this is a book for teachers, parents, children: anyone who loves great poetry.
Featuring a fantastic range of children's poets and four exciting themes with full-colour illustrations, this is the ideal approach to encourage a love of reading, whilst developing an understanding of poetry, meeting the new requirements of the National Curriculum. The collection has been carefully selected for children in Year 2 of school and includes helpful parent notes for every poem and a glossary of key terms from the series editor and children's poet, John Foster. It is the second of three poetry collections that will support your child from learning to read in Year 1 through to understanding themes and developing vocabulary in Year 3. This collection of poetry has the perfect balance of engaging rhyme, familiar themes and amusing illustrations to promote a lifelong love of reading.
Poetry is a fun way for children to enjoy learning to read, developing their vocabulary and understanding of ideas and themes. This collection offers a wide range of poems to appeal to all children, from poems about special days such as Christmas or Chinese New Year to poems that are great to read aloud, like 'The Wuzzy Wasps of Wasperton'.
A wonderful collection of poems from the much-loved creator of The Gruffalo, all of them perfect for reading aloud. There are funny poems (lots of those as you’d expect) and nonsense rhymes as well as story poems and quieter poems to get you thinking too. Nick Sharratt has great fun with the illustrations and Vera Victoria Vines, dressed up to the nines, is a particular treat, as is the crazy, mayonnaisy mum serving up ice cream with baked beans, and golden syrup with sardines! Julia Donaldson’s delight in poetry and the sound of words comes through on every page and is utterly contagious. ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | The first published collection from Hip Hop poet Karl Nova has a refreshing directness, honesty and authenticity. Many of the poems are drawn from the workshops he does with children and young people as well as from his performances. Notes accompanying the poems give insights into his process and encourage children to believe that they are poets too. The poems capture the rap beat and tone, demonstrating the currency and significance of rap as a form, especially for young people. A book that opens doors.
Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | This second solo collection from Joseph Coelho, Overheard in a Tower Block, explores further some of the themes from Werewolf Club Rules (which won the CLiPPA in 2015). More suited to an older reader than that first collection, this is an extraordinarily powerful and moving book. Each poem offers us glimpses into the life of the main character as he grows, over the course of the collection, from young boy through adolescence to adulthood. The ingenious threading of fantasy, story, myth and magic throughout the poems only illuminates further the challenges and hardships of this young man’s life, but ultimately concludes in moments of optimism, joy and possibility.
Highly Commended in the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 Five emerging writer-performers are showcased in a book which is a blend of anthology & individual collections. Ruth Awolola wonders about our world, the stars beyond, the beings that might live out there and the interconnections between these. Victoria Adukwei Bulley uses images from nature to explore movement and migration - parakeets as a metaphor for people and the wandering wind which ‘knows no such thing as nations.’ Abigail Cook’s poems demonstrate how her family and the environment in which she grew up made her the person she is, and urges her readers to ‘Remember you are falcon bones and phoenix wings, so fly.’ Jay Hulme looks through windows and walls, crosses borders and searches the world for new words. Amina Jama reflects on childhood memories and relationships with friends and family such as the cousin who ‘wore blue better than a sunset wore orange.’
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | In a Nutshell: Death row injustice | Undying brotherly love A book to break your heart, quicken your blood and stir your soul by one of the most outstandingly distinctive writers to have emerged in a long, long time. New Yorker Joe Moon was only seven when he took the call in which his big brother Ed told him he'd been arrested because “they think I done something real bad”. That “something” led to Ed winding up on death row, convicted of murdering a cop, though he insists he’s innocent. Ten years later, now Ed’s execution date has been set, Joe travels to Texas to say goodbye. The sublimely-formed structure slips between present and past, recounting the brothers’ troubled upbringing - how their Mom took off; how Aunt Karen took control and decided that Bible study and never mentioning Ed again was the only route to their salvation. While she insists that there’s no point wasting life or money helping someone who wasn’t sorry, Joe sees things differently. “He's my brother,” and that’s really all that matters. He has to see him. Lawyer Al, who’s taken on Ed’s case for free, offers some hope, but time is running out. “It's better to be guilty and rich, I reckon,” Joe remarks, as he experiences the excruciating injustices of a legal system in which the harshness of a sentence depends on where a crime takes place, who the victim was, and who you can afford to pay to represent you (crucially, Ed had no representation when he was first arrested). Once again, Crossan's free verse form is breathtakingly powerful - always the right word, in the right place, at the right time. Yes, this is harrowing and heartbreaking, but the kindness of the strangers Joe meets in Texas is achingly uplifting, as is the deep bond of love between Joe and Ed. This really is a magnificent feat of writing. ~ Joanne Owen The Costa Judges say: ‘An exceptional, compelling book for our time – its analysis is devastating but its message is hope.’
A completely refreshing and exciting collection of poetry that will encourage even the most determined poetry avoiders to have a peek and maybe get involved. It’s beautifully packaged and filled with close to a hundred illustrations from award winning illustrator, Lane Smith. I adored reading ‘The Island Where Everyone’s Toby’ out loud as fast as I could. So much fun. ‘The One-Eyed Orr’ was deliciously full of oozy pus and gore and ‘If You Ever Have To Memorize A Poem Of Twenty Lines Or Longer and Deliver It To Your Class, Then This Is A Pretty good Choice’ is fantastic for those who worry about forgetting their lines (and actually so much fun to read), and kids everywhere will just LOVE hearing mums and dads read ‘Hey, Kids! Get Your Parents To Read You This Poem!’ I could go on and on, there are so many wonderful, funny, disgusting, and positively joyful poems filling the pages of this book. But even better than that, it’s also full of bonus surprises including the mystery of the misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem. Intrigued? Well you’ll have to read it to find out more. And I urge you too. Teachers, parents, grandparents, and kids young and old should have this book. It’s superb and I couldn’t recommend it more. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
Poems that span the globe encouraging all readers to look at the good and the bad aspects of it make this a rich and original anthology. Twinning the themes of the wonders of the world and the horrors of how we despoil it means that the poems are both celebratory and angry. That leads to an interesting contradictions of styles and moods. Piet Grobler’s vibrant illustrations bring the feel of different countries to life. ~ Julia Eccleshare
In dining halls of long ago When dinosaurs sat down to dine, Did prehistoric dinner-ladies Keep them all in line? What's the REAL reason the dinosaurs died out? Can anyone rescue Class 2M from the wild dinner-ladies? And what will happen when Class 2M meet a lion? This is a funny and brilliant debut collection from the author of the bestselling Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face books.
A wonderfully innovative collection bursting with energy, you can’t help but read with a smile. Chrissie Gittins is on a mission to save words from extinction, with forty exuberant and informative poems to celebrate amazing animals, birds and plants. The imagery is joyful; adders dance, beetroot paint your kitchen, and melons have an annual party, whilst Paul Bommer’s entertaining illustrations make the poems zing off the page. This is Gittins at her very best, playing with style and composition, and writing with zeal. Also check out BBC1 Countryfile on Sunday 22nd October for an interview with poet Chrissie Gittins. Chrissie is being filmed at the North Cornwall Book Festival talking about her latest children’s poetry collection ‘Adder, Bluebell, Lobster’. The book takes 40 of the 110 nature words deleted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary as titles for new poems.
Paul Cookson’s collection does not claim to be the definitive hundred brilliant poems, but it comes close; providing a fun, inspiring and diverse introduction to poetry for children. Not only are the classics of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Whitman out in force, but Cookson also introduces the delights of brand new poetry. His own poem ‘Let No One Steal Your Dreams’ is a beautiful and empowering opening, offering a message of encouragement that lingers in the mind as you read on. A collection to dip into before bed-time or to devour whole, which both children and adults will relish. A message from Gaby Morgan, Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan A gorgeous pick-and-mix packed with long-term favouries, song lyrics and brand-new delights. reading it out loud wull guarantee joy! It also includes some handy hints and starting points for reading, writing and performing at the back. A message from Paul Cookson Hello and welcome to 100 Brilliant Poems for Children. There will never be a definitive hundred brilliant poems . . . but I know that these are a hundred brilliant poems. I wanted to choose poems that have some sort of longevity: poems that are already classics, poems that are modern classics and poems that I feel will have a life beyond this book and become classics in their own right.The collection starts with my own ‘Let No One Steal Your Dreams’ – in fact, the idea for the collection started with that poem. It’s that feeling we are looking for – poems that inspire, and that are aspirational and entertaining in every way. I’ve chosen poems by my favourite poets, poems that I wish I’d written, poems that I’ll be forever jealous of and poems that have inspired me. I also wanted to include a few pieces that haven’t been seen before in a book for children. Words that have meant something to me, words that have touched me at particular times. I say words – as some of them began as songs I’ve played again and again, but with words that I feel work well as stand-alone poems. Not many songwriters are poets, but some are and I’ve included a few here – Billy Bragg, Michael McDermott, Nigel Stonier, Martin Stephenson, Henry Priestman (The Christians), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) and Stan Cullimore (The Housemartins). Check them out – I hope you like them. No, I’ll rephrase that – I hope you love them. Enjoy!
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month July 2016 A perfect celebration of Alice Day 2016, this beautiful, fully illustrated edition of Lewis Carroll’s great comic masterpiece which comes complete with gilt-edged pages and a ribbon for a marker, is the perfect gift book for all ages. The Hunting of the Snark, the riotous story of a motley crew’s journey to find the elusive Snark, has a cast of amazing characters including some from Carroll’s The Jabberwocky all of which Chris Riddell brings to life in glorious, brightly coloured caricatures. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from Chris Riddell : This book is nonsense and, like all the best nonsense, it makes a special kind of sense. The hunting of a Snark is a very complicated business and I suspect that not even the Bellman himself really knows quite how to go about it. But that doesn’t stop him and his crew from pursuing the strange, elusive creature with all the tools at their disposal. Thimbles, forks, railway-shares and soap are all used, along with a lot of care, hope, threats and smiles, but not even the lace-making Beaver, ‘bounding along on the tip of its tail’, can get close. Then, after seven poetic convulsions, in a final ‘fit’ of energy, one of the crew spots a Snark and . . . But no, beamish readers, I won’t give away the ending at the beginning, that would be nonsense. Just let me say, beware of the Jubjub bird that sounds like ‘a pencil that squeaks on a slate’, the frume of the frumious Bandersnatch that can turn you black in the face and, most of all, hunt the Snark carefully, for it might be a Boojum, you see. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2016 Melric and the Crown by David McKee The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Chris Riddell Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin Strange Star by Emma Carroll Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration by Michael Morpurgo
Featuring a fantastic range of children's poets and five exciting themes with full-colour illustrations, this is the ideal approach to encourage a love of reading, whilst developing an understanding of poetry, meeting the new requirements of the National Curriculum. The collection has been carefully selected for children in Year 3 of school and includes helpful parent notes for every poem and a glossary of key terms from the series editor and children's poet, John Foster. It is the third of three poetry collections that will support your child from learning to read in Year 1 through to understanding themes and developing vocabulary in Year 3. This collection of poetry has the perfect balance of engaging rhyme, familiar themes and amusing illustrations to promote a lifelong love of reading.
When words in verse are paired with the awesomeness of nature, something magical happens! Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exhuberant poetic celebration of the natural world in this stellar collection of nature poems.
Colin West writes wonderfully funny poetry for children and deserves to be a household name alongside Roger McGough and Michael Rosen. This collection is divided into sections including Dotty Ditties, Tricky Tongue-Twisters, Vicious Verses and Curious Creatures and is jam-packed with poems to make the reader laugh. As well as the eponymous budgie (A budgie’s not for nudging/and a budgie bears a grudge), there are hedgehogs, giraffes, alligators, jugglers and pirates – a huge variety of subjects - there are one hundred poems in fact, and each one is a little gem. Colin West’s own illustrations accompany his verses and add to the many pleasures of this book. ~ Andrea Reece
When I hear the word word My brain goes blurred My mind feels furred. Word is a strange word isn’t it? It has too many meanings, doesn’t it? After all, everything’s a word. How absurd. Ros Asquith is a Guardian Cartoonist and already a hugely successful author for children and young people, creator of the Alien Schoolboy and Teenage Worrier books amongst others, but this is her first collection of poetry and it is really very good indeed. There’s a huge variety of form and subject in the collection, poems to make you laugh, insightful comments on the world and people around us, poems to make you stop short and think. Ros Asquith’s own witty illustrations make it particularly accessible but this is a sophisticated collection. ~ Andrea Reece
A handsome and welcome new edition of this excellent poetry book, which contains a poem for every day of the year. The range of poems included is simply superb – there are traditional poems and classics alongside poems by contemporary authors such as Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Ian Macmillan and Philip Gross. Poems in fact to represent all the different days and the different ways we might feel on them. It’s a collection every child should own, a demonstration of all that poetry can offer – comfort, reflection, surprise, joy – and a means of instilling a love of poetry in them. ~ Andrea Reece
From A-Z - Alligator to The Dog Runs (Zoom) - John Hegley has a witty, surprising and always entertaining poem for every letter. Wonderfully varied, there are poems about people, pets and all kinds of other creatures. In each of them John Hegley brings insights by highlighting particular characteristics. G is for Guillemot, in which the poem gives a visual image of the precipitous world in which the bird lives as well as describing its life; Christmas Caterpillar surprises Santa while Quibble will set all readers on a circular and quibbling conversation about exactly what is being described. A terrific anthology for diving into again and again.
Gaby Morgan has gathered together a really wonderful selection of poems about mums. There are over 50 in this little volume, some will make you smile, some will probably turn you a bit teary, but each one contains something true about mums and the relationship between mum and child (not to mention granny, step-mum and foster-mum and child too). Contributors range from the well-known – Brian Patten, Paul Cookson, Julia Donaldson, to new and lesser known names, and there are even a few written by children. It’s a book for sharing, and might even inspire children to write a poem for Mum themselves. Perfect for Mother’s Day of course, but too good just for that! ~ Andrea Reece Other lovely Mother's Day books are My Mum Says the Silliest Things and My Mummy.
To dip in and out of whatever your mood and to savour in longer moments, this is a thought-provoking anthology. How different poems capture different moods and moments unfolds beautifully in both Wendy Cooling’s careful choice of poems and Piet Grobler’s vivid illustrations.
Winner of 2015 CLPE Poetry Award - the only award in the UK for published children's poetry | An exciting debut poetry collection from an exciting new voice. The collection includes a wide range of poems, from funny and fantastical to spooky and spellbinding. Find out the mysterious rules of Werewolf Club, how to look like a rainbow, what happens when puppies fall in love - and how to fold up your gran! To see Joseph Coelho perform some of the poems go to his website.
Best-loved nonsense songs such as The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, The Jumblies, The Dong with the Luminous Nose and many more are included in this highly attractive volume. The jokes at the heart of each are perfectly illustrated by Christine Pym adding much to the enjoyment of the whole. A good selection of Edward Lear’s Limericks, also richly illustrated, are included too making the whole book a wonderful introduction to classic works. A useful ribbon mark helps to keep the place!
Brian Moses is one of our most widely read and popular poets, a regular visitor to schools and festivals. This collection gathers together over 100 of his best poems. It includes some of the poems that make his public performances such barnstorming hits – Walking With My Iguana, What Teachers Wear in Bed – but also more thoughtful poems, such as the beautiful title poem Lost Magic, with its mournful refrain ‘but there are no unicorns now’. My favourite is probably The Bonfire at Barton Point, a vivid description of a particular moment of childhood, but everyone will have their own. ~ Andrea Reece
This collection features poems by three of our best-known and best-loved children’s poets, Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens. Between them, using a range of poetic styles and voices, they cover lots of topics – friendship and togetherness, difference, tolerance, bullying. Some of the poems make their point through humour while others, particularly those about the refugee experience, are necessarily bleaker; some even contain direct advice about where to go or who to turn to in specific situations. All do what poetry does best, that is they will make readers think, engage and look at things, even situations or feelings that may be really familiar, with new eyes. An excellent collection that will be read and read again. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: 366 poems, an inspiring new anthology ‘Poetry powerhouse’ Allie Esiri follows up the bestselling A Poem for Every Night of the Year with another lively, inspiring collection. There’s a huge range of poems included, by poets old and new, and from across the world. Each poem is linked to a particular day, some very closely – Mary Elizabeth Coleridge’s I Saw a Stable for Christmas Day, Valentine by Wendy Cope for 14th February – while other connections are more tangential: Blake’s Jerusalem for 12th July, the day James Hargreaves applied for a patent for the spinning jenny. Esiri tells us to think of these poems as ‘a boost of words for the day ahead’, and they are just that, a short connection with another human being. The more poetry in our lives, the better, and this is a book everyone in the family will enjoy. ~ Andrea Reece
Yes, there’s a poem to a space cadet in this typically lively, inviting and memorable new collection from James Carter; but it’s an ode not to an astronaut but to a dreamer, someone whose head is firmly in a cloud. This whole collection is full of surprises, unexpected heroes and the joy of dreaming. In a poem called ‘Hey,Poem!’ Carter exhorts it: ‘poem, work your magic, do – but most of all say something NEW …’. His poems will work their magic on all readers, and each one finds something new to say, and the perfect way to say it. A treat from first page to last. ~ Andrea Reece
This Macmillan Classics edition is truly a special gift to treasure. The poems in this collection all by Charles Causley, who is considered to be one of the greatest post-war poets, were chosen and arranged by him. They feature as great a variety of subject and tone and place as any reader could wish for.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2016 A fabulously rich anthology of 366 poems - one for every night of the year as promised in the title. Or for everyday if you would rather read your poetry and perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family. it. The anthology ranges widely through classic and modern poetry and, where there is a link to a particular date, it appears on that page in the book. Fittingly therefore, J. K . Rowling’s The Sorting Hat Song which first appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is the poem for 10 September – the start of the school year for many, even those not at Hogwarts. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from Gaby Morgan, Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan A beautiful collection of 366 poems from familiar favourites to exciting contemporary voices, one to share on every night of the year. All the poems havea link to the date on which they appear, and the collection will take you on a journey through history, the season, and festivals and traditions from many different countries, cultures and religions. A message from the author, Allie Esiri William Wordsworth once wrote of beauty ‘felt along the heart’, like waves beating along a shore. We feel poems along the heart – they wash over us and, though we might not notice the impact they make, they leave the shores of our hearts a little changed. Great poems make us more human. They introduce us to new ways of seeing the world. They force us to imagine what it might be like to be someone completely different – and they show us that someone completely different is just as human as we are. When I discovered poetry as a child, I remember stumbling over weird and wonderful words whose meaning I felt far from understanding, but I think I knew then that poetry held an extraordinary power. My childhood private passion has become my career: I spend most of my time reading poetry, writing about poetry and banging the metaphorical drum for poetry. Over the past few years I’ve tried to remind people how remarkable and exhilarating poetry is. Poetry will stay with you for life. We use it to help us come to terms with the big things in life: love, friendship, loss, nature, beauty and the passing of time. People write and read poems for landmark events – weddings, funerals, political uproars or tragic disasters. But I wanted to share in this collection that poetry can also be for the small things in life, for the everyday. This anthology contains a poem for each and every night of the year. More than being just a sequence of beautiful poems to share at Introduction bedtime, however, this is a journey through culture and history and the seasons. Near April Fool’s Day are poems that are complete nonsense but huge fun to read aloud, such as Lewis Carroll’s bizarre ‘Jabberwocky’. And there are poems on certain dates that tell us about the traditions of other cultures and religions. There are poems written about historical events, like the sinking of the Titanic or the seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement in America when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. I hope that there is a poem here for everyone – something for every night and every mood and every person, whose lines never leave you but remain inside the private library of your brain, and whose beauty you feel as Wordsworth did: along the heart. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 Lewis Carroll's Alice has been enchanting children for 150 years. Curious Alice, the bossy White Rabbit, the formidable Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are among the best-loved, most iconic literary creations of all time.
What do you mean you don’t like poetry? This must mean you’ve not read the debut collection of poems from Joshua Seigal! Whether it’s poems about the power of books or the joys of fried chicken, once you’ve read Joshua’s poems you’ll be shouting from the rooftops that poetry is the place to be! Packed with subversive humour and a real insight into the world of children today, I Don’t Like Poetry will please the most reluctant of poem readers whether they want something funny, sad or scary. It is a wonderful collection that shows a new poet at his best.
School life, families, football, aliens - these are some of performance poet David Harmer’s favourite things, all popular themes for his poems. Like the title poem to this collection, they are often presented with something of a ‘what if?’ warning, and readers should be ready for surprises – you might learn that granddad is an alien, or meet a pirate in Whitby Dock, or even see Father Christmas getting a parking ticket. Tucked in here too are reflective and rather lovely poems about the natural world, all characterised by Harmer’s keen eye. The collection lends itself nicely to bedtime reading, why not try one poem a night. ~ Andrea Reece
A stunning collection of poems for children by the Poet Laureate. Carol Ann Duffy’s collection opens with ‘The Words of Poems’, which is a perfect introduction to the feast of delights found within this anthology. Duffy’s poems encompass everything from ‘The Good Child’s Guide to Rock’n’ Roll’, which is at least as much fun for adults as children, and the more obviously child directed, ‘The Sock’. This really is an anthology to treasure. ~ Julia Eccleshare
New poems by three of our brightest and liveliest poets are gathered together in this anthology which celebrates women and girls, lots of them. The lives of the really famous – Malala, Frida Kahlo, Amy Johnson, Hillary Rodham Clinton – are discussed, the roles of women in fairy tales debated, and the achievements of women whose names we’ll never learn acknowledged too. The poem styles are as varied as the book’s subjects, and there are poems to make you laugh, to make you angry, to make you think. It’s a sparkling collection, inspiring and empowering. Buy copies for all the young people in your life. ~ Andrea Reece
Wide- ranging and thoughtful, this anthology of poems by award-winning poets Roger Stevens and Brian Moses captures the many different aspects of war. Divided into three sections the first of which focuses on different aspects of World War 1, the second on World War 2 and the third on more recent wars such as the Vietnam war and the current war on terror. Though their poems Roger Stevens and Brian Moses convey the powerful range of emotions which swirl around all those taking part while also considering the impact of conflicts of all kinds on the lives of everyone even if they are only on the edges of the experience.
Written by those who were involved at the time, this is a thoughtful and powerful selection of poems that capture many different experiences of war. The soldiers’ view is reflected in familiar poems such as Wilfred Owen’s haunting Dulce Et Decorum Est and Rupert Brooke’s Death. There are also many women’s voices here including Vera Brittain’s touching To My Brother and Jessie Pope’s more upbeat War Girls.
Winner for the Children's Book Award 2017 - Books for Older Readers Category | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Awards. Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 | Winner of The Bookseller's 2016 prize for young adult fiction. Ireland's Children's Book of the Year Award 2016. | Award-winning Sarah Crossan tells an astonishing and difficult story with the surest of touches in this tender, funny and life affirming book. Grace and Tippi are twins. Not just twins but conjoined twins, sharing the lower half of their bodies. Somehow they have always managed to be individuals while also part of each other. Now teenagers, Tippi and Grace are facing increasing difficulties. They are off to school for the first time meeting new experiences and especially new friendships and relationships. While Tippi longs for things to remain the same, Grace yearns for something more. Falling in love with classmate Jon she begins to imagine a future full of romance and love. But will there be a future for Grace and Tippi? When a desperate decision needs to be taken the girls lives must change forever. Sarah Crossan tells an original and utterly gripping story brilliantly. One of our Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015.
Sport – winning, losing, taking part – is celebrated in this typically skilful collection from two of our most popular poets for young people. There are funny poems, story poems, contemplative ones to make you see things clearer or differently, and the poets even have a contest themselves, each one describing archery (too quiet for Moses, pure gold for Stevens). In a poem in four parts jointly written and placed strategically throughout the book they wittily compare the process of writing poetry itself to a marathon, from the early stages when confidence is high, to the last few miles when poems can ‘get puffed… sit down at the side of the page’. These are poems to be enjoyed and remembered long after the final medal has been awarded in Rio. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 | Nick is football mad, finding more poetry, more to stimulate him on the soccer field and with a ball at his feet than he ever does in books. This doesn’t go down well with his father, a linguistics professor with ‘chronic verbomania’, but at least his best friend understands. Cody and Nick are on opposing football teams but the same side for everything else, including facing up to the school bullies. When he’s hit by the twin blows of an injury and the news that his parents are separating however, Nick is surprised to find real comfort in books. Booked is written in free verse, like the author’s previous novel The Crossover, and the form brilliantly catches the energy and ups and downs of Nick’s life, giving his story an immediacy that helps make this irresistible reading. If Booked sends readers looking for more verse novels Sarah Crossan’s The Weight of Water is also excellent while Pete Kalu’s Silent Striker books are great on football and teen life. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | | Michael Rosen is the bestselling author of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, along with many other picture books and collections of poetry. Packed with silly rhymes, witty wordplay and thought-provoking story poems, this new collection of poems will delight children of all ages.
The winner for the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) 2018 has just been announced as Karl Nova for his debut collection Rhythm and Poetry. Established in 2003, the CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. The 2018 winner and shortlist celebrates and highlights the diversity of voices in the UK poetry scene.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said “CLiPPA is leading an essential movement to build on the current huge popularity of poetry and the growing poetry market to ensure that poetry for children is acknowledged as an essential part of this landscape. The shortlist recognises not just great children’s poets but great poets full stop. We want as many people as possible to know about these wonderful works and CLiPPA, the Shadowing Scheme and the resources we produce all come together to make sure that they receive the high profile they deserve.”
The full shortlist is:
Rhythm and Poetry by Karl Nova - WINNER
The Rainmaker Danced by John Agard
Rising Stars by Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme, Amina Jama
Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Where Zebras Go by Sue Hardy-Dawson
Grace Nichols, Poet, winner of the first ever CLiPPA and Chair of the CLiPPA 2018 Judges commented: “The judging process involved passionate discussions about which books to shortlist, leading us to come up with a variety of fresh new voices joined by established ones. This shortlist showcases a vibrant selection of poetry books that children will love to explore.“
The winner of the 2018 Award will be announced on 22nd June at the National Theatre in London.
Schools might also be interested in the free Shadowing Scheme to encourage involvement in the Poetry Award 2018. To support schools to take poetry into the classroom, videos of poets performing from the shortlisted books and talking about their work and high quality teaching resources, are available free of charge to all schools www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline.
Lovereading4kids Poetry Highlights from Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate 2007-2009 on Poetry:
Michael Rosen is a poet and huge supporter of children's poetry has given us his views on poetry - written especially for Lovereading4kids.
FROM MICHAEL ROSEN:
"Poetry is a special way of talking and writing. Poems are often musical, playing with the sounds of language while they tell stories, reveal feelings, make pictures and give us ideas. We all find this pleasurable, but children especially so. I guess that's because for very young children, language often comes at them as something they hear without necessarily understanding it. Then poems come along and hit the same channel, sound, rhythm, rhyme, repetition and all the other tricks in the poet's bag.
Poems can be snapshots: small pictures of a moment, an object, a scene, a feeling. They can be like photos in the family album: a moment frozen which we can look at over and over again and wonder why it matters to us.
Poems are also places where you don't have to say it all, they don't have to tie it up in a neat knot in the way that stories usually do. Poems can end with questions. Poems can end with no answers. Poems can pose problems. And that's fine, because life doesn't usually finish with neat little endings. Life itself is full of questions and problems. Particularly for children.
Poems are great for exploring those fascinating questions once posed by the painter Paul Gauguin: where do we come from? Where are we know? Where are we going? These are questions about what kind of background we have, what kinds of things we believe in and care about, what do we want our lives to look like in the future. Poems often explore these themes. And they do it in personal, direct ways, saying, in a thousand different ways: this is me, this is us, I wonder what kind of person I am, I wonder what's going to happen, and so on. And aren't these questions that children ask over and over again?
Poetry is great for what is almost the opposite of this: pretending we aren't who we say we are. Poets write poems where they pretend to be goddesses, houses, worms, graves, long dead ancestors, aliens. This allows poets to explore feelings they didn't know they had, and in so doing, they invite children to wonder about other lives, other states of existence, other possibilities.
Poetry can be impossible. As we proceed along our logical, sensible lines, relying on gravity to keep our plates on the table, days to follow nights, our blood to flow round our bodies, poems don't have to obey these rules. Whether it's through nonsense (remember the dish who ran way with the spoon?) or through making one thing like another, (perhaps our plates aren't sitting on the table; but rather, the table is tired of carrying the plates) poetry can get us to see the world in strange, new ways and from strange points of view.
Poems are often full of echoes, gathering together hints and memories of other poems, other stories, films, signs, speeches. They gather up and change words. It's as if poems like this point us at the very language we see and hear around us and invite us to stop, think and wonder if the words we are used to are right, honest or worthwhile. For children, this is especially important. If you think for a moment, very nearly all children enter school, using a language that is theirs, only to find that school is full of language that seems to belong to other people. If poetry plays with language and, through its music, invites children to remember and imitate it, this becomes a language that they can possess."
photograph - Graham Turner
... AND A WARNING TO GROWN-UPS FROM THE AUTHORS OF THE JUMBLE BOOK
Poetry is fun. Do not spoil it.
Do not make children read this book for homework. If you do you may be vaporized by a death ray.
Poems are allowed to have rude words because they are literature, so bum to you.
Do not ask children how these poems make them feel. It is a stupid question.
Do not try to analyse these poems: they may self-detonate.
If you can’t see the sense of it, that’s probably your fault.
Poems do not have to be written in grammatical sentences or have correct
punctuation, so nurch.
Do not tell people off for daydreaming. Poems come from daydreams.
Never make anyone copy out a poem. It spoils it.
Do not make children read these poems aloud in front of the whole class. If you do, you will be kidnapped by aliens and taken to Alpha Centauri and forced to mark Year Six homework for a thousand years.
Issued by the Galactic Authority and dictated by telepathy to Ken Follett, who wrote it all down with no crossings out.
National Poetry Day is held every autumn - you can find out more about this event and download a special free anthology of wonderful poems, both old and new from poets including Brian Moses, Rachel Rooney and Michaela Morgan. Find out more here.