As part of National Non-Fiction November I wanted to share some recent poetry books that I’ve enjoyed reading. As a primary school librarian I’m always on the look out for new books to help inspire a love of poetry in children and all of the books I’m sharing all offer something a little bit different. It’s really important that poetry is made to feel accessible and that children can understand that writing and reading poetry can be for everyone, it’s just making the right connection and allowing yourself the freedom to give it a try.
Dom Conlon’s absolute passion for both the Moon and poetry shines through this book like the Moon shines through the night sky illuminating our world. The Moon is something that we see every day, sometimes it’s hazy behind a cloud, other times a thin slice of brightness pierces through the sky capturing our attention with it’s boldness and beauty. In this genius and entertaining collection, Dom’s poems cover a fascinating array of different facets of the Moon, from looking at our enduring interest in the Moon landings to exploring how cultures across the world view this magnificent presence in our lives. Entertaining and thoughtful they invite the reader to think about poetry can help you to understand and engage with things that may feel beyond our comprehension. I particularly love how Dom at the end invites the reader on a search to discover poetry that they will love even if they haven’t found it between these pages. Dom’s words together with Viviane’s lively and intriguing illustrations make this a must have for every school library.
‘Daydreams and Jellybeans,’ is a delightful collection of warm and funny poetry that is bound to delight and entertain younger readers. Some poetry is best savoured alone whilst these poems demand to be shared and read aloud. Poetry can be a fantastic way for children to express themselves and if they can see themselves within a poem then even better. None more so than Guilty where a child surreptitiously scoops up the dropped jellybean on the floor and eats it, despite it being covered in hairs. Beautifully illustrated by Katy Riddell this is a real feast for the imagination, I can just see this book being enjoyed in classrooms inspiring children to create their own versions and draw their visions of the different poems. A truly wonderful debut collection that mixes a variety of different styles highlighting to children that they don’t need to conform to a particular way to engage, enjoy and write their own poetry.
Following on from the hugely successful, ‘I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree,’ Fiona Waters is back with another exquisitely produced and thoughtfully curated collection of poetry. ‘Tiger,Tiger, Burning Bright!’ features a wonderful array of animal poems from around the world, one for every day of the year. I often find that children at school are drawn to exquisite books featuring animals so it seems a natural leap to have a whole book dedicated to poems about a whole multitude of animals from galahs to alligators. Britta’s bold and vibrant illustrations capture the movement and personalities of the animals magnificently allowing the reader to become entranced by these stunning spreads whilst inviting them to discover the poems inside. It’s an interesting and thoughtful mix of well known authors such as William Blake to newer poets like Ftoun Abou Kerech, a teenage refugee from Syria. This collection is highly giftable and highly covetable and is an absolute treasure trove of a reed, that encourages the reader to keep coming back for more. Nosy Crow have also produced a KS2 resource pack for this and you can find it here
I absolutely adore Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell’s, ‘A Great Big Cuddle,’ so I was delighted to discover they were collaborating again.’ ‘Honey for You, Honey for Me,’ is a first book of nursery rhymes featuring some well loved rhymes like, ‘Jelly on a Plate,’ to more topsy-turvy versions like ‘Dickory, dickory dare.’ I read an article recently which suggested nursery rhymes are in danger of dying out with fewer children starting school being able to join and share them. If there was ever a book that was going to encourage a parent to share rhymes then this has to be the one to do it. Michael’s playful and entertaining collection is an absolute pleasure to read aloud with Chris capturing the mischievousness and hilarity of these selections marvellously. Children can’t help but being entertained by flying pigs, dancing sausages and hungry toads who run riot across the pages bringing fun and joy to the reader. A beautiful and charming collection that is bound to delight both children and adults.
‘A Poem For Every Winter Day,’ is part of a seasonal collection of poems curated by Allie Esiri. Winter is now upon us and while it may feel like we’re about to enter a challenging time as the light diminishes as the days grow darker but it is easy to forget that this season brings with it much beauty and joy. This collection invites the reader to embrace all the elements of the season from the joy of closing the curtains and wrapping yourself in a blanket and hiding away from the world to exploring the changes in nature that come in Winter, spying the Robin on the sparse twig and listening to the crunch of the frozen ground. I like how Allie takes the opportunity to introduce and discuss the poems connecting with the reader and inviting a conversation about how you can face the day and then reflect on what has happened as the night closes in. Thoughtfully and expertly created, this book is perfect for thinking and reflecting.
Thank you to Dom Conlon, Firefly Press, Macmillan, Nosy Crow and Walker Books for sending me gifted copies of these books. All of these books are available to buy now online (Daydreams and Jellybeans can be pre-ordered) by clicking on the the title. If you can please support your local independent bookshop you can find your nearest one here.