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Celebrate National Poetry Day with some brilliant verse for children

Written by · Published Oct 4, 2018

Old Toffer's Book of Consequential Dogs, Poetry for a Change, Rebound

4 October 2018 is National Poetry Day. Organisers Forward Arts Foundation have chosen 12 children’s poetry books to read aloud and enjoy.

Happy Poems, by Roger McGough (ed.)

“Poems to make you smile! Critically acclaimed poet Roger McGough has drawn together a fantastic collection of upbeat poems to bring happiness into your day with this uplifting collection Happy Poems.

“He reminds us that happiness can be found all around us in the everyday, in family, in books in nature and, of course, in our pets! Includes gems from the very best classic and contemporary poets, such as John Agard, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Carol Ann Duffy, Joseph Coelho, William Wordsworth and William Blake.”

Apes to Zebras: an A-Z of shape poems, by Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee & Sue Hardy-Dawson

“This gorgeous collection of animal poems from Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson will entrance and delight in equal measure.

“Featuring a full alphabet of animals, birds, and insects, with the odd extinct or imaginary creature thrown in, these beautiful shape poems are a perfect way to introduce children to poetry.

“Some funny, some serious, there is something here for everyone.”

Everything All At Once, by Steven Camden

“Zooming in across our cast of characters, we share moments that span everything from hoping to make it to the end of the week, facing it, fitting in, finding friends and falling out, to loving lessons, losing it, and worrying, wearing it well and worshipping from afar.

“In this collection of poems, Steven Camden’s poems speak to the kaleidoscope of teen experience and life at ‘big school’.”

A Kid in My Class, by Rachel Rooney & Chris Riddell

"”He’s not scared of nothing. Nobody. Never. Nah. Which means that he is. Tough Kid. Not tough enough. I know - I once met his dad.”

“They’re all here… every kid in the class has their own poem. The pushy one, the shy one. The whizz kid and the daydreamer. The best friender and the kid who runs in his wheelchair. The tough kid, the poet. And not forgetting the class hamster.”

Rebound, by Kwame Alexander

“It’s 1991. Charlie Bell is still mourning his father, and struggling to figure out how he feels for his best (girl) friend, CJ. When he gets into trouble one too many times, he’s packed off like the Fresh Prince to stay with his grandparents for the summer.

“There his cousin Roxie introduces him to a whole new world: basketball. A legend on the courts is born. But can Charlie resist when trouble comes knocking once again?”

The Same Inisde: poems about empathy and friendship, by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow & Roger Stevens

“A sweet and thoughtful collection of poems about friendship, diversity, empathy and respect. These poems deal sensitively with tolerance for differences (including race, religion and gender identity), feelings, empathy, respect, courtesy, bullying, disability and responsibility. They are the perfect springboard to start conversations.”

She is Fierce: brave and bold poems by women, by Ana Sampson (ed.)

“This is an empowering selection of poems by women - from classic, well loved poets to innovative and bold modern voices. The collection includes of a broad variety of exciting and relevant themes.”

Old Toffer’s Book of Consequential Dogs, by Christopher Reid & Elliot Elam

“T.S. Eliot’s best-selling collection of practical cat poems has been one of the most successful poetry collections in the world. Now, for the first time, a companion volume is published. Originally conceived by Eliot himself, the poems in Old Toffer’s Book of Consequential Dogs are as witty and varied as the feline originals.”

The Rainmaker Danced, by John Agard & Satoshi Kitamura

“Do triangles ever get into a tangle when their sides meet their angles?

“In this collection of poems, John Agard draws on themes from nature and science to identity and inclusion, to inspire every reader. Here, we become transported by words and form on a journey through past and present. We are invited to answer life’s questions, while having a great deal of fun at the same time.

“Answers are folly when questions are bliss? Without questions, do I exist?”

I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree, by Fiona Waters & Frann Preston-Gannon

“This is an illustrated collection of 366 nature poems - one for every day of the year. Filled with familiar favourites and new discoveries, written by a variety of poets, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N.M. Bodecker, Okamoto Kanoko and many more, this is the perfect book for children (and grown-ups!) to share at the beginning or the end of the day.”

The Song of the Dodo, by Hilda Offen

“This is a vibrant and accessible selection full of funny, thoughtful and surprising poems where Hilda writes about subjects that fascinate children, from dreams and magic to dinosaurs and family life.”

Poetry for a Change: a National Poetry Day anthology, by various authors

“National Poetry Day is a chance for everyone everywhere to read, share and enjoy poetry. This special anthology features poems by the National Poetry Day Ambassadors, a top team of fantastic poets who bring poetry alive all year round. Take a look, and be part of the celebration!”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.