LONG LIST REVIEW: The Same Inside

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'The Same Inside' is an amazing collection of poems by three very special poets. It is a collection to be shared, discussed and enjoyed again and again.

The opening poem entitled 'The Same Inside' by Liz Brownlee sets the tone of the book perfectly. Look inside any apple and what do you find- a star, and yet they all have different appearances. Cutting the apples, sharing the fruit and planting the seed of the idea could be used as the basis of an assembly to develop empathy and encourage thought and discussion.

There are poems here to help with many situations and each could be used as the basis for work in the classroom so I have selected a few of my favourites to discuss here- but it was very hard to choose!

'Each and Every One' is a poem by Matt Goodfellow which states 'I am human' in a range of languages, starting with Welsh and ending with English. Imagine the fun to be had discovering which language each sentence is written in, the joy of children identifying a language which they can speak. Families could add the same sentence in other languages they can speak and the poem extended, celebrated and displayed. Children could think of other sentences or phrases which they would like to translate and create a poem of their own along the same lines. This could lead to discussions about how the sentiment behind the phrase is the same no matter what the language. 

Roger Stevens' poem, 'Boy or Girl?', offers a brilliant starting point for challenging ideas about gender stereotyping. Having listened to each 'riddle', they could be asked whether they think the subject is a boy or a girl and then discuss why. They could then gather ideas about themselves or their friends and write poems exploring the things they love to do, encouraging empathy and understanding and perhaps allowing children to share hobbies and talents that they have 'outside' school that others might know nothing about. 

'Differences of Opinion' by Liz Brownlee would make a great performance poem. Easy to learn, with plenty of humour, it also carries a poignant message about the beauty of friendship and celebrating difference. Children could create their own poems about the differences between themselves and others- but focus on how little this matters. Differences are to be respected and acknowledged, not ridiculed or loathed. 

Each and every poem in this collection is poignant and special- words to carry in your heart and remind us all we are 'The Same Inside.'

The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship

Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens

Macmillan     ISBN: 978-1509854509