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Today, we have the second part of our Poetry Category long list. Six more fabulous books…


A Year of Nature Poems by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kelly Louise Judd

Wide Eyed ISBN: 978-1786035820

This is a beautiful picture of nature through the year in poems.. Each of the twelve verses has a short introduction, commenting on the content. January’s poem is based on the legend of two murmurations of starlings which battle in the sky above the City of Cork. Others stem from personal memories- collecting tadpoles, of holidays, childhood games in the snow. Rich in imagery, the love of nature and its wonders shines through the collection which is complemented by Kelly Louise Judd’s lovely illustrations.

Any of these poems could be used as a starting point for work in the classroom, developing children’s responses to nature, encouraging them to explore the world around them and play with words.

You can read another review of this book here.

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Happy Poems chosen by Roger McGough

Macmillan ISBN: 978-1509871377

Just seeing the cheerful yellow cover with its smiley face is enough to brighten your day! This is a wonderful collection of joyful poems on a wide range of subjects, showing happiness can be found all around us! Works from both classic and contemporary poets are included, offering something for everyone. There are many here which could inspire children to play with words and imagery themselves as well as those which could be enjoyed as performance pieces; Christina Rossetti’s classic ‘What is Pink?’ or ‘The Magic Pebble’ by Roger McGough for the former, ‘Siblings’ (Joseph Coelho) or ‘Isn’t My Name Magical?’ by James Berry for the latter. An essential addition for any classroom.


Once Upon a Star James Carter, illustrated by Mar Hernandez

Caterpillar Books ISBN: 978-1848576544

This is a non-fiction poem! James Carter combines verse and science to create this poetic journey through space. Full of facts, the poem starts by encouraging the reader to look up and see the stars in the sky before taking them on a journey back to the beginning of time and the creation of our solar system. The poem concludes with the joyous declaration that the reader is a star as we are all made from stardust! An acrostic poem offers additional ‘sciencey stuff’ about the sun. The illustrations are bold and attractive, echoing the text perfectly, making the book very visually appealing. Children could be encouraged to create pictures in this style, adding acrostic verses of their own. Perfect for a younger audience who are curious about space, ‘Once Upon a Star’ is a wonderful introduction to this topic.


A Kid in My Class Rachel Rooney illustrated by Chris Riddell

Otter-Barry Books ISBN: 978-1910959879

This is a wonderful collection of poems about all the different ‘types’ of children that might make up a class- even a few adults and the class hamster are included. The poems seem to be told from the perspective of classmates and vary in styles, length and tone. Some are funny, others poignant, but each offers much to discuss. The author’s note reminds us that ‘We’re likely to be a mixture of several of them- and more besides.’ and children are sure to recognise themselves and others in these poems. Each poem is accompanied by a pencil sketch of the child and a cartoon illustrating the character depicted in the verse.

Perfect for sharing and enjoying, the book also contains poems which could be used as models for the children’s own. ‘Fidget’ is written in kennings and it could be great fun for children to reflect on themselves in this way. ’Talking Hands’ is a beautiful poem describing a conversation between a hearing and non-hearing child. As each teacher knows and understands their class, choices about which poems to use and how to use them can be made. An invaluable collection!


Poetry Zone: A Celebration of 20 Years of Children’s Poetry Roger Stevens, illustrated by Joe Decie

Troika Books ISBN: 978-1909991835

This is a fabulous anthology of poems written by a mixture poets aged from 8-80! The Poetry Zone website is an amazing website devoted to poetry and this collection celebrates its 20th anniversary. The book offers a wider audience for some of the works submitted by children and is very inspiring for children who enjoy writing their own poems to see those of others in print. ‘Fear’ by Indigo Moss (aged 8) or ‘Love in all Shapes’ by Samuel (aged 10) are wonderful examples of this and they sit alongside poems like Joshua Seigal’s ‘Dreams’ and Roger Stevens’ ‘Anna’, both of which could be used to inspire children to create their own. There is so much to enjoy and explore in this collection- it is a treasure trove of poems to share.


Dark Sky Park: Poems from the Edge of Nature Philip Gross, illustrated by Jesse Hodgson

Otter-Barry Books ISBN: 978-1910959886

‘Dark Sky Park’ is perhaps suited to our Moving On Category, including as it does, some very thought provoking poems. ‘Dark Sky Park’ -the poem the collection takes its name from- is the final offering in the collection. Celebrating the joy of these protected places and the wonders they allow you to see, the imagery used is stunning. A poet’s note at the end of each piece adds information about the subject of the poem, challenging the reader to think or posing a question. It is a truly stunning collection, making the reader look anew and wonder at the world in which we live. Absolute magic!