Award Poetry Books


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Poetry Category Long List.

Apes to Zebras ~ Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson & Roger Stevens (Bloomsbury)
Alphamals- Ruth Symons and Graham Carter (Big Picture Press)
Firecrackers    Zaro Weil and Jo Riddell (Troika)
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Tickling with Words-John Townsend (Book House)
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The Same Inside- Liz Brownlee, Roger Stevens & Matt Goodfellow (Macmillan)
Chicken on the Roof- Matt Goodfellow and Hannah Asen (Otter-Barry)
The World's Greatest Space Cadet- James Carter (Featherstone)
Blast off- Carole Bromley and Catherine Benson (Doorstop Books)
Little Lemur Laughing- Joshua Seigal (Bloomsbury)
Message from the Moon- Hilda Offen (Troika )
 Peace Lily- Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (Strauss House)
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Rising Stars New Young Voices in Poetry Various (Otter-Barry)
Which four of these fabulous books will make up the NSTBA18 shortlist?

LONG LIST REVIEW: The World's Greatest Space Cadet


This collection is about so much more than space! There are poems in a range of forms and on a variety of topics- all ready to be enjoyed.

There are some wonderful examples of concrete poems in this book. 'Spider, Spider' is an ode to these industrious marvels. Told in rhyme, the poem celebrates the wonder of the spider, using exclamation marks for its legs. This would be a great model to use to inspire children to create their own verse about a mini-beast of their choosing- or any other creature! 'Aha!' is shaped like a light bulb and is a funny poem about having that break through idea- or not!

'School Library!' is a fabulous celebration of all the wonders held in a school library- the places it can take you, the genres you can enjoy. It is crying out to be performed and should be plastered over the door of every school library in the country!

Collective nouns- real and made up- are always fun to play around with and 'How Many Minibeasts?' offers the opportunity to do this. Some using alliteration, all using imagination, the poem is a fantastic starting point for children to investigate collective nouns- a loveliness of ladybirds, a cluster of spiders, a bushel of stick insects- before thinking about why James Carter picked the words he used and then creating their own.

The language chosen is rich and varied, offering challenge and requiring reflection. James Carter's use of a range of fonts adding a playful note to many of the poems. Ed Boxall's lively illustrations add interest and are varied.

A great collection for using in class and enjoying everywhere!

The World's Greatest Space Cadet   James Carter, illustrated by Ed Boxall

Bloomsbury      ISBN: 978-1472929464

LONG LIST REVIEW: Chicken on the Roof


'Chicken on the Roof' is a fantastic collection of lively poems on a wide range of subjects. There are many poems here which could be used to inspire children to write, read, perform and enjoy poetry. It is impossible to comment on each and every one here, no matter how much I would like to!- so here are a few!

'An Excellent Stick' is a joyous celebration of imaginative play, recognising the wonders of a simple stick in the hands of a creative child (or adult!) It reminds me of many walks when my son was little! This would make a great performance poem and could encourage children to think about how they might (nicely!) use a stick in their play.

'Library Poem' explores the endless possibilities the library offers. It ends on a poignant note:

A library will guide you,

show you what to do.

So stride inside a library-

the library needs you too.

This obviously lends itself to discussions about libraries and their importance to a community and the benefits library membership offers. Children could create their own verses, using their favourite reading matter as inspiration and then perhaps find out what the library has to offer on that subject. For a school library, it could be a great way of finding children's interests and making sure gaps are filled so that there really is something for everyone on the shelves!

'Messages' is a beautiful poem which encourages everyone to look really closely at the world around them and find the 'messages' in nature.

look closely: you will see

and understand.

It is the perfect poem to encourage children to daydream and wonder and create. Vocabulary has been chosen so carefully to create the perfect images. Just lovely!

Full of lovely illustrations, this is a collection packed with poems worthy of comment and perfect for enjoying with a class- or for yourself! Fabulous!

Chicken on the Roof    Matt Goodfellow

Otter-Barry Books    ISBN: 978-1910959909