Poetry

A Year of Nature Poems

DSC_4190.jpg

‘A Year of Nature Poems’ is a beautifully illustrated collection of seasonal poems, one for each month of the year. First observations of this collection of poems are that it has a traditional feel; on closer reflection, it is nostalgic celebration of the phases of life and the changing of the seasons.

Each of the twelve poem begins with an observation of the month, setting the scene. Some poems feature fascinating facts about nature, for example the murmurations of starlings, the lifespan of Mayflies or the varieties of daffodils. Other poems focus on environmental decline and climate change. The common theme in all of the poems is the conclusion that true beauty can be found in nature.

DSC_0155.JPG

Each poem reflects the changing landscape of the seasons: the skies; ponds and rivers; meadows; forests and woodlands and even a dive under the seas. Important messages about the wonder of nature are paired with personal connections with the environment, inviting the reader to reflect themselves. Figurative language and other poetic devices require the reader to draw on inference skills to make an emotional connection.

DSC_0156.JPG

Amongst the seasonal celebrations, Joesph Coelho also shares personal memories from his own childhood: the calming power of spring showers, enjoying his mother’s memories, holidays with grandma, heartache and love.

DSC_0158.JPG

Joseph Coelho is an award winning children’s author and poet best know for his poetry books, ‘Werewolf Club Rules’ and ‘Overheard in a Tower Block’. Kelly Louise Judd is an American artist who is inspired by flora and fauna. Her beautiful illustrations frame each poem, aiding the reader to imagine each changing season.

In the classroom, this book could be used as a reference for writers to create their own season poems; play with the language of the original poems or pair their own personal memories with the weather or changing seasons. It is a wonderful collection- a true celebration of the world we live in.

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

Wide Eyed ISBN: 9781786035820

LONG LIST REVIEW: Alphamals

IMG_6680.JPG

For each letter of the alphabet, there is a beautiful picture and a poem about an animal. H is for hedgehog, J for jaguar and R for rhinoceros. There are more unusual choices as well- U is for urial (a wild sheep), Q is for quoll (an Australian marsupial) and A for armadillo. 

Each poem is short and informative, demonstrating perfectly how facts can be presented in poetic form. Children looking at interdependence and adaptation in science could easily take inspiration and create their own verse about an animal of their choice, selecting the features they feel are most significant. 

Every image is a joy to behold! On the page with the poem, smaller pictures surround the writing whilst a full page opposite is given to a poster-like illustration of the creature. The hedgehog is gorgeous- curled in a tight ball on one page and snuffling through the leaves on the other. The bumble bee is in shades of gold and brown, patterned body hovering about a sun-like flower. The crocodile is green above the water line, yet shades of blue beneath. There is much to look at and discuss in each one- why does the swan have the outline of a protractor on its folded wing?- and could inspire print making or paper cutting to accompany children's own poems- or for the pure pleasure of creating beautiful pictures.

A beautiful book to be shared and enjoyed.

Alphamals     Graham Carter

Big Picture Press      ISBN: 978-1783706853

 

LONG LIST REVIEW: Rising Stars New Young Voices in Poetry

DSC_0017 (5).JPG

This collection of work from five new voices in poetry offers a fantastic range of very individual, distinctive styles. 

The first poet is Ruth Awolola whose writing is warm and inviting. My favourite in this section is 'A Love Letter to the Stars'. It is beautifully composed, evocative of nights spent star gazing. There is so much to discuss and enjoy contained in these lines- such to inspire children to share their own thoughts and perhaps to compose their own 'love letters' to something they feel strongly about. There are many gems to enjoy in this section which has been illustrated by Joe Manners.

Victoria Adukwei Bulley's poems form the next section, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury. Here a range of poetic styles are explored. I love 'Afro Hair Haiku'- a real celebration of personal style and individuality. These poems are full of personal experience and her words linger long after you have finished reading.

Also illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, poems by Abigail Cook come next. Powerfully personal and full of strong images, this is another lovely selection. 'Night-time in the Garden' is my favourite here- beautiful words create such vivid images. 

The fourth poet is Jay Hulme and his work is illustrated by Joe Manners. Here my favourite has to be 'Sunset at Brean Down' as this is somewhere I know very well. The poem captures the power of making small observations- of noticing things and appreciating them. It could easily be enjoyed as a performance piece or to encourage children to observe carefully and use these ideas to build poems of their own.

The final section is of work by Amina Jama, illustrated by Elanor Chuah. There is plenty of food for thought here. 'Pray' is fascinating- ripe for discussing and enjoying, its images are captivating. 

This is such a stunning collection. I have only mentioned one poem from each section, but could easily have commented on many more. These are indeed the rising stars of poetry.

Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry

Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama

illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and Joe Manners

Otter-Barry    ISBN: 978-1910959374