Poetry is back on the agenda!
It certainly was for all those who entered the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition. On Friday 10th December the winning young poets were presented with their book prizes.
There were twelve prize winners and a further eight received commendations. They were all between the ages of 7 and eleven. One of the poems is featured below.
Hearing my dad on the computer.
Hearing the quiet buzz of the heater.
Hearing the cars rushing past.
I know I am home.
Smelling paint as I walk past the wall.
Smelling the food being cooked.
I know I am home.
Touching the peach wall when I walk in.
Touching my toys and start playing with them.
I know I am home.
Setting the food on the table ready to eat.
Seeing the furry stairs in the corridor.
I know I am home.
By Michael Hills, aged 8, from Yateley Manor, Hampshire
All winning entries are on Children’s Poetry bookshelf . The judges of the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition, led by Chair Roger McGough, selected twelve children as winners of the Competition, with a further eight receiving high commendations. The judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes to children in two age groups (7-8 and 9-11).
This international Poetry Competition, now in its fifth year, is run by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society. To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October, children aged 7-11 were invited to submit poems on the theme of ‘Home’.
The partnership with the British Council boosted entries to the ‘International Learners’ category for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language. In total, well over 3,000 entries were received from schools and individual children worldwide, nearly a quarter of which were from 31 countries other than the UK.
Roger McGough said:
“’Home’ proved to be a fruitful subject for this year’s crop of young poets and the judges relished those poems in which the child’s imagination was let loose. More than attention to domestic detail, the sounds and smells, the furnishings, the judges relished those poems in which the child’s imagination was let loose. Above all, it was a delight to witness very young writers discovering the power and the joy of language.”
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Two people have been awarded the honour of SLA School Librarian of the Year.
Ginette Doyle, Chair of the Selection committee and Chair of the School Library Association said: “Kevin and Duncan come from two completely different schools. Kevin’s school has a higher than average learning support register and more pupils eligible for free school meals than normal. He makes his library fun; he goes beyond the book to entice pupils in and demands that they respect the space so that it has become highly valued.
Duncan’s school is more academic and he has ensured that the information literacy ladder he helped to devise is at the heart of lessons, but he too, makes the Library a fun place to be and engages disaffected readers with his enthusiasm for other things than just the Library. Two exceptional librarians, working in different ways to bring their libraries into the heart of the school and learning, we could not decide between them. They are not joint winners, but each deserves the accolade of SLA School Librarian of the Year.
The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award celebrates the essential work that school librarians are doing at a time when school libraries are being closed at an alarming rate.
We were impressed by the passion and dedication of the librarians we visited and the innovative and inspirational ways in which they bring books and an enthusiasm for learning into the heart of the school and into the lives of children. We had a hard job selecting a short list and feel that everyone on the Honour list should be celebrated.”
The Honour List:
Sue Bastone – Licensed Victuallers’ School, Ascot
Rebecca Jones – Malvern St James, Worcestershire
Shiona Lawson – Rothesay Academy, Isle of Bute
Denise Reed – Hurst Prep School, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex
You can find profiles of the six librarians are on the School Library Association website.
Dolphin Booksellers were pleased to support SLA both in their work and by attending the event.
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On the very top floor in the attic of Seven Stories, a group of people gathered to listen with excitement to the announcement of the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Book Award. Set within a roof space of sturdy beams, interlocked together from the industrial past of this amazing building beside the canal, the atmosphere was wonderfully friendly with an electric buzz waiting to find out which book and which author had won.
‘ And the winner is….
Tom Avery for Too Much Trouble
A story of two brothers, Emmanuel and Prince. Emmanuel tells his story as he looks back on how events led to him holding a gun to a man’s head. The boys are forced to live on hand outs as their drug dealer uncle says they are too much trouble. They make an art of being unnoticed. But when they are forced to look after themselves they end up in a life of crime from which Emmanuel can see no way out.
Short listed for the prize were, Remi Oyedele for Goal Dreams, Sue Stern for Rafi Brown and the Candy Floss Kid and Karon Alderman for Story Thief.
The judges were made up of a panel including the team at Seven Stories and they said that they had some excellent entries in this second year of the award.
The award was announced by John Nichol, Managing Director at Frances Lincoln and Janetta Otter Barry, said that she is looking forward to working with Tom on the future publishing of the book.
Our team from Dolphin Booksellers were delighted to be at the event and look forward to the publication of Too Much Trouble.
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A great competition which had over 4000 entries this year from all over the world.
The awards and celebrations were held at The Unicorn Theatre in London on 14th December.
Children and parents mingled with poets and publishers.
Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and chair of the judging panel said,
‘We left our meeting convinced that the true beginnings of poetry are to be found in writing by children.”
Lots of excited faces, as the winners joined judges John Agard, Roger Stevens and Carol Ann Duffy at the presentation. As well as the prizes there will be a commemorative booklet, in which winning and recommended poems will be featured.
It is available from Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, which is a great website as a resource and just good to read as well!
Some of the lines that have stayed with us are;
Friends go forever
From A Soldier’s Poem by Louisa, aged 8.
He is the blow of a whistle
That can be heard all over the world.
About Barack Obama by Sarah, aged 8.
Children’s writing has a way of finding the truth…..
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Lucy Bakewell of Hill West Primary School, Sutton Coldfield has just been announced as the School Librarian of the Year 2009 .
A first for primary school libraries.
Lucy said, “I am ecstatic and honoured to be given this award for something I love doing. I have the best job in the world and it’s a joy to spend time the library. I feel passionate about making the library a space that children feel is their own and am delighted to receive the honour for the children and for the school. It is exceptionally important that a primary school has won for the first time. It is vital to enthuse and engage children in books and reading from an early age.’
Anne Cassidy award winning author of Looking for JJ, presented Lucy with the award.
Ginnette Doyle, chair of the Judging Panel was especially full of praise for Lucy’s inspiration in creating a place where children can love reading.
‘Primary schools are vital in inspiring children to read and reading is so important in the development of children, expanding their imagination, their knowledge, their vocabulary. They also are the places where children begin to learn, where information skills are first taught, creating individuals competent in finding information. Few primary schools can afford to have a librarian and many rely on dedicated individuals, such as Lucy to run their libraries. Lucy inspires her pupils to love books and reading and she inspires the adults around her. Hill West School is an example of a marvellous school where reading and books are central to learning, much of which is down to Lucy. We feel that it is really important to raise the profile of good primary school library practice, to demonstrate that with the right person in place wonderful things can be achieved.’
The work of three other exceptional school librarians on the Honours List was also celebrated.
” Barbara Band – The Emmbrook School, Wokingham
” Lynne Varley – Sponne Community Technology College, Towcester
” Joy Wassell-Timms – Parrs Wood High School, Didsbury
Its fantastic that the award celebrates so much the good work that exists in school libraries, not just as a place for rows of books. But more and more as a place where children can go to read, enjoy books and lose themselves in their imaginations.
Photographs by kind permission of Philip Paul
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