Posts

A love letter to the public library

Public libraries have been a lifeline for me for many, many years. This poem had been brewing in my head for some time, and I finally made the space and time to sit down and write it. By a lovely sleight of serendipity, it also happens to be…
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How to get kids writing with jazz

I'm a firm believer in the power of music as a creative force. I've written before about using music alongside creative writing in order to see where this takes children on the page, as well as the importance of playlists for my novels. Rhythm…
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Where to find some fabulous poetry activities for kids

One of the best websites I have ever found for inspirational kids' poetry workshops ideas comes from the Poetry Society. I have used countless exercises via their downloadable lesson plans, adapting them as necessary to suit my needs. Recently,…
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Shel Silverstein's 'Whatif'

I think that for anyone who writes, its therapeutic properties must have come to mind at some point. We've all been there, I'm sure, that moment when we finish writing something - whether it's a letter, a diary entry, a chapter of a novel or…
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Travel by Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson, beloved Scottish author of Treasure Island as well as a number of other books for children and adults and an abundance of poems and musical compositions, travelled a great deal throughout his life before finally making…
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How to start with poetry for children? Immersion, leisure, enjoyment, fun

'Poetry plays a powerful role in increasing students’ literacy skills in schools. But unless literacy starts with goosebumps, laughter, or contemplation, none of us would bother to read anything but bills, instructions and road signs. When…
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Benjamin Zephaniah's Imagine Nation

Benjamin Zephaniah. Wow, what an inspiration. Highly dyslexic, he left school at 13 being unable to read or write, had constant brushes with the law before turning his hand to poetry and making it accessible to all kinds of people in all kinds…
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Favourite things

The school where I do my voluntary creative writing workshops throws up a whole new set of interesting challenges. Yesterday the two major challenges I had to contend with were that firstly the lighting was really, really poor in the classroom,…
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Teacher, teacher rhyme time

When I'm doing poetry with children, I try to encourage them to be open to not making a poem rhyme. Because they don't, of course, have to. And some of my very favourite poems are non-rhyming which is of course very different from being non-rhythmic.…
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An anthem to childhood

This year marks the centenary of the birth of wonderful poet and playwright, Dylan Thomas. Several months ago, I discovered a new poem by him called Being But Men. Astonishingly, Thomas never rated this poem highly himself and declined to have…