A busy and snowy World Book Day Week of school visits for me

A face in the snow

Well the country has had a challenging week with the snow and wind, accidents on the roads, people trapped on trains for hours, emergency services stretched to the limit and lots of schools closed. But I would like to thank all of the wonderful staff and pupils of the schools that I have visited this week for such a great time reading, performing and writing poetry.

I had a terrible journey from Manchester to Uttoxeter on Monday for my visit to St Mary’s C of E First School. It should have been less than 2 hours. I set off at 6:30am. I arrived at 11am! There was an accident on the M6 and the traffic just didn’t move at all for 1 hour 45 minutes. But at least I wasn’t stuck in a snow drift. Guess which of my poems I started with when I finally arrived.

Luckily, despite the weather, and having to get up early and clear the snow off my car, I made it to all of my other schools early for the rest of the week and they were open.

On Tuesday I was in Radcliffe-on-Trent Infants and Nursery School, and it was well worth the stay in the hotel just 7 miles away from them. I had a lovely email this morning as feedback from that visit that I would like to share with you.

“Thank you for your visit on Tuesday. I am glad you got home safely. We had snow days Thursday and Friday. The children and staff have been left really enthused by your visit. I had a couple of parents asking on Wednesday too about books so you may have had even more emails! I had a lovely email sent by a parent to the Head and Deputy Head so I thought you might like to read it…

Just wanted to a say a big thank you for organising the Bernard Young poet visit and the interactive sessions with him. Both my kids have been so inspired by him and poetry isn’t something we or they have read much of so been great to show them how poetry can work. Lucy has read every poem to us out the book she bought and loves the fact that it has been signed by him especially for her. Really lovely to see them so excited about it. Thank you, great idea. Please pass onto any other staff who have been involved in making it happen.”

I had great visits too with Bridgewater Primary, Little Hulton, Salford, St Joseph’s Catholic School, Winsford, and my 3rd visit to Summerville Primary School as their Patron of Reading, which I will write about in a separate post.

So all round a great week of poetry in schools and I also sold a good number of my new book, which was only published on 23rd February.

Snow poem on white board

A good snow poem produced as a class effort at Radcliffe-on-Trent on 27th Feb. The second poem we rattled off in a half hour session.

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What Are You Like? New Book with over 80 Poems for Children

I will be launching my new book of poems for children on Saturday 24th February at the Between The Lines Festival in Sheffield. I will also be doing 2 performances and workshops for families, so if you are in the Sheffield area, please come along.

The new book is titled “What Are You Like?” after the poem below. To order a copy send a message on the form on the books page.

What Are You Like?

I’m like hey
She’s like whoa
He’s like ah
I’m like ho

She’s like ha
He’s like er
I’m like really?
She’s like yeah

He’s like eek
I’m like shh
She’s like um
He’s like ugh

I’m like Mmm
She’s like eh?
He’s like oh
I’m like yay

Free Poetry Performances and Workshops at Between the Lines Festival in Sheffield on 24th February

I am pleased to be one of the writers at the very first Between the Lines Festival in Sheffield on Saturday 24th February. It is Sheffield’s Literature and Arts Festival for Children.

I will be performing and running workshops for children with adults during the day at The HUBS, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2QQ. My sessions are at 11am and at 1pm.

I will also be launching my new book, “What Are You Like?”, with signed copies available to buy.

For details of all the activities see: http://www.betweenthelinesfestival.com

Free tickets can be booked using the links below.

Book 11am session here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/perfect-poems-with-bernard-young-tickets-41858002412

Book 1pm session here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/perfect-poems-with-bernard-young-tickets-41858021469

New Video – Anything – Poem Set to Music

We have made a new video over the last few days. I composed a short piece of music to accompany my poem Anything. The poem is about friendship and is suitable for younger children (KS1), but it is likely to appeal to older students (KS2) as well. This poem is in my new book, What Are You Like, which is due for release 23 February 2018.

Karen, my wife, is the guest performer reading the poem and also she made the video. The images are all shared by Creative Commons License. They are credited in the description on YouTube and below the video here.

Images in their order of appearance:

  1. kittens CC-BY-SA Susan https://flic.kr/p/52JU7z
  2. Chicks CC-BY-NC Andy Purvlance https://flic.kr/p/665D8X
  3. Labrador-Puppy CC-BY Tyler Allen https://flic.kr/p/a1gG6S
  4. Baby’s Best Friend CC-BY Brandon Atkinson https://flic.kr/p/96KrY6
  5. Buds CC-BY Juhan Sonin https://flic.kr/p/6DSpcV
  6. kids CC0 klimkin https://pixabay.com/en/kids-girl-pencil-drawing-notebook-1093758/
  7. children CC0 Bess Hamiti https://pixabay.com/en/child-children-girl-happy-people-817369/
  8. Best Friends CC-BY-SA Rod Waddington https://flic.kr/p/Wq9E51
  9. girls whispering CC0 Olichel https://pixabay.com/en/girls-whispering-best-friends-young-914823/
  10. Handsome Indian boys CC-BY Nithi Anand https://flic.kr/p/qpzJmX
  11. Cups Full of Chats CC-BY-NC Mo Riza https://flic.kr/p/3JM8pt
  12. Best friends CC-BY Robert de Bock https://flic.kr/p/UsGxgR
  13. The Cat-Circle of Love CC-BY-NC Gloson Teh https://flic.kr/p/8119Px
  14. Maternal instinct CC-BY-ND Tambako The Jaguar https://flic.kr/p/Muizu

What a Wonderful World Book Day Week

 

Basket of tea and coffee

A warm welcome from Moorside Primary School, Swinton

I know World Book Day is just one day, but it turns into a whole week of celebrations in many schools, and for me. That’s a great thing. I was in a different school each day of the week and met so many wonderful students and staff, and many dressed as characters from books.

One thing I am finding more frequently now when I visit a school is that the day’s events are captured in images and video and tweeted before I even get home. Here are some examples.

tweetstwilfreds

Many thanks for such great week to all of the staff and students at Hunslet Carr Primary School (Leeds), St Joseph’s RC Primary (Bolton), Christ Church CofE Primary School (Oldham), St Wildrid’s Primary School (Sheffield) and Moorside Primary School (Swinton).

Thank you so much for such a wonderful day. The children, staff and parents really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the poetry the children created in such a short amount of time.” Vicky Sherrington, St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Bolton

We loved every minute, thanks so much – we’re all officially inspired.” Rachel Robinson, Moorside Primary School, Swinton.

A busy week for World Book Day 2016

Poem by nursury school class

It’s a busy time for a poet this time of year, and for schools, what with dressing up and doing lots of reading and great creative writing.

The poem in the photo (inspired by my I Like What I Like – see video below) was written with Nursery Children at Audenshaw Primary School, Manchester as a class effort. We performed it at the end of the day to the rest of the school. I was there to celebrate World Book Day 2016 and worked with every age group. A wide variety of excellent poems were written and performed. I had a great time, so thanks to all the staff and pupils for working so hard and for making me very welcome.

In all I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week. Thank you to Abingdon Primary School (Stockport),  Gorton Mount Primary Academy (Manchester) who have a fantastic steel band who played for me, Old Hall Drive Primary Academy (Manchester), Alexandra Park Primary (Stockport), Broadfield Primary (Oldham), and (last but not least) Silverdale Primary Academy (Newcastle-under-Lyme).

Thanks also to Authors Aloud who organised a couple of the bookings.

I like playing in the park
I like tig and hide and seek
I like swimming and paddling
I like what I like I do

I like ice cream and Mexico
I like Sealife and Lego
Let’s say hello to our Leo
We like what we like we do

I like flowers and rainbows
I like hopscotch and videos
I like porridge it fills me up
I like what I like I do

‘Light’ Poems at Tithe Barn Primary School (Heaton Mersey, Stockport) on October 5th

003 - Copy

I spent a great morning with a fantastic Year 6 class and their poetry loving teacher. I performed some of my poems and then got them writing. We kept to the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Light’ (which complemented the work they’d been doing in science).

As their teacher regularly gets them writing poetry I found they needed very little stimulus. I began with a short exercise based on the senses (e.g. If you could taste light what would it taste of? If you could hear it and it spoke to you what would it say? One answer was I’m faster than you!).

I then gave them a few writing options and suggestions to trigger their poems.

Light Bulb Moment – If you had a bright idea what would it be? What might you invent?

Trick Of The Light – I thought it was a…..(table?, tree? )
But it was a….(dog?, ghost?)

Lights Out – When the light goes
What lurks in the shadows?

Before lunch we managed to hear their new poems and fitted in a Q/A session where they asked me about writing and my life as a poet. A very satisfying morning. Thank you Tithe Barn for such a warm welcome. I left feeling quite light-hearted.

Poet-in-school day at St Wilfrid’s CE Primary School in Manchester

Bernard on the timetable

Bernard on the timetable

On Monday I was happy to be visiting St Wilfred’s CE Primary School only 3 miles from where I live in Manchester. The day began in the hall where I gave a performance of poetry and music (great joining in from everyone) to the whole school. After that I joined Year 1 in their classroom where I played them ‘I Like What I Like.’ We then composed a version based on their likes and performed it together.

By the end of the day I’d spent time with every class in the school (EYFS through to Year 6). Loads of new poems got written – class poems, individual poems, poems written with a partner or in small groups (there was  a class poem by Year 3 about a big golden bird  – not sure where that came from! – which was performed to my guitar accompaniment).

Thanks to all at St Wilfrid’s for the fun and enthusiasm and for a well organised day that whizzed by. Hope to see you all again sometime.

Airy Hill County Primary School got their literacy lessons off to a good start first week back

Cake

You know it’s going to be a good day when a member of staff arrives just after you with a homemade cake. And it was good. The day and the cake.

Thanks to everyone at Airy Hill CP School, Whitby, for giving me such a warm welcome on Thursday and for contributing to a very rewarding and creative day. I started off by performing to the whole school and then worked with Yr1 and Yr2 where we did class poems. Each class did their own version of my poem “I Like What I Like“. I visited all classes during the day and we gathered in the hall to hear a selection of new poems before school ended.

The poem photographed below, based on “Stig of the Dump“, was written by Year 4/5W, their teacher and myself. I played some music on guitar and said I needed some words to go with it, and this is what they came up with:

Poem about Stig of the Dump

A place for the creative and enquiring mind, St Johns Hall Gallery, Barmouth

Playing guitar as part of St Johns Hall Gallery Open Day

My performance as part of St Johns Hall Gallery Open Day on 20th August

Well I know I have been featuring things that have been planned in Barmouth quite heavily, but I have to report that we’ve had a very stimulating and enjoyable 3 days now that they have all happened. Thanks must be made to Bernard Barnes, whose creative vision made it all happen.

On Monday 18th August the two poetry workshops at St Johns Hall Gallery, kindly funded by National Theatre Wales TEAM, went well and produced good work from some experienced writers and others that had never had a go at poetry before. That was followed by a very warm cosy ‘cakey’ evening in the Aber House cafe, which has relatively recently opened and is a very civilised place to have a refreshment break. Mary Howell read so well and put life into the dialogue with her different accents, from her novel Murielle’s Angel. My selection of poems seemed to go down well and even though an adult audience, I was pleased to get the audience participation to Ref Rap.

Parade along Barmouth Harbour

The procession made it’s way along the harbour, Barmouth

Tuesday was going to be a day of rest, but we ended up going up to the Gallery again to offer assistance with last minute preparations for the Open Day on the Wednesday and I found myself ironing on stage (fabric to make the clothes for giant puppets) and helping out with the tidy up. Followed in the evening by Music Night at the Last Inn, hosted so effectively by the talented Barry Lim (who also danced the Chinese Lion the following day).

Then Wednesday saw us tour through the town, in a magical procession and I got to take lots of photos of it.

Giant puppet in front of Last Inn Barmouth

One of the giant puppets passing the Last Inn, Barmouth

That was followed by a very varied programme of entertainment, of which I was a part, at the Gallery from 1-6pm (first image) and then a musical evening. All in all a very enjoyable and stimulating few days.