2017 is the 20th year of World Book Day. It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.
I’ve had some great visits to schools over the years in the week of World Book Day. Last year I visited seven schools just before and during World Book Day Week, mostly in Manchester where I am based. I blogged about it here.
It is always fun to see how teachers and students dress up as characters from their favourite stories. Such as the teachers from Albrough Primary School in 2015 (read more) and Oldfield Primary School, gosh was that one really 2012? (Read more).
Aldbrough Primary School
Oldfield Primary School
There is still time to book me for sometime around World Book Day. For an idea of how a day of poetry workshops can work in a school see here. If you are interested, please contact me to check availability and cost.
What ever you do, I hope it is something booky!
I hope all the teachers out there are having a lovely time still on holiday, sipping ice cold drinks, basking in the sunshine. But for those already thinking about returning back to school and lesson planning, there are some FREE LESSON PLANS and other resources for National Poetry Day on the NPD website.
Maybe a competition will provide some motivation. Here are some to look into:
National Poetry Day takes place the first Thursday in October every year in the UK. Each year there is a theme and this year it is MESSAGES. Here is a poem of mine on that theme to give you some inspiration.
A Reassuring Message
Anything that’s broken
I will mend
Anything that needs to go
I will send
Anytime you call me
I shall attend
You can ask me anything
I am your friend
I’m already booked for the actual day of National Poetry Day, but still have some slots that week, if you want to have me come to your school to kick off the creativity, or any other time of year is good too. Just contact me for availability and price.
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
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.
A poet in your school? Why not? The right poet (I mean me! but there are lots of us) can offer an exciting start to your school day (I include guitar and just enough joining in during my morning assembly performances). The children head off to classes with loads of writing ideas already in their heads and I then work with all ages throughout the day.
Teachers tell me that having an enthusiastic practitioner of the art in the classroom has a tremendous effect on them and the children. Together (teachers, children, poet) we produce fantastic new poems and usually share them before home time. After that we all go home (apart from the teachers who have yet another after-school meeting to attend).
For some ideas for bringing poetry in to the class room see my collection of blog posts on the subject – classroom ideas. Another way is to have a look at some of my videos on YouTube. They can be used for a sing along break during the day, or as a springboard for other poems using the same patterns. If you want to discuss what I could do in your school and what it will cost, please contact me.
We’ve been doing some updating of the website, and as part of that a new page has been added with a few of the more recent anthologies that my poems have appeared in. The new page is here. Generally poets get a one-off fee for a poem to appear in a collection such as these, and the books reference the person who selected the collection, as there is no editing involved. My work has appeared in a lot more than that list, but that gives a flavour, and there’s no point in pointing to books that are no longer easy to get hold of.
Teacher, Watch Out!
If I stare at you
You’ll develop a twitch
If I ignore you
You’ll start to itch
If I look through you
You’ll not be heard
If I watch your lips
You’ll muddle your words
If I close one eye
You’ll feel unsure
If I close two
So watch it!
If you set homework
I’ll shut my eyes
And you’ll be in
For a big surprise
This poem appears in Wanted Alive by Bernard Young.
In honour of National Stationery Week, I’m sharing a poem and picture that I used on Blipfoto a while ago.
A Notebook Is Indispensable
I love my notebook.
My new notebook. Blank pages.
I’ve only learnt about this event today and it’s the last day of the week. Maybe there’ll be another next year for all us lovers of the feel of paper and the flow of a pen. There must be some good alliterative and listing possibilities for poems on this theme. National Stationery Week are using the hashtag #NSW14 and their website is http://www.nationalstationeryweek.com/.
By the way what trick do you use to remember the meaning/spelling difference between stationEry and stationAry? I always think E for envelope that reminds me that stationEry is paper and pens and paperclips, and stationAry is not moving.
PS As I have also decided to set up on NaPoWriMo a week late for 30 poems in 30 days, I’m including this one for that too!
It’s that time of year when a poet is called to write about Love.
“Now no discourse, except it be of Love”
– Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona
“Love’s language starts, stops starts;
the right words flowing or clotting in the heart.”
– from Syntax by Carol Ann Duffy
“All You Need Is Love”
– The Beatles
“My room, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever:
I was wrong”
– from Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden
Ooh! I Think You’re Wonderful by Bernard Young
You’re the wings on my aeroplane
You’re the strings on my guitar
You’re the star in my night-sky
You’re the garage for my car
You’re the answer to my question
You’re the pen that writes my line
You’re the spring in my onion
You’re the tingle down my spine
You’re the zipper on my jacket
You’re the ketchup on my chips
You’re the method in my madness
You’re the promise on my lips
You’re the headline in my paper
You’re all my favourite smells
You’re the last piece in my jigsaw
Oops! Sorry, I thought you were someone else