As part of Poetry By Heart's vibrant award ceremony at The Globe, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) announced the 2021 shortlist for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children's Poetry Award).
The shortlist announcement featured live poetry readings from leading children's poets alongside performances by children from primary schools who took part in the CLiPPA Shadowing.
Established in 2003, the CLiPPA is the UK's only award for published poetry for children. This year's shortlist, chosen from books published in 2020, demonstrates the vital resilience of poets and publishers. It celebrates exceptional poetry for children by brand new voices and the UK's best-known and best-loved children's poet.
The five books on the shortlist are:
Slam! You're Gonna Wanna Hear This, chosen by Nikita Gill (Macmillan)
Nikita Gill brings together exciting new poets, all well known to poetry audiences but many making their first appearance in print; the judges hail this as a book to excite young people about all the potential of poetry, curated with skill and passion.
Bright Bursts of Colour by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff (Bloomsbury Education)
The poems in Matt Goodfellow's collection range from the silly to the sensitive, and all will resonate with children aged 7 - 11. The judges admired the child's eye view, the dynamic representations of real-life experiences, and the book's understanding of a child's sensibilities.
Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann, Penguin
Compelling, powerful, and authentic, Mann's verse novel speaks directly to its YA audience. The judges loved the fresh voice and how a form that could feel archaic is made new.
Big Green Crocodile Rhymes to Say and Play, by Jane Newberry, illustrated by Carolina Rabei, Otter-Barry Books
A collection of new nursery rhymes, this is a book for parents and adults to share with the very youngest to spark a lifelong love of poetry. The judges call it a perfect post-lockdown book, allowing adults and small children to connect and share poems. It's beautifully presented and perfectly illustrated.
On the Move by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake (Walker Books)
On the Move is both personal and universal, with messages of home, identity and family. The judges found it full of emotion, delivered with a perfect sense of understatement; they praised the way words and illustrations provide pauses, allowing readers space to think.
The winner of the 2021 CLiPPA will be revealed at the The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Monday 11 October, in a Poetry Show introduced by CLiPPA judges, Zaro Weil and Allie Esiri, and featuring performances by the shortlisted poets. Schools across the UK and beyond will be able to watch the show on The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival platform and access poetry CPD sessions created by CLPE.
The free Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in CLiPPA 2021 will launch alongside the announcement of the winner in October.
Allie Esiri, chair of the judges, said: "If you think your child doesn't like poetry, please share the books on this year's CLiPPA shortlist. They are varied - a picture book, an anthology, outstanding single collections and a verse novel - but each one reminds us what the best poetry for children can do. The poets capture real life experiences that will excite their audience and speak directly to them; they plant images and ideas and allow them space to grow. Poetry demands more than other kinds of literature but gives back more too and there are poems in these books that will remain in the minds of their readers forever. I'm particularly pleased that there is a book for the very young on the shortlist, but all these collections could start a lifetime of poetry pleasure."
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE, said: "After the challenges of the last 18 months, we are delighted to be announcing the shortlist for the CLiPPA and thrilled to be doing it as part of the Poetry By Heart celebrations at The Globe amongst so many young poetry-lovers. Congratulations to the poets on the list, to the poets here today and all the young poetry performers, particularly CLiPPA shadowers Freddie Bland and Zane Siddiqui from Swaffield Primary School, who performed Brother and Sister, from A.F. Harold's anthology Midnight Feasts, and Benji Morris from Norwich Road Academy, Norwich who performed Fireworks, from The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog by Paul B. Janeczko. Now we look forward to another live event, the announcement of the winner at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Monday 11 October."
This year the judges are poets Zaro Weil, who won the 2020 CLiPPA with her collection Cherry Moon, and Amina Jama; Julie Blake, co-founder and Director of Poetry By Heart; and Charlotte Hacking, Learning Programmes Leader at CLPE. Allie Esiri, aka the 'poetry powerhouse', whose poetry anthologies include A Poem for Every Day of the Year and regularly top the bestseller lists, is chair of the CLiPPA 2021 judging panel.
For further information please visit www.clpe.org.uk/poetryline/clippa