CLiPPA Children's Poetry Award 2024 shortlist announced

Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Category: Book Awards

CLiPPA Children's Poetry Award 2024 shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2024 CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award) was announced at a live online event watched by school children across the UK.  From a record numbers of entries, the judges, chaired by poet Liz Berry, selected a rich and varied list of poetry.

The shortlist features outstanding new books from a past winner, Kate Wakeling; frequently shortlisted poet Matt Goodfellow; a carefully compiled anthology exploring the world of feelings; poems describing the everyday lives of young siblings in Guatemala, translated from Spanish; and an emotionally intense collection drawing on the poet's experience as a wheelchair user after becoming paralysed following an accident.

Judge Liz Berry said, "Each book on the shortlist is unique and offers something special: there are poems full of feeling, poems to make us laugh and dance, poems to help us see into the hearts and lives of others and feel changed....  Here, children are equals and collaborators in the poetry magic-making, invited to keep poems as friends for the rest of their lives."

This is the 21st year of the CLiPPA, and the winner will be announced on 12th July at a live event in London. Before then, CLPE expect 40,000 children to take part in the poetry award's Shadowing scheme, choosing and learning poems and creating special performances.

The CLiPPA shortlist (by suggested reading age):

A Dinosaur at the Bus Stop by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, Otter-Barry Books (4+)
My Heart is a Poem, various poets, various illustrators, Little Tiger Press (6+)
Balam and Lluvia's House by Julio Serrano Echeverria, illustrated by Tolanda Mosquera, translated by Lawrence Schimel, The Emma Press (7+)
The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, Otter-Barry Books (10+)
And I Climbed And I Climbed by Stephen Lightbown, illustrated by Shih-Yu Lin, Troika Books (10+)

Shadowing the CLiPPA Poetry Award

The CLiPPA encourages schools to explore the shortlist with their pupils through its unique Shadowing Scheme, which each year prompts poetry performances in hundreds of classrooms. Now the shortlist has been announced, schools can register to take part. 

As part of the shadowing scheme, children can choose their favourite poems from the collections and create their own poetry performances, either solo or in groups, and film them for the judges. The best of these poetry performances will be celebrated at the CLiPPA award ceremony at the National Theatre.   

The winner of the CLiPPA Poetry Award will be announced at the CLiPPA Poetry Show, live onstage at the National Theatre, Friday 12 July. The event will feature live poet readings from each shortlisted collection and the winning Shadowing performances too. Long-time CLiPPA supporter, former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, will live draw the event.

The CLiPPA Shortlist from the judges

A Dinosaur at the Bus Stop by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, is a typically witty and captivating collection by a poet who won the CLiPPA with her collection Moon Juice and was shortlisted in 2022 with Cloud Soup. Using the simplest vocabulary, these musical poems celebrate imagination and the world's variousness and encourage readers and listeners to do the same. The judges loved its 'performability' and the way the poet invites children to participate

My Heart is a Poem features poems by 20 different poets, including past CLiPPA winners John Agard, Valerie Bloom, Joseph Coelho and Karl Nova, as well as stars from the US and exciting new voices. The diversity is reflected in choice of illustrators too. The poems explore the world of feelings, from the depth of sadness to the heights of joy and everywhere in between. The judges loved the way it explores children's emotional landscapes without a trace of didacticism and described it as 'a pick and mix full of treasures'.

Balam and Lluvia's House by Julio Serrano Echeverria, illustrated by Tolanda Mosquera and translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel, is full of lively, playful but reflective poems, that invite the reader to run alongside Balam and his sister Lluvia as they go about their lives and through their house. The judges found the book fresh and distinctive, beautifully translated with an intensely poetic quality. It brought to their minds Shirley Hughes' Lucy and Tom series in the warm way it presents the child's eye view of the world. It's also a window into a different culture.

The Final Year is a verse novel from Matt Goodfellow, who has been shortlisted for the CLiPPA four times in the last three years: for Bright Bursts of Colour in 2021, for Being Me and Caterpillar Cake in 2022, and for Let's Chase Stars Together in 2023. With illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton, and full of references to David Almond's 1998 classic Skellig, it's the story of Nate as he navigates the final year of primary school, facing particular challenges at home. His life is one not often represented in children's books. The judges found this moving and thought-provoking with real emotional depth and loved its use of vernacular and poetic techniques, 'it captures the voice of the classroom'. A book that is a love-letter to poetry and what it has to offer.

And I Climbed And I Climbed is Stephen Lightbown's first poetry collection for children and draws on his experience as a wheelchair user after becoming paralysed following an accident. Written mostly in the voice of 8-year-old Cosmo who is unable to walk after falling from a tree, and illustrated by Shih-Yu Lin, the poems are angry, questioning, resigned, determined as he describes his feelings to the tree. The judges found it emotionally intense, an authentic representation of children who are not heard and a clear expression of difficult feelings.

Find out more on the CLPE website #CLiPPA2024 @clpe1