Knowing that I enjoy reading poetry my Mum mentioned a book of poems written by children from schools in the local area. ‘Would you like to read it?’ she said, ‘I can get you a copy.’ I agreed, and a few weeks later, as I was leaving my parent’s house following Sunday dinner, Mum handed me the book. ‘It’s very good’ she said, I’ve enjoyed reading it.’
Poetry Wonderland is an anthology edited by Machaela Gavaghan. The book was published and organised by Young Writers, a group who run competitions and work with schools up and down the country.
For this competition and publication, Poetry Wonderland invited primary schools from Cheshire and Staffordshire to create wild and wonderful poems on any topic they liked, the only limit was the limit of their imagination.
In an age where funding of the arts in schools is decreasing it’s a real joy to see children in primary schools being encouraged to use their imagination and enjoy the experience of writing poetry.
On a personal level, I find that there’s something very honest in poetry written by children. It’s expressive, truthful and open, Poetry Wonderland had some great example of this. There is a full range of poems in this book, a mixture of styles and structures, some rhyming and some following a set pattern.
If I Had Hope is by Lily-Mai Jackson aged 9 from Wistaston Academy in Crewe and describes hope through each of the senses. It opens with:
If I had hope
I would touch the falling hearts that are far away
and fill them with magical tears…
This beautifully written poem finishes on a dream:
…If I had hope
I would dream of smiles and perfume for
The freedom of imagination in these poems also makes me smile. The Picnic On The Moon by Millar Anderson aged 11, from The Ryleys School in Alderley Edge, is just brilliant in its approach and explains what might go wrong if you decide to go to the moon:
The picnic on the moon,
It was a nightmare…
The tea was cold,
The drinks floated off,
The aliens ate all the sandwiches…
Determination and positivity also come through in many of the poems. One example of this is, I’m Walking On A Rainbow by Poppy-Jane Powell aged 8 from Burton Manor Primary School in Stafford:
Imagine if you could walk on a rainbow,
Who said you can’t?
W is for walk
A is for another rainbow
L is for learn to walk on the rainbow…
Creative writing also gives a platform for freedom of expression, and I think we can all relate to Tired by Grace Ivell, aged 9 from Broadbent Fold Primary School in Dunkinfield:
My neighbours alarm clock is loud…
…they need to get a new one
A bit quieter, I think.
To me, anthologies like this show how important it is to develop interest in the arts for younger children. Hopefully all those involved in this project will have had fun and this will encourage them to read and write more poetry in the future.
My Mum was right. I have enjoyed reading this book. It’s reminded me to have fun with my own creative writing, be more open with ideas and to read more children’s poetry.
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