CLiPPA: Celebrating Poetry for Young People

The fantastic child-centred award ceremony for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Poetry Award (known as CLIPPA), took place in the spacious Olivier Theatre on Friday 14th July this year. Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, the event is a showcase for the best poetry anthologies for young people aged 0-12, involving enthusiastic performances by primary school children and readings by the poets. All against the backdrop of author illustrator Chris Riddell’s live drawing! Several past winners were also in the room including Tony Mitton, Joe Coelho, Sarah Crossan, and Rachel Rooney, who chaired the judges’ panel and introduced the programme on the day.

Selected from more than 250 entries, five schools who had shadowed the award were chosen to perform on the day. Beginning with the Reception Class from St Thomas of Canterbury School who gave a ‘bearilliant’ performance of BEwARe! from Zim, Zam, Zoom! by James Carter (illustrated by Nicola Colton, Otter-Barry Books). James also read Splish, Splash, Splosh! with the help of the audience who enthusiastically joined in with the chorus and actions.

 This was followed by a group of Year 5 pupils from Whitehill Junior School who gave a very assured and funny performance of Finger Food from Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by Michael Rosen (illustrated by David Tazzyman, Bloomsbury). Sadly Michael wasn’t able to attend the event, but he sent a special message and appeared on film reciting A Cat.

A group of Year 4 pupils from Benedict Primary School gave a really cool performance of Hamster Man from Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, which beautifully captured the rhythm of the rhyme. Kate performed The Demon Mouth, which like all the other showcased poems, was deftly illustrated by Chris Riddell as it was read – amazing!

Next came an impressive solo performance of an extract from Booked by Kwame Alexander by a Year 5 pupil from Highfield Primary School. Kwame, who lives in America, spoke on film about his novel in verse for older readers and read another extract (Andersen Press).

And finally, three Year 5 pupils from Alexandra Junior School performed How Doth the Scary Centipede by Roger Stevens complete with insect costumes. Like all the poems in Wonderland: Alice in Poetry edited by Michaela Morgan (Macmillan), this poem is a response to Lewis Carroll’s novel. Fittingly, Michaela performed both The Lobster Quadrille and her own poem The Parent and Children Quadrille.

This fabulous afternoon of poetry concluded with the announcement of the winner. Congratulations to Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Elina Braslina, and published by The Emma Press. Once again the CLiPPA ceremony celebrated poetry for young people at its very best and demonstrated so brilliantly that poetry is written to be read aloud and performed.

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