CLiPPA Shortlist

Poetry is such a vital part of literacy and the CLiPPA Award is a trendsetter for poets! We loved seeing the announcement of the shortlist earlier today and are so pleased to feature a guest post from the chair of judges 2021, Allie Esiri.

The CLiPPA – a celebration of the best new poetry for children

By Allie Esiri, chair of the 2021 judges

Poetry is my passion so I love the CLiPPA, CLPE’s Children’s Poetry Award. The CLiPPA is the UK’s only award for published poetry for children and through its wonderful Shadowing Scheme, it enables schools everywhere to explore the books on the shortlists and create joyful, live poetry performances with their pupils.

It was an honour, a delight and a huge responsibility therefore to be invited to chair this year’s judging panel! My fellow judges – poets Zaro Weil, who won the 2020 CLiPPA with her collection Cherry Moon, and Amina Jama, one of the young poets featured in the Rising Stars anthology; Julie Blake, co-founder and Director of Poetry By Heart; and Charlotte Hacking, Learning Programmes Leader at CLPE – had 30 books to consider and a target of five for the shortlist. We were looking for books that provide the best models of poetry for children, across all forms. We wanted collections for children of different ages, poetry that will entertain and engage a new generation.

The debate was as lively as you’d expect and we ended the meeting inspired and very happy with our list. Here’s our shortlist, which really does demonstrate all that poetry can do:

Slam! Youre Gonna Wanna Hear This, chosen by Nikita Gill, Macmillan This is an empowering collection featuring many of the most exciting up-and-coming poets, alongside some more established voices, selected by the brilliant Nikita Gill. We all agreed this is a book that engages young people about all the potential of poetry, curated with skill and passion.

Bright Bursts of Colour, Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff, Bloomsbury Education
Matt Goodfellow’s poems range from the silly to the sensitive, and will resonate with children aged 7 – 11. We loved the child’s eye view, the dynamic representations of real-life experiences, and Matt’s clear understanding of a child’s sensibilities.

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann, Penguin
Verse novels are enjoying a resurgence, and we loved the way Manjeet uses the form to speak directly to her audience, conveying so much so concisely, and with such authenticity and power.

Big Green Crocodile Rhymes to Say and Play, by Jane Newberry, illustrated by Carolina Rabei, Otter-Barry Books
This is a beautifully presented and perfectly illustrated collection of new nursery rhymes, which is perfect for parents, guardians or older kids to share with the very youngest to spark a lifelong love of poetry. After all, nursery rhymes grow up to become poems.

On the Move, Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
With its messages of home, identity and family, On the Move is a strikingly personal and universal story. Delivered with a perfect sense of understatement, we were full of admiration for Michael Rosen’s words and Quentin Blake’s illustrations.

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 special Poetry Show. The free Shadowing Scheme will launch alongside the announcement of the winner but you can sign up now on the CLPE website

In the meantime, do read, share and be inspired by these five exceptional poetry collections.

Allie Esiri curates live poetry events and bestselling poetry anthologies that include A Poem for Every Day of the Year, A Poem for Every Night of the Year and Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year. A Poet for Every Day of the Year will be published in September 2021.

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