A bucket for the truth

The poet Adrian Mitchell once described poetry as, “a bucket for holding the truth”. Adrian Mitchell was one of my favourite writers, and poetry is one of my favourite types of writing. So this is a space for some poems…

HAT RAISED TO FIFE!

 

So many library services are being cut and squeezed in modern Britain. But brilliant work is still being done by Fife libraries. They’re encouraging reading for pleasure with a dynamic host of events and author visits as part of Book Week Scotland. I travelled up to be a part of it and I couldn’t have loved it more – spending time writing poems and  bringing books to life together with the children of Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Cupar.

Here is the poem that the inventive children in our evening event at Kirkcaldy Galleries came up with:

 

LET’S INVENT A ROBOT

 

Let’s invent an animal-dispensing robot.

Let’s make it weird and magic.

 

Let’s invent a homework-doing robot.

Let’s make it ingenious and funny.

 

Let’s invent a kicking robot.

Let’s make it fast and strong.

 

Let’s invent a shark-spotting robot.

Let’s make it sharp-eyed and sharp-toothed.

 

Let’s invent a room-tidying robot..

Let’s make it helpful and hard-working.

 

Here’s a special piece of writing by children from Nursery to P3 at Bellyeoman Primary School in Dunfermline:

 

FEELINGS

 

Inside me there is rain pouring.

Inside me there is a bear on it own in the woods.

Inside me there is a lion growling and roaring.

Inside me the sun is shining.

Inside me there are pink and blue balloons.

 

And we had a great big gathering of children at The Corn Exchange in Cupar. There were children from Tayport Primary, Buckhaven Primary and Strathgigy had a go at writing an ‘inside me’ poem as well. And this was what they came up with…

 

THE INSIDE ME STORY

 

Inside me there’s a huge, wild tiger.

Inside me there’s a warm bowl of porridge with sugar.

Inside me there’s a cold an grey rain cloud.

Inside me there’s a birthday party.

Inside me there’s a yummy chocolate cake.

 



Posted November 26th, 2019

WEMBLEY POEMS

 

 

 

Thanks to the children from Year 2 at Oakington Manor Primary who joined me at Wembley Library last Friday morning. After some riddles, rhymes, stories, and conversation about being a writer, they thought about precious things in their lives. And they came up with this poem:

 

OUR SAFE POEM

 

My hungry black cat, Diva,

I will always keep her safe.

 

My dad, who watches Arsenal on TV,

I will always keep him safe.

 

My golden fish,

I will always keep him safe.

 

My colourful, glittery bicycle,

I will always keep it safe.

 

My leapy iguana,

I will always keep him safe.

 

My precious baby brother,

I will always keep him safe.

 

 

Then it was my pleasure to work with more Year 2′s from Oakington Manor in the afternoon, along with  a Year 1 class from Northview School. They came up with this bright-eyed little poem:

 

THE ANIMAL POEM

Kangaroo!

You grass and carrot eating,

small pocketed,

JUMPER!

 

Giraffe!

You brown-spotty,

fast-running,

LONG NECK!

 

Fox!

You carnivorous,

sneaky, cheeky,

SHARP TOOTH!

 

Happy reading and writing to you all!

Posted November 18th, 2019

YOUNG POETS AT KILBURN LIBRARY

What a treat. I spent a day working at Kilburn Library in west London, with children from two local schools.

It’s an  airy building with big, high windows. And even on a grey day, the place was lit-up  full of people in the mix of concentrations (studying, imagining, being practical, finding some calm) that gives libraries everywhere their life.

 

 

Then in came the kids aged 6 and 7. We spent time together in the world of stories, riddles and rhymes. And look at the poems they wrote:

 

LOUD AS AND QUIET AS

Louder than a lion roaring!

Louder than the thunder crashing!

Louder than an aeroplane taking off!

Louder than Mr Veater shouting!

 

Quieter than a moust getting cheese.

Quieter than a baby sleeping.

Quieter than a bed creaking.

Quieter than Mr Veater’s class when they’re lining up!

by Year 1 and Year 2 classes from Christchurch CofE Primary School, Brondesbury, working with Sean Taylor.

 

THE ANIMAL POEM

Lion…you hairy, smelly, orange and brown, scary meat-thief!

Dog…you tail-wagging, barking, running bone-chewer!

Dinosaur…you huge, noisy, big-jawed, big-toothed ROARER!

by Year 2 classes from Carlton Vale Infants School, working with Sean Taylor.

 

Thanks to special Library Development Officers Sarah Smith and Fiona Heffernan for organising and hosting. It’s valuable work you do.


Posted June 13th, 2019

KISS THE CROCODILE AT STORYSMITH BOOK SHOP

We had a much fun at Storysmith Book Shop in in Bristol this morning.

There were riddles and stories. There was elephant stomping. Some of the children were even brave enough to KISS THE CROCODILE!

And here is the lovely group poem that the children wrote:

 

MY FAMILY AND FISH

My four favourite jigsaws.

I will always keep them safe.

 

My special blue and orange tetra fish.

I will always keep them safe.

 

My favourite funny book.

I will always keep it safe.

 

My two little sisters, Clara and Isabel.

I will always keep them safe.

 

 

By children at Storysmith Book Shop, May 2019

 

 

 

Posted May 18th, 2019

DISCOVER

Thank you to the sell-out crowd who joined me at Discover Children’s Story Centre this week. We had a lot of fun with stories, riddles and rhymes.

And they came up with this lovely group poem inspired by my book – KISS THE CROCODILE.

 

NEVER KISS THESE THINGS

 

Never kiss a lion.

Never kiss a worm.

Never kiss a snake,

in case it bites your face.

 

Never kiss a crow.

Never kiss a crocodile.

It’s better to kiss your mum -

just in case…

 

Posted April 20th, 2019

IT’S SCARY ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT…

 


I’ve just had a great weekend at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival, doing events around my book I WANT TO BE IN A SCARY STORY! Thanks for having me and an extra special thank you to the children who came up with this spooky poem:

 

SCARY STORY POEM

 

Our scary story poem

has a spooky house in it.

It’s crooked and pointy.

It’s haunted.

 

Our scary story poem

has wolves  in it.

They’re big and vicious.

They’re frightening and deafening.

 

Our scary story poem

has a witch in it.

She’s got a green face.

She’s got a spiky cat.

 

So let’s leave them in the poem

and go for lunch.

And have a ham and cheese sandwich.

 

by children at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival 2018, working with Sean Taylor

 

Posted October 31st, 2018

YEAR ONE POETS IN PETERBOROUGH!

It was my pleasure to visit Queen’s Drive Infants School in Peterborough last week. My thanks go to Pop Up Festival for organising the day, and to the bright-eyed children in each of the classes I visited for coming up with the special selection of words we needed to write the following three poems:

 

ANIMALS POEM

Owl!

You fluffy,

pecky,

flappy,

sharp-clawed,

hard-beaked

BIG EYES!

 

Snake!

You wriggly,

scaly,

slithery,

thin,

hissy

SHARP TOOTH!

 

Lion!

You furry-maned,

pointy-clawed,

swishing-tailed,

hungry,

roaring,

deadly

KING OF THE ANIMALS!

 

by Year 1 Rabbits Class at Queen’s Drive Infants, Peterborough, working with Sean Taylor, as part of Pop Up Festival, June 2018

 

 

THE MONSTER

 

Let’s create a monster!

Let’s give it one huge eye.

Let’s give it sharp ginormous teeth.

Let’s give it spiky brown hair.

LET’S CREATE A SCARY MONSTER!

 

Let’s create a monster!

Let’s give it a fast-wiggling tail.

Let’s give it creepy claws.

Let’s give it pointy orange toes.

LET’S CREATE A FRIGHTENING MONSTER!

 

by Year 1 Squirrels Class at Queen’s Drive Infants, Peterborough, working with Sean Taylor, as part of Pop Up Festival, June 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 THE STORY OF SPRING AND AUTUMN

 

The spring path has big green trees.

The spring path has flowers, yellow, blue and turquoise.

The spring path smells perfumed and fresh.

 

The autumn path has crunchy leaves on the floor.

The autumn path is cold and chilly.

The autumn path is peaceful, silent, quiet and calm.

 

We are going to choose the autumn path.

 

by Year 1 Owls Class at Queen’s Drive Infants, Peterborough, working with Sean Taylor, as part of Pop Up Festival, June 2018

 

 

Posted June 29th, 2018

SPOOKY POEM FROM CHELTENHAM LIT FEST

My thanks to the audience of youngsters who gave me such a warm welcome to the 2017 Cheltenham Literature Festival and brilliantly joined in the story fun. Here is the spooky poem we came up with. (I hope it’s not so scary it makes you jump out of your skins…like bananas.)

 

THE SPOOKY…

GHOST, VAMPIRE, SKELETON POEM

Our scary story poem

has a ghost in.

He is invisible.

He is spooky.

Our scary story poem

has a vampire in.

He is bloodthirsty.

He is fierce.

Our scary story poem

has a skeleton in.

She is bony.

She is creepy.

So let’s leave them in the poem

and go home,

where it is safe

and it is warm!

 

By children from Andoversford Primary and St James’ C of E Primary, working with Sean Taylor at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, October 2017.

Posted October 9th, 2017

PORTSMOUTH…A CITY OF YOUNG READERS

Many thanks to Portsmouth Schools Library Service for inviting me down this week. I was delighted to spend time with the quick-thinking children and dedicated teachers at Penhale and Court Lane infant schools. And it warms an author’s heart to visit a city which puts energy all year round into getting children excited about books.

Here are some poems that the children came up with…

 

MY PRECIOUS THINGS

 

My dark white bunny-teddy.

I will always keep him safe.

 

My beautiful family.

I will always keep them safe.

 

My fantastic friends.

I will always keep them safe.

 

My fluffy hamster, Harry.

I will always keep him safe.

 

My secret diary.

I will always keep it safe.

 

My special gold necklace from my nan.

I will always keep it safe.

 

by Year 2 children at Penhale Infant School, working with Sean Taylor.

 

 

THE LION, THE TIGER AND THE GIRAFFE

 

An angry lion!

An angry lion!

She’s horrible.

She’s got a fluffy mane.

She’s hunting for food.

She’s thirsty.

An angry lion is the angriest thing in the world!

 

A naughty tiger.

A naughty tiger.

He’s rude.

He’s mean.

He’s growling.

He’s selfish.

A naughty tiger is the naughtiest thing in the world!

 

A happy giraffe.

A happy giraffe.

He’s grinning.

He’s laughing.

He’s funny.

He’s ticklish.

A happy giraffe is the happiest thing in the world!

 

by Year 1 children at Penhale Infant School, working with Sean Taylor.

 

 

LOUD NOISES, QUIET NOISES

 

Louder than a lorry with squeaking wheels!

Louder than a clown, playing a trumpet!

Louder than a fierce lion roaring!

Louder than a huge rocket launching!

 

Quieter than a mouse squeaking.

Quieter than a carrot growing.

Quieter than a spider crawling in the music room.

Quieter than a baby ant tiptoeing…

 

by Years 1 & 2 at Court Lane Infant School, working with Sean Taylor.

Posted November 3rd, 2016

LITTLE POETS IN CHELTENHAM

Thanks to the young poets who came along to my session at the Cheltenham Literature Festival yesterday. Look at these pictures with words that they painted…

 

ANIMAL POEM

 

An angry lion.

An angry lion.

She’s hairy.

She’s soft.

She’s red.

She’s sad.

An angry lion is the angriest thing in the world!

 

A naughty monkey.

A naughty monkey.

She’s fluffy.

She’s cheeky.

She’s silly.

She’s mean.

A naughty monkey is the naughtiest thing in the world.

 

A sleepy fox.

A sleepy fox.

She’s lazy.

She’s quiet.

She’s sneaky.

She’s greedy.

A sleepy fox is the sleepiest thing in the world.

 

A happy cat.

A happy cat.

He’s smelly.

He’s kind.

He’s smiley.

He’s funny.

A happy cat is the happiest thing in the world!

 

By children at Sean Taylor’s event at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2016

 

Posted October 10th, 2016