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Thank You, Baked Potato by Matt Lucas among the poetry recommendations from Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall




In her latest column, Bishop's Stortford College Prep School librarian Lizzie Hall says it's always the right time for rhyme...

Dear Reader. Poetry has many benefits. Not only does it bring new perspectives and insights, verse can give children the motivation to read, improving their verbal skills and vocabulary and enhancing empathy.

Here are some suggestions for poetry to read this week...

Babies and toddlers

Thank You, Baked Potato by Matt Lucas

'Wash your hands! Stay indoors! Only visit grocery stores!'

Thank You, Baked Potato by Matt Lucas (35512831)
Thank You, Baked Potato by Matt Lucas (35512831)

Matt Lucas's chart-topping charity song Thank You, Baked Potato is now a laugh-out-loud picture book – perfect for self-isolation storytime.

All author and publisher profits are going to Feed NHS, providing hot meals for thousands of critical care workers in NHS hospitals across the UK.

Ages 5-8

Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy by Michael Rosen

'Don't put confetti on the spaghetti

And don't squash peas on your knees

Don't put ants in your pants

Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy by Michael Rosen (35512835)
Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy by Michael Rosen (35512835)

Don't put mustard in the custard'

If your child has only one collection of poetry on their bookshelf it has to be this one. The book includes an introduction by Michael Rosen and an audio CD of the book, with all the poems also read by Michael.

Michael's brilliantly conversational poetry is fantastically matched by Quentin Blake's loopy yet perfectly detailed art. It is a partnership that Bloomsbury is proud to be making newly available.

Ages 9-12

A Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Allie Esiri

The poems – together with introductory paragraphs – have a link to the date on which they appear. Shakespeare celebrates midsummer night, Maya Angelou International Women's Day and Lewis Carroll April Fool's Day.

This is perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, containing a full spectrum of poetry from familiar favourites to exciting contemporary voices.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, W. B. Yeats, A. A. Milne and Christina Rossetti sit alongside Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy and Benjamin Zephaniah.

A Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Allie Esiri (35512828)
A Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Allie Esiri (35512828)

Tweens

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England.

Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.

Written in verse this is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants.

Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (35512825)
The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (35512825)

Teens

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighbourhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers - especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without Mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (35512821)
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (35512821)

Adults

Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres

This is the brand new collection of verse from the national treasure Pam Ayres. Chock-full with the same charm that has enchanted her fans for more than four decades, her new collection is both side-splittingly funny and utterly profound.

From the horror of playing host in The Dinner Party and complaints about pub tableware in Don't Put My Dinner on the Slate! to a poignant look at war in Down the Line, or the nostalgic Up in the Attic, in which Pam is deluged by memories when searching for an old document, this new collection will tickle and move readers in equal measure.

Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres (35512819)
Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres (35512819)


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