It has become a tradition to release the latest FCBG booklist at the annual conference. This year the list is a selection of some of the best poetry books currently available for 5-12 year olds.
Just as we suspected, there was more than enough to choose from, but surprisingly many of our personal favourites were no longer in print, and we felt that it was important to highlight books that were available to buy at the time of going to press. A much wider selection is available of course through public libraries – or the poetry library if you can get into London to join. And new equally recommendable titles will continue to appear in the future.
We are delighted that Wenlock Books, the bookshop provider for the conference, will be including some of the titles from the list in their stock. This will provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to browse and buy.
Our selection of 40 (less than enough!) titles has been organised into three broad categories: starting out, moving on and taking off.
Starting out: Although nursery rhymes are traditionally for the very young, seeing familiar rhymes in print can be supportive for many emergent readers, and for those in the know, alternative versions are all the more entertaining. We’ve included some beautifully illustrated collections which are ideal for sharing or dipping into.
Moving on: Reading poetry can help newly independent readers develop confidence. We are delighted that performance poet and playwright Joseph Coelho, winner of Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) children’s poetry award, will be appearing at the conference on Saturday. Keep an eye on this annual prize – it highlights some of the best new titles and is currently the only award of its kind. https://www.clpe.org.uk/
Taking off: We hope that the titles suggested here will help to sustain an interest in and enjoyment of poetry and also serve as a bridge to more challenging verse. More experienced readers will begin to develop an ear for individual voices, discover their own personal favourites and begin to explore our rich literary heritage.
We have also included a couple of titles for adults, who may wish to encourage children to learn by poetry heart and perform it. One of the best ways to get children excited about poetry is through hearing it performed – by a visiting poet, on YouTube or simply by someone else reading it aloud. So let’s have more poetry please!