Monday, 24 July 2017

An evening with Patrick Gale by Tracy Alexander

Patrick Gale had a desire to be anything that didn’t make money ­– a musician, an actor, an author . . .

A friend of a friend ‘won’ him in an auction and so I heard this first hand in her living room. It’s always a treat to see inside another author’s mind, and to meet someone whose books I have enjoyed – most recently, A Place Called Winter – made it all the more interesting. Here’s some more of what the author of 16 novels and many other written works, including Man in an Orange Shirt soon to be aired on BBC TV, had to say:

Learning to write – Reading teaches you to write.

Writing is a 9 to 5 job ­– Patrick gets up and out to his office by 9, unless he’s in publicity mode.

Pens and paper still have a place ­–  He writes the whole manuscript in a notebook. The front is the story. The back is his quarry where he jots notes. He carries it around with him. There’s no copy! When the draft is finished, he types it up, editing along the way.

Structure – Chronology isn’t something he’s fond of. Many of his books play with structure – it’s something he’s interested in. Time, character, place . . . can all dictate the final shape. When he transfers the words from the notebook to the computer and can cut and paste huge swathes at will he finds the right way to tell the story. Breaking up the narrative means you can avoid the boring bits and focus on crisis points. When using time shifts, he finds the historical parts are more compelling and have more energy – maybe because they take more effort.

On research in the field –­ Write as much of the story as you can before you go so that your time is targeted and you don’t end up shoe-horning in stuff because you bothered to find it out!

His territory – Family, of which he has a rich personal source.
 

Titles – How refreshing to learn that he changes his mind repeatedly . . . The Lead-lined Room has become Thumb Position and now maybe The Rocks Along Our Way.

His favourite book – Most proud of the most recent. Most protective of the WIP.

His favourite writer – Colm Tóibín

Noting down snippets in wee jotters for future use – Not something he does. ‘The things you need to remember you’ll remember when you need them.’

And the future – Patrick is getting braver . . . and darker.

Tracy Alexander

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bananas, Stones And A Blade Forever Flashing - Part Two by Steve Gladwin



This month my blog goes out on a Sunday, so for those of you who are reading it and are at a bit of a loose end, here’s an idea. Get on youtube and find the complete version of Children of the Stones, an acknowledged seventies TV eerie classic.

This month I intended to re- watch favourite seventies children’s TV. I was going to again give myself the pleasure of Belle and Sebastian and The Flashing Blade, as I have copies of both. I might even have called in on The Banana Splits and The Arabian Knights segment in particular, or listened to the theme music to Freewheelers and hummed along for a bit. (If confused see last month!)

However rather typically I didn’t think about doing any of this until I realised in a mad rush a few days ago. So with thanks to the generous soul who planted it on youtube, I sat down with my partner a few days ago to watch Children of the Stones. My first and only viewing of it was when it was first transmitted in 1977. In retrospect I’m more than a little shocked to realise I was already eighteen at the time.

No I didn't know that it was a novel either.


I remember it having quite an effect on me, being enthralled by the plot and the eerie music and I also remember people saying ‘Happy Day’ all the time.
After a recent conversation with a fellow fan, (thanks Kelly) I decided to chase up the DVD - which I really must get some time - but now we’ve seen it on youtube I REALLY MUST get the DVD because let me tell you folks that Children of the Stones is still fantastic.

There are one or two weaknesses I suppose. It has a dated feel sure, but not as much as you'd expect, and one or two of the child actors are a bit MFI and the housekeeper is a wee bit clichéd and Freddie Jones as Dai the poacher does tend to mumble, but these are minor quibbles when the story, script, performances, music and effects are so good for their time. Having urged you to watch it however I have no intention of ruining the plot for you, but here’s a brief summary of the initial premise.

Adam Brake, an astrophysicist and his son Matthew move to the Avebury lookalike village of Milbury, (the series was filmed in Avebury) where they find that nearly everyone is rather alarmingly happy. In the one classroom school, Matthew finds that the children on the top table can solve alarmingly complex equations, whereas most of those new to the village don’t know where to start. These includes Matthew, who is almost as bright as his dad.

Gareth Thomas, Iain Cuthberston and the children.


It soon becomes apparent that the whole village is in some way under the control of the local squire figure Hendrick, whose house lies on a confluence of Milbury’s many ley lines. When people try to leave the village, they are first stopped by the stones and later 'assimilated'.  It turns out that everything that is happening in the village is a consequence of a long ago super nova which was actually named after Hendrick, who discovered it, and to say that it’s gone to his head is a wee bit of an under-statement.



There’s a whole lot more to it than that of course, and for a piece of so called children’s TV it is remarkably multi-layered with many concepts and ideas far ahead of their time being discussed intelligently not just by adults, but often by Matt and his dad. There is also an absence of overt cliché and just when you think it’s inevitable, the script pulls back and that’s maybe one of the reasons the whole thing ends up feeling so well rounded. Although Matt and his dad team up with Margaret, who runs the local museum and her rather odd little daughter Sandra, this story is very much about a boy and his father and the fact that one is not only a chip off the old block, but one whose opinions and skills are increasingly honoured and appreciated by his dad, adds to it considerably.

Matt is aided in his discoveries by both the old poacher Dai and particularly by an evocative painting of the stone circle itself, which he was mysteriously drawn to years before he ever heard of Milbury, (now tell me you don’t want to watch it now?).



If there is the equivalent of a leit motif in the series it is this painting which not only has the poor house keeper fainting and spilling her tray of chocolate cake, when she first sets eyes on it, but which also alters in strange ways and provides more than one clue to the developing mystery.

As my partner said, this also a very sciency series, but it’s one whose concepts you feel like you can get your heads round, (which for me is something, let me tell you!). What I really appreciated was how the real and the - pseudo but based on actual fact and religious or scientific practice - seem to meld so convincingly. And like in the best and most enduring eerie children’s classics, (The Box of Delights and The Dark is Rising for example) we ourselves are drawn in through the eyes of Matt.

I said before that Children of the Stones stops short of actual cliché and that is mainly due to the acting, particularly the adults, but it’s particularly so in the case of Iain Cuthbertson’s portrayal of Hendrick, who is urbane and smooth very much in the manner of Charles Gray in either The Devil Rides Out or as a nemesis to Bond in Diamonds are Forever. Like Charles Gray, Iain Cuthbertson understands that even in a series made for children, it is studied normality rather than hectoring bombast or piling on the slime that brings the best results. Freddie Jones just about avoids going in either direction, and both Gareth Thomas as Adam Brake and Veronica Strong, (the wife of series co-creator Jeremy Burnham) as Margaret, give solid portrayals of Everyman and Woman. The best scenes for me involve either Matt and his dad or Adam and Hendrick.

There seems to be an odd emphasis in the series on the single parent family, and of the four pairs of newcomers to the village, three are fathers and sons. Is there something they aren’t telling us? Peter Demin was actually 17 years old at the time he played Matt and perhaps that helps give the character some of the age-old wisdom he seems to have.

Another thing I noticed at the end of our two and a half hour watch is that there are so many ideas and layers here, (such as the workings of an atomic clock and the idea of free will) that it’s a wonder they could fit them all in. Apparently when the director Peter Graham-Scott first saw the script, he couldn't believe something so eerie and disturbing was meant to be for children. Most TV shows nowadays would give their eye-teeth for half of the good ideas Children of the Stones effortlessly piles up and in the last of its seven episode alone, part one ends up at the point where most other shows would seriously fizzle out. Not a bit of it with COTS, for after the break, mystery continues to be piled on mystery until perhaps the greatest of all is left right until the end.


  
I could go on and on about what makes COTS tick so well and in the context of the series this is a highly appropriate metaphor. It’s difficult to have something you only vaguely remember come so far past expectations, but while we were watching the series I was able to recapture just a little of my past and possibly conjure up just a little of the excitement I must have felt each week as each episode is left on an always exciting cliff-hanger. One of the series unique features by the way is how the word circle appears in all seven episodes, as follows.

Into the Circle, Circle of Fear, The Serpent in the Circle, Narrowing Circle, Charmed Circle, Squaring the Circle, Full Circle.


However, if there is one thing which makes the series stand out, (and I haven't forgotten either the incredibly eerie choral music by composer Sidney Sagar, performed so memorably by the Ambrosian Singers), it must be its unique location in the actual village in the middle of a stone circle, Avebury. Watching COTS, you simply can’t avoid either the presence of the stones, or the feel of there being a village within it. And the stones themselves are used in so many inventive and often terrifying ways, sometimes just part of the landscape we come to take for granted, and just as often symbolic of other concepts or terrifying discoveries. This is echoed equally in the ever recurring picture which depicts the original sequence of events in megalithic times now being repeated by Matt and his dad.

The painting by west country artist Les Matthews, which now lives in Avebury Manor


And that's what Children of the Stones felt like to me on only my second viewing forty years onwards. What it was to me then, it certainly remains now - an exciting voyage of discovery with a surprise around every corner. Do yourself a favour and seek it out.

'Happy Day.'   

PS If you didn't know, Jeremy Burnham wrote both a novel and this sequel.



Steve Gladwin - 'Grove of Seven' and 'The Year in Mind'
Writer, Performer and Teacher

Author of 'The Seven' and 'The Raven's Call'

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Birthing a Book, by Dan Metcalf

Above all, remember to breathe...

You've carried this strange beast inside of you for far too long. When you first announced it, you were happy to talk and show off about your new found authorship. People were happy for you – you seemed happy too, exuding a kind of care-free 'glow'. People made plans. Big plans.

“We're going to have a party to celebrate its arrival!” they said. You were pleased, but now you are not so sure. You just want a quiet time. No fuss, just a few drinks with friends. If you're not too tired.

But wait. Let's go back to the beginning. The conception of the thing is a hazy memory; you had had too much to drink. It seemed like a good idea. At the time.

And so you did the deed – in a splurge of creativity you made this small 'thing'. Was it a book? You weren't sure. You needed to check with someone.

You told a few people about it, and they were enthusiastic too. Word got around and you went to the big meeting, holding your partner's hand with sweaty palms. You were nervous. You were excited too, but excitement doesn't always come with heart palpitations and perspiration. Then the man behind the desk gives you the news you'd been waiting for. You're going to be expecting...a new book.

The celebrations begin, but you still have the gestation period to go. You stare at your baby, caring for it and gazing at its perfection on the screen. Then you go for regular check-ups with the editor. This is where they drop the heart-shattering message:

“Your book is fine, but...”

But? But what? It's defected in some way? Underdeveloped?

Nothing a few doses of redrafting can't fix, the editor says. Phew. Now you get to spend more time with your baby. Endless nights, tending it and checking it is okay every five minutes.

Endless. Nights.

Slowly, you begin to resent the book. You resent it for the amount of time it takes from you, for the social life it robbed from you. But you love it too. You love its crinkly edges and imperfections, the way it makes you feel; how could you not? It came from you, remember?

In the weeks before it is due to come out, friends will call you.

“Hi! Is it out yet?”

You stare down the phone. Of course it isn't out yet! You're still waking at nights thinking about it, drudging around in the daytime in a half-coma. You would have told someone if it was out yet! You would have told everyone!

Then the day comes. The date that had been emblazoned on your brain for months arrives and your new creation is set free into the world. People congratulate you! Strangers congratulate you! You feel elated, lighter than you have done for months. Your baby, the thing you made from nothing, is now part of the world. You're happy.

You look at it. It's ugly at first; not what you expected. But God, you love it, and you will until your dying day.

Dan Metcalf proudly gave birth to his newest addition, Codebusters, on July 13. It weighs in at 127 grams and is 144 pages long. You can look at it here and here. Dan, being an overly-proud father, has even started posting videos about it on YouTube. Don't worry about the yellow cover; that's a design choice, not jaundice.

Friday, 21 July 2017

An Irish Just William - my dad. By Anne Booth

My lovely dad died on the 30th June. He was 90, and was emphatically NOT a reader. Love of reading and writing had been beaten out of him as a school boy growing up in Ireland in the 1930s, and so he spend most of his childhood 'midging' from school, running across fields with his dogs or hiding in haystacks from the authorities, trying to avoid the humiliation of being caned and feeling a failure. He knew first hand about tickling trout and salmon, ploughing with horses and riding them bare back when the farmer wasn't looking, and rabbiting with his dogs at night - one memorable evening catching 90, which he sold to his neighbours - including, I seem to remember, the policeman - and giving the money to his mother to help with the family.


This is not a picture of my dad as a boy (I wish I had one)  - but one I found online which reminds me of him.

http://booleweb.ucc.ie/index.php?pageID=605
Runner-up! A Kelly, perhaps… from the collection of photographer Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh, who documented life in rural Ireland between the 1930s and the 1950s
The race

https://roaringwaterjournal.com/2015/12/06/murphy-wins-by-a-neck/

Dad was very proud I was a writer but did not read any of my books, and never really understood why I loved and needed them so much. Books were not a source of pleasure to him, but of dread - and yet he loved stories. He could make a good tale out of a short walk down a road. He knew lots of exciting stories about Saints, and he watched consumer programmes about cheating plumbers and would always tell me cautionary tales about them. He loved the dramas of X Factor and Britain's Got Talent and Judge Rinder,  and in his 9 years living in my village, chatted to everyone at the bus stop and on the 89 and 17 bus. He couldn't always catch when people said to him, as he was hard of hearing and refused to wear his hearing aid, but he filled in the gaps with his own stories about them which he relayed to me - one retired business man became a retired jockey on the basis of his height and a comment about horses, and Dad refused to accept my alternative, less interesting version.

So when I hear about people not liking books, I understand. I even sometimes wonder if people who, like Dad, actually do the things I read about, maybe just don't need books the way I did and do. I read about Just William - my dad was an Irish version of him. I wish I had the practical, lived skills and knowledge my dad had. When he was 81, and only newly arrived in my Kent village, one of my neighbours lost her pet rabbit. It was spotted going from garden to garden, and nobody could catch it. To the distress of its owner, the rabbit, pursued by well meaning neighbours, eluded us all. Then I thought of asking my dad's advice. He put on his cap and came to the last garden where the rabbit had been sighted. He didn't run after him as we had been doing. He stood still, saw where the rabbit was, took a step forward and then suddenly, I still don't know how, the rabbit was safely back in the cat carrier or basket my relieved neighbour, had provided. I felt like bursting with pride. As a child growing up in the 1970s I read about and wanted to be, one of Enid Blyton's characters like Jimmy Brown from Mr Galliano's Circus  or Philip or Jack from 'The Island of Adventure' and other books - or Dickon from 'The Secret Garden' (funny how all my animal loving role models were boy characters), but my contacts with animals and birds were all in my head and day dreams - books helped me learn about nature - but Dad's knowledge was lived and practical.



My commitment to, and pride in, my career as a writer of books is partly based on the belief that stories in text can help increase empathy and the development of imagination - but I think the first thing is the story. Story might not necessarily be best communicated to everyone by the printed word - oral story telling and theatre and  visual and cinematic arts are also important. My school-avoiding dad loved films. He was caught and hit for standing on a wooden box looking in the window at a Mickey Mouse film put on in his village - he didn't have the penny to pay to go in and sit and watch it. When he was a teenager he used to walk miles to go and see a film at the cinema in the nearest town. I remember watching Westerns with him on TV - sometimes I had to go to bed before the ending, and he always used to come up and tell me, 'well, the goodies won, and the baddies lost,' and that succinct summary was enough to help me get to sleep.

My dad loved stories but he associated reading and books with failure and corporal punishment and the abuse of power. His lack of self confidence in reading and writing meant that he was very keen that me and my brothers should work hard at school, but at the same time he was very sceptical about book learning and information on pages. This even extended to maps - and I remember, as an adult, a very frustrating holiday in Ireland where my dad could not believe  that we could drive him across Ireland using a motorist's atlas, and insisted on regular stops to ask random people if we were going the right way. Maybe he would have been happier if we had had a SatNav with a voice.

I do wish my dad had been taught in a different way and had loved books though - because I do think that he would have gained more personal self confidence and agency when dealing with forms and authorities, but also had so much fun and enjoyment from them. I had one conversation with him when he was dying which convinced me of this and made me so happy we had, but sad about all the books Dad missed and might have loved.

My dad had a strong religious faith and firmly believed that there was a heaven. He knew he was dying and was looking forward to having the 'craic' in heaven with my mum and his friends and family. He said 'sure all the people I worked with are up there - and some of them were wild.' He was very brave in the days leading up to his death, and the day before he died there were lots of people coming in and out his house where he was in bed- the GP, nurses, hospice carers, our priests and different members of his family. He found it hard to speak, but he said to me, with a twinkle in his eye, 'there's a lot of excitement'. I said 'there's a character in a book,* Dad, who said that 'to die will be an awfully big adventure'. For the first time I saw in Dad's eyes, that light I have seen in children's eyes which comes on when they 'find themselves' in a book. He was really listening to me and really interested - because he had at last encountered a character from literature with whom he identified: Peter Pan.

So I am glad that J.M Barrie created 'Peter Pan', and I am glad there are writers and publishers who are using all their skills to beguile reluctant readers like my dad and introduce them to books. Not liking reading or not being able to spell is not the same thing as not liking stories or being able to tell them. I wish I could have met my dad as a little boy and told him not to be afraid of books. I wish I could have shown him the beautiful picture books we have now, and shared non-fiction and comics and exciting adventures with him. I know that one thing I would like to do to honour him now, apart from learning to garden like him, and maybe learning to ride (!) and to be more out in nature,  is to put him in a book myself -  in the hope that maybe a modern child's eyes will light up and recognise themselves in him when they meet him in print.


*I think that quote might be from the play, rather than the book - I can't put my hand on a copy right now.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Not Too Tidy by Joan Lennon

I've had two quotations kicking around in my mind.  The first is by Joan Aiken, on writing for children: 

"It is the writer's duty to demonstrate to children that the world is not a simple place.  The world is an infinitely rich, strange, confusing, wonderful, cruel, mysterious, beautiful, inexplicable riddle."  The Way to Write for Children.

And the second is from an article by Tim Lott in The Guardian:

"For if I am static as a fully grown adult, then I am doing something wrong. I am holding on to myself too tightly, just as some parents hold on to their children too tightly. Life, yes, is loss and letting go. But without that loss and letting go, it would be like a plastic flower. Indestructible, but ultimately valueless." Life is about loss and letting go.


I think these quotes have taken up residence in my head because a) I am in the process of writing a book with loss and letting go as inescapable aspects of the plot, and b) I am drawn to open-ended endings in my novels.  Riddles that have more to them than can be contained in one story.  I don't mean setting things up for a sequel.  I mean after the book is finished, the world of the story carries on, like Alec Guinness in the last moments of The Man in the White Suit. 


And then, coming as a third, I read this quote from Madeleine L'Engle:

"I believe that good questions are more important than answers, and the best children's books ask questions, and make the readers ask questions. And every new question is going to disturb someone's universe."  Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?

A tidy summing-up paragraph is called for, now, connecting these thoughts, but I don't know exactly what to put in it.  So perhaps I'll end by inviting conclusions, comments, resonances from you?   



Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.
Walking Mountain.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Crying Game (or Books That Make You Weep) - Lucy Coats

I've been thinking a lot about Philip Pullman's work lately, probably triggered by all the debate about the discounting of the long-awaited La Belle Sauvage (coming this October) and its effect on indie booksellers (which Rowena House talked about in a post earlier this month). Not only thinking either -- I've just re-read the whole Northern Lights trilogy and associated novellas with immense pleasure. And, as usual, I dreaded getting to Chapter Fourteen in The Subtle Knife, entitled 'Alamo Gulch'.

There are parts of certain books which make me cry, every time I read them. And not just cry. It's the ugly sobbing kind of crying which leaves a hole in my heart. I know it's going to happen, but I love those particular books so much, that I would never not re-read them. So why does Lee Scoresby and Hester's end do me in? I've read so many books where characters I love die, with never a glimpse of a watery eye, so why that one? And why Chapter Twelve of The Darkest Road, the third book in Guy Gabriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry, the one where Diarmuid dan Ailell takes the long road home? Every time I get close, my heart rate goes up, and I have to steel myself to turn the page to where that particular battle to the death starts. (There are more too, but I won't list them all, to spare you!)

Trying to make sense of emotional reactions to books is always hard. My critical brain is asking me to discover what exactly it is in that piece of writing which pulls at my heartstrings, and how the writer did it, what trick they used, so I can use it too. My heart though, is saying 'it just is that way, don't try to analyse it'. But having thought about it for this piece, I think I do have some sort of answer. What pulls my heart apart is a character of great gallantry and wit, who sacrifices him or herself for others. It's as simple as that.

I'd love to know what books make you all cry every time (if you can admit that any do!) and why. Or am I alone in my recurrent weeping?

Monday, 17 July 2017

CLIPPA 2017, POETRY AND ME… by CHITRA SOUNDAR


On Friday, 14th July 2017 I attended the Clippa as a guest. For those who haven’t heard about it, CLIPPA is the poetry award given by CLPE for published collections of poetry for children.

This year’s judge was Rachel Rooney, who herself won the CLIPPA in 2012 and was my Arvon tutor in 2015 when I dragged myself up to Yorkshire to immerse myself in the world of children’s poetry.

As a kid, I loved rhymes and still do. The songs and rhymes in Tamil which is my mother tongue were often rhyming ones. And the bulk of our popular music is from the movies – as you know most Indian cinema produces sing-alongs and musicals. Much of our poets make their living as lyricists for movies. As much as they publish poetry collections and recite poetry – the rice and lentils come from the movie industry.

Here is Vairamuthu - who writes amazing poetry in Tamil as well as being one of the most popular contemporary lyricists in the movie industry. I apologise ahead that this is in Tamil and of course would not make any sense if you don't speak the language. But I just wanted to demonstrate a little bit. This is his poem about his mother. 



So most of the songs I know growing up, and most of our poetic references to life, philosophy, friendships and heartbreaks are lyrics of movie songs not unlike the pop music lines folks in Britain quote to me (which I should admit goes over my head).

So it was no surprise that my first attempt at writing was poems that rhymed. I was eight I think, when the regional radio came for some recording in our children’s club – Mum had arranged all of us to perform something and as a 8-year old with an entourage of two – my sister and the sister of my neighbour – two 4 year olds were put on the spot. I made up a 4-line song (rhyming  of course) and they recited it with me and we were on radio! I still know the song and sing it for my nephews much to the amusement of my family.

Then when I was 13, I read a poem in a textbook and loved it. I ended up visiting the poet –literally landing on his doorstep and being inspired to write my own poems. You can read that story here. 

So I wrote all sorts of poems. Perhaps influenced by popular culture, I even wrote love poems even before I knew what love was. I still write love poems every time someone breaks my heart or makes it flutter. But I don’t usually share it with the world.

I still write poetry all the time but I rarely call myself a poet. I’m not sure whether that’s because I write more rhymes than not. I read a lot of poetry for sure – more now than before. I enjoy listening to spoken word performances but I never claim I’m a poet. For a while I wrote 1000s of haikus – I loved putting nature and life lessons together.

I had abandoned writing in my mother-tongue long before – I was more proficient in English than I was in my own language. The problem with rhymes for me was that they didn’t work when I wrote them especially in English.

It took me years to figure out that my stress, my accent and my pronunciation was not how native English speakers speak. And therefore what I thought rhymed didn’t rhyme or fit the beat for others.  Anyway many people kindly and often in an unkindly way pointed out that my rhymes don’t work. I wrote free verse, sent them out and even got a couple published here and there. But most came back.

And for a while I wrote poetry only in my notebook and focussed on picture books.  Which is a different kind of poetry anyway.


When I took the Arvon course taught by Rachel and Roger McGough in 2015, Rachel was not only patient with me, she even encouraged me to write both free verse and rhyme – except for rhyme of course I needed more work, more persistence, and perhaps another person to help. And she still remembers the poem about EATING SOAP that I wrote. 

Yes persistence does help. I can now proudly say that I’ve placed ONE poem in an anthology that’s coming out in 2018 and I have a rhyming picture book come out in 2018 too. So there’s no holding back anymore – I’m going to be writing poetry for a long time to come. But I doubt I would ever call myself a poet. At least not yet.

I digress. The reason I was at the Clippa was because Rachel had kindly invited her Arvon students to the ceremony. And what a lovely treat it was. The readings from the poets, the children’s performances and of course Chris Riddell live drawing the event – it was all brilliant. And I got to meet so many friends and made new friends too.

So to celebrate the Clippa and to encourage most of us to read poetry, here is a selection. 

Some of my favourite poems are simple, yet full of wisdom.

Here is one that’s so evocative. And every time I read it, it invokes perhaps a new meaning.


I also love the Thought Fox by Ted Hughes.


One of my favourite novel in verse is LOVE THAT DOG by Sharon Creech.

 From India, I’ve just started discovering many poets who write for adults. But for children, I love Ruskin Bond for sure. Read some of my recommendations here

Many of my friends are poets and a group of them showcase their work here. Do check them out. 

The list of contemporary poets I love is too long to list here. I have perhaps read all modern poets who write for children especially. Both from the UK and America. So instead of listing them I thought I’d share less than 10% of my list of poetry books I own.


Back to Clippa though! The winner of this year’s award is Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa and published by Emma Press.




If you have not read it yet, check it out!


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Find out more about Chitra Soundar at www.chitrasoundar.com or Follow her on Twitter @csoundar