We have a special Good Reads in this issue and a focus on the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Prize). The participation of children and young people is integral to the CLiPPA with its Shadowing Scheme prompting poetry performances in hundreds of schools across the UK. This year, in a first, CLPE worked with the Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University and local schools, to stage a special CLiPPA Poetry Show to publicly announce the shortlist.
In advance of the event, pupils from Lily Lane Primary School, Sacred Heart Primary School and Levenshulme High School were given copies of books on the shortlist to read. They picked favourite poems from the books which they performed live at the event alongside passionate arguments as to why their favourite should be named winner of the CLiPPA 2022. We’re pleased to feature some of their reviews here.
Manjeet Mann, Penguin 978-0241411445, £7.99 pbk
‘We’re all built from the same dust.’
Sammy: fleeing from a corrupt government into an unknown future- though all future is unknown. Nat: A promising future in swimming, but a promising future havocked by grief.
Escaping the classic banality of the saviour and asylum seeker, Manjeet Mann had spun her words into gold, encapsulating the stars and seas into her writing, do you think the stars and seas can be in favour of someone? And different lives, different backgrounds, different families, can they be met in the seas, or in the stars? Or does longevity give hope in seemingly hopeless situations?
Like falling face-down into a flourishing forest, but in a good way, because even though the insects are probably eating you alive, you can still feel a sense of serenity (be it from the lush smell, be it from the near death experience of falling into a forest); in this novel, it wasn’t serenity, it was a sort of hope that long lingered between the lines of a refugee and sanguine swimmer. And, it wasn’t the insects eating you alive, it was the paranoia that your favourite character would meet their end before you finished the novel.
What is mesmerising is the way that Mann unravels the character, the way she addresses them with warmth, how she has their desires and motivations in her hands, and how their dead dreams lay at her feet. Not only had this novel evoked so much emotion within us, but it had also provided us with a greater knowledge: the corruption of Eritrea, the damages of extremism, the importance of liberation. As well as that, we had been allowed to witness everlasting brotherhood, friendships lost, and families made. What could’ve been stereotypical and done, has been turned into so much more, served to us in the beautiful form of a verse novel.
Mann’s surreal language coexists with the brutal nature of the book, forming a tactile story of innocence lost, something that is so ethereal and unique. Her humorous and lucid novel lets us step foot into the world of Sammy and Nat, and the story of their paths intertwining to create the beautiful novel we were honoured to read: The Crossing.
Maryam, Fiza , Emaan , Levenshulme High School
Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow, Laura Mucha, illus Victoria Jane Wheeler, Otter-Barry Books, 978-1913074654, £7.99 pbk
I think this book should get an award because it is thought-inducing and it opens your eyes to the people around you. This book gives a voice to the people who don’t have a voice. Poyvaz
In my opinion, this book should get an award because it tells you what to do with feelings. For example, in one of the poems it says you can shout worries out into the ocean. It makes you aware of different issues such as racism or struggling in school and makes you think ‘this person might need a friend.’ Tobias, Lily Lane Primary School
Matt Goodfellow, illus Krina Patel-Sage, Otter-Barry Books, 978-1913074661, £12.99hbk
I like this book because it is funny. Mystura, Lily Lane Primary School
You learn about different things like space and the sea. Abdul-malik, Lily Lane Primary School
Our favourite poem is School Photo. It has all the things in that we do. Class 2 E, Lily Lane Primary School
Kate Wakeling, illus Elīna Brasliņa, The Emma Press, 978-1912915743, £8.99 pbk
Children from Lily Lane Primary School also argued that Cloud Soup by Kate Wakeling should win because it will entertain everyone and highly recommend her poem The Flibbit.
Stars with Flaming Tails
Valerie Bloom, illus Ken Wilson-Max, Otter-Barry Books, 978-1913074678, £7.99 pbk
I enjoy Poison Dart Frog by Valerie Bloom because it’s funny, it rhymes and it has true meaning. I think everyone will enjoy this rollercoaster of fun, it’s quick to read due to it being not that big and the words are easy to understand. Valerie Bloom is the best poet.
Isaac H. Sacred Heart Primary School
The judges agreed with Isaac, and Valerie Bloom was awarded the CLiPPA 2022 for Stars with Flaming Tails.
Find out more about the Shadowing on the CLPE website.