Children can worry as much as adults. They can have disturbing thoughts and feelings that overwhelm. Often they do not have the language to express the turmoil, the anxieties, what is going on inside their mind. This slim little anthology from three excellent poets currently writing for children in KS1 and KS2 would be an ideal support or a door through which the young reader (or listener since poetry should be shared and read aloud as much as read privately) can step. Here are situations that will be familiar, someone to recognise (perhaps even themselves). The language used by all three poets is simple, accessible, immediate but not banal. The poems themselves are short, rarely straying over more than one page. This does not detract from the serious respect with which the subjects are handled. However, humour is there to reassure the reader and keep the poems grounded. – I particularly liked Matt Goodfellow’s The Thinking Tree for this. There are poems that look at worries – Liz Brownlee offers some very practical advice that is never patronising in her What To Do With Worries, while in Bobby Laura Mucha presents a bully with a perceptive understanding and opens a door to empathy. The illustrations by Victoria Wheeler are a perfect adjunct to the words – spiky, simple, pen and ink images that capture a mood or situation, allowing the imagination free rein.
This is an anthology not just for today. The subjects covered are ones that children everywhere have experienced – and will continue to experience. These are poems to be shared with the whole class or family or given to the child who needs something immediate. Empathetic, sympathetic, reassuring – recommended for both KS1 and KS2 teachers and pupils alike.