Article I wrote for TEACHING PRIMARY

POETRY  AND NATURE

A Wonderful Double Act 

What child doesn’t want to wake up and feel free as the breeze. To go through the day on a whistle and hum. And to conjure up all the magic, mystery, curiosity and wildness they can at the same time. 

Yep. One happy child. Something each of us wants for all those kids in our charge. And what is it that nourishes, creates mystery, promotes curiosity and provides that ultimate whistle and hum? Not hard to guess. Nature. The ever-present universe of creatures, plants and atmosphere here on earth. Pure and simple. 

Now, let’s you and I take a walk outdoors. What do we see? Hear? Maybe there is sun. Or wind. A bird flies by. Some leaves rustle. Of course there are many other things going on. Problem is most of us don’t always catch a lot of the comings and goings of the natural world: the scuttling of bugs, the intricacy of veins on an oak leaf, the shape and colours of ever-shifting clouds or the candied scent of rotting leaves. 

Now ask a child when they are outside. It doesn’t matter if they are outside in a park, on some patch of rough ground in the city or walking through a wild and woolly forest. They are in their ‘outdoor’ world. A world of play. Of running hard. Laughing hard. Looking hard. Tangling with nature. Even if nature is a scraggly weed popping out of asphalt, a patch of smooth lawn or a leaf-covered woodland floor. It doesn’t matter. For wherever outdoor lies, the child is inordinately serious about it all. 

Children perceive and experience the world of nature with a closeness, excitement and clarity of vision we adults often lack or have forgotten. The child will not just point to a worm wriggling in the ground. He reaches down to get closer. To see it. Maybe to pick it up. 

There’s more. Nature encourages imagination. A whipped-up ocean may trigger the possibility for unfettered ideas. A beautiful meadow or sparkling stream could offer a chance to dream big. The quietness of a dark sky perhaps allows us to feel at ease with our own silence. Or maybe the shape of some dead creature floating on a canal at night might unleash hidden thoughts that lurk deep within.

For if we look or listen to something long enough and hard enough the object in view magically . . .transforms. A new identity is born. Rocks become figures, shadows grow real, a single leaf rustle can tell a whole story.

Nature looms large with children’s emotions as well. Biting cold wind, gentle snow falling, a hot sun, a swirling river or the glimmer of moonlight on rooftops; these things we experience on the outside can shape inner experience and emotions to a high degree for a child. 

How does poetry fit in with this romp in nature? 

The first place to start is words. And meaning. And imagination.

Poetry is created through a particular and unexpected musical placement of words. Words which encourage the reader to see and ‘get’ things in a new – almost tickling – way. 

Just imagine for a moment the adult ‘you’ steps outside and sees a dandelion. Most of us see…well…a dandelion. ‘What is that dandelion doing?’ someone asks. ‘It is waving in the breeze,’ you might reply. 

Then ask a child what that dandelion is up to. They might say without blinking twice, ‘It’s  tickling the sky.’ Or, ‘It’s telling the sky a secret.’ 

This personalization of the environment is the beginning of metaphor. The first sparks of poetry. How does the fog come? It comes on little cat feet. 

FOG 

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes 

on little cat feet 

it sits looking 

over harbor and city 

on silent haunches 

and then moves on 

My point is that the child’s first response to nature is poetic. They endow nature with a special quality. The dandelion is like something else. It is like THEM because the dandelion sees the sky like a person would. SO the child has anthropomorphized something in nature. Nature has given the child the wide-open freedom to see, question, and imagine anything they want. Trees become figures. Those clouds are battling dragons. The wind is telling me a secret. Nature is personal. Things are LIKE something else. And at once we have metaphor. The heart and soul of poetry. 

This rich world, this world of spectacular imagination and poetic play is also the world of language. For stories and poetry are the way information has been shared and passed down through generations. 

Interaction with language is vital for exercising the imagination. When we hear a powerful poem we visualize it. . .feel it. . .and even become it a little. And not only that. We learn to ‘super’ listen. To hear both the words and the silence between them. To see both the trees and the spaces between them. Our experience is enriched until we are magically transformed. And the more exacting and exciting the language, the further and deeper our visions can travel. 

William Wordsworth didn’t just see or describe the daffodils dancing outside. He got inside and became them. Tangled with them. He danced with daffodils in his poems. He understood nature from the inside out. 

‘And then my heart with pleasure fills 

And dances with the daffodils’ 

( from I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth) 

A child gathers in the world and learns through the senses. And through play. And what better place to harness senses than that great provider. . .nature. Because when these senses are fed, nurtured and developed they become a bustling exciting storehouse of sense memories. A great learning-pad and enabler of understanding, perception and problem-solving. 

The child is poised at the beginning of a long quest for definition and self-identity. And what better way to fill in the mystery of who you are on the inside, than by looking at and becoming part of the mystery that is nature, outside

With poetry we can, with a brief wave of an enchanted wand, imagine a different world and provide the child with a set of new resources. Resources where an inside-out, upside-down and made-up world is taken seriously and having tea with an elephant is normal. 

Not only does poetry allow us to be who we are, but it gives us the opportunity to be many of the things that we cannot imagine ourselves to be. Listening to a poem, writing a poem, sharing a poem, hearing and feeling the swing and sway of the words, experiencing them, seeing them in our mind’s-eye, grips us. Even if we may not understand every single word, it is all part of a magical and evocative inter-active learning process. 

 

As teachers, librarians, educators, parents, poets and artists, our challenge is to help keep young minds not just listening but involved, curious, questioning and open. 

And what finer way to enable our kids to live and learn free as a breeze with a whistle and hum, than through that wonderful energizing double act of . . . nature and poetry. 

Poetry Summit Blog Children’s Poetry and Adult Poetry

Children’s Poetry Summit

AUTHOR AND POET
Zaro Weil: A Glimpse; Adult Poetry and Children’s Poetry

A few years ago, after a talk about children and poetry, I was asked about the difference between adult poetry and kids’ poetry.

A Cheshire cat grin rolled over me. I didn’t have to think twice. ‘There really is none,’ I replied with a smile. ‘A good poem is a good poem is a good poem. Of course themes and language will be different. Age and emotional suitability may vary. But poetry for children is not – at its heart – different from other poetry.’

Let’s take a glimpse at the basics. Just a glimpse.

What is it we expect when we read a poem?

The first thing is simple. There is an invitation. Something in the title or opening line says, Come on in. I have an idea you’re going to like.

Sounds good. We decide not to close the book or turn the page. We read further. The poet is communicating a vision we intuitively like. He or she is talking to us the way a friend might.

Zaro’s Cherry Moon won the CLiPPA Award for Children’s Poetry this year.
From that first invitation a good poem offers, the child is often more than willing to suspend what they already think and allow themselves to be transported into another world. Indeed, kids are often more eager and open than adults to step inside and treat the poet as a new friend.

But the words themselves must also spark magic; the swing and sway of the rhythms, meter and sound need to be dynamic. And feel right. It is the poet’s craft with words which creates excitement and meaning for us. Because our brains buzz and light up when the exact right words both sound great and go together. Like they were meant to be.

As for sound musicality and language acquisition, these are the child’s very own domain; one filled with the joy of rhyme, the thrill of rhythm and the love of onomatopoeia to name a few.

And what is it the poet says to us? Is it clear and sunny enough that we can relate to it? Are the words bright enough in the lines we read for us to ‘get’ it.

Next we ask if this poem inspires us. Do we feel the poet’s unseen presence in his words? Does the poem burrow down to ignite those misty moon-lit thoughts we have but don’t know very well? The thoughts that are deeper and richer than our everyday words and ideas. The ones that allow us to imagine a new way of seeing things.

For imagination relies upon the senses; of what we have seen, heard, touched, tasted, smelled and remembered. A good poem creates the words and sensations that call upon the reader’s personal memory store and then graciously offers up the possibility to re-imagine, re-pattern and re-position the reader’s own understandings.

Children grow in the ambiguity of light and dark. In the bright logic of facts and ideas about the world. But they also grow in the belief that there is something else. Something unknown, dark and uncontrollable. Being close to and accepting the mysterious plays an important role in a child’s development. A child is open to being moved by a poem.

And precisely because children play and because imagination is the currency for this play, a good poem can ignite a child’s mind. And as children are close to both their sensory understandings and memories, a good poem has the potential to fly them into a universe pulsing with possibility.

To finish my reply to the question, I think we all, at every age, respond to the same human impulses; the ones which lead us to better understand and illuminate the world we find ourselves in.

And that is why my Cheshire cat can’t help but smile.

Zaro Weil

Zaro Weil lives in southern France with her husband and Spot Guevara Hero Dog, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things; dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector, historian, author and publisher. Zaro’s two poetry collections, Firecrackers and Cherry Moon were widely praised; with Cherry Moon being awarded the CliPPA Poetry Award for 2020.

 

 

Review of Cherry Moon from BOOKWAGON UK

Cherry Moon

£14.00

Zaro Weil is like a child in a candy shop of our planet. Cherry Moon is like an outpouring of her joy and interaction with the natural world, a celebration of life. Therefore we exalt in the ‘crayon- box wildflowers’ that ‘hurtle and tumble/ skimble-skamble/ harum-skarum/ helter-skelter’After the Purple Rains. Then we wonder upon ‘This Tiny Bean’ which has ‘sprung from a bean flower’ This bean is ‘never in a million years/ just any old/ bean’ for it has been ‘sought‘ by ‘weightless butterflies’ and ‘generations of insects‘.

There is advice offered to readers, for example upon ‘How to Get Lost‘ that we should ‘dive into the notes of [our] favourite song’// ‘hitch a ride on anything exploring anywhere’. Even something as solitary and passive as a rock is reckoned with as in ‘Don’t Be Bored Rock‘, for ‘once you were orange fire/ thundering down some/ mountain slope/ or hurtling silver sleek/ through deep sky’. 

Cherry Moon is so generous, not only in the wealth of wonderful poems, but in the depth of its celebration. Furthermore Junli Song’s prints elevate each poem;  they capture each theme and feeling perfectly in their decoration.

We travel through seasons, time, bird, beast and nature, landscapes, styles and feelings. I’m reminded of William Carlos Williams, for example in Plum Tree, which we visit through the seasons. In winter it’s reminded that if we ‘wait a little while/ juicy things will fall into [my] mouth/ like sweet snow’. 

Finally, haiku is used wonderfully throughout this book. Every poem captures the essence of its subject succinctly and confidently.

Cherry Moon is a bold, bounteous and bursting book of poems. Bookwagonloves it and recommends it thoroughly to all readers, writers and poetry lovers.

Review of Cherry Moon from LOVEREADING4KIDS

LOVEREADING VIEW ON CHERRY MOON

100 poems inspired by the natural world and filled with a sense of joy and wonder

Winner of 2020 CLiPPA

At a time when children need nature more than they ever have, Cherry Moon is a book to treasure. It contains one hundred short poems – intense bursts of colour, sound and sensation, all inspired by the natural world – a plum tree coming into fruit , the moon in a rosy twilight sky, that noise your feet make walking through mud… Though they seem over in a moment, there’s a thoughtfulness and depth to the poems that will make you pause and images that will stay with you, so that you’ll find yourself returning to them again and again. It’s a superb introduction to poetry for the very young and a wonderful book to share; beautiful to look at too, thanks to Junli Song’s stunning screen print illustrations.

ANDREA REECE

Review of Cherry Moon and CliPPA from Midi-Libre Newspaper in France

Culture et loisirs

Littérature

Zaro Weil remporte le prix britannique Clippa

Zaro Weil nommée.

Le jury du prix a constaté : “Au cours d’une année de publication de poésie

exceptionnelle pour la jeunesse, le jury a été particulièrement impressionné par la

variété de la poésie de Zaro Weil, les opportunités qu’offre Cherry Moon pour partager

des poèmes à haute voix et parce qu’après des mois de confinement, son livre répond

au besoin grandissant des enfants pour la poésie et la nature. Cherry Moon répond

exactement à ce dont nous avons besoin en ce moment. Un voyage magique, ancré

dans la beauté naturelle et un sentiment d’émerveillement et d’espoir commun.”

Un recueil de poèmes merveilleusement évocateur, une célébration joyeuse de la

nature et du langage, la nature des Cévennes et du Salavès, bien sûr. “L’exubérance

ludique du texte et les illustrations complémentaires ont un immense attrait pour les

enfants mais il y a aussi une attention sous-jacente à l’environnement que les parents

et les enseignants, partageant le livre avec des jeunes, apprécieront. C’est un livre à lire

et à relire”, conclut le jury.

L’annonce du prix 2020 a été révélée lors d’un spectacle de poésie en direct, dans le

cadre du The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.

“Cherry Moon”, est illustré par Junli Song, aux éditions Troika Books.

Correspondant Midi Libre : 06 14 70 17 95

Littérature, Gard, Sauve

Publié le 23/11/2020 à 05:06 , mis à jour à 05:14

Poète résidant à Montpellier et à Sauve depuis

bientôt trente ans, Zaro Weil a reçu le prestigieux

prix britannique Clippa (Centre for literacy in

primary education) pour son livre Cherry Moon

(Lune de Cerise en français), un livre de poésie

pour la jeunesse.

Wonderful and Amazing review of Cherry Moon from ReadingZone

Cherry Moon Review, by Alison Kelly

Twilight / go gently / and let your eye be caught / by little things// (p.178)

This is the final poem in Zaro Weil’s stunning new anthology, Cherry Moon. I’ve started with it because the words capture the spirit of this collection and the way the poet draws her reader’s gaze into the smallest details, giving pause for thought and space to wonder.

Its sub-title is ‘Little Poems Big Ideas Mindful of Nature’ and it’s the gentle way in which we are led through a poem to these ‘big ideas’ that is so powerful. Take ‘How does the flower open’ (p.24): ‘how does the flower open / in petal time / how does the rain fall / in drop time…’ to the finale: ‘how does the earth turn/ in all the time//’. That final line causes a momentary intake of breath.

There are miniature jewel-like poems: ‘Pipsqueak’ (p.32) … and have we discussed / the pipsqueak blossoms / on miniscule stems / buried in tiny / grass spears?//’ and BLUEBELLS (p.33) ‘sprung from blue sky / fed by green rain / pushing always / towards April / and me//

A shiny sun (p.50), ‘so bright / so tiny /… I even heard / some people call you / buttercup//’.

The book is studded with haikus: for a snapping turtle, a gosling, a hippo, a flea, morning twilight, even a noisy toe! Adhering to the syllable count, these haikus are arranged elegantly across more than the more usual three lines. The compression delights: In ‘Worm’s Haiku’ (p.57) the worm is ‘excavating / tiny roads / expressly / for April//.

There’s nimble word play: ‘After the Purple Rains’ (p. 20) offers wildflowers that ‘hurtle and tumble / skimble-skamble / harum-scarum / helter-skelter/’; and ‘Mudpuddling tonight’ (p.128) has us ‘sloshgurgling / all the way home/. In ‘A Parade of Beast-Doodles’ (p.52), the poet awakes to ‘a sky full of clouds / all puff-poms and lace-feathers/… so ‘all I could do was / lie down / to skybig/ to clouddream/’. And on no account should you miss the ‘Preposterous Penguins’ (p.171) who ‘pause to participate / in a particularly polar pageant/’.

The poems unfold at a measured pace. At times, it is like taking a slow, gentle walk through a changing landscape, stopping from time to time to observe: ‘life is big / thought the ant / carrying the / apple seed / to its / nest’ /…life is big / I thought / seeing the/ whole wide world / while walking home / real slow//’ (‘Life is Big’ p.42).

Junli Song’s atmospheric illustrations capture the mood of the anthology. They are populated with benign half human, half animal creatures. Working with a limited colour palette, they enhance the wit and humour of the poems. For the small green frog haiku (p.66), the green frog reclines in a red cup with white spots. Look closer and you’ll see that the red dots that created the spots are making their way across the page to ‘Ladybird’s Song’ (‘have you seen / my new polka dots this season?’ / . And the illustrations match the beauty of the words: ‘Polar Bear’ (p. 145) a white polar bear family makes its way across an inky blue landscape below a startling cherry moon reflected in the water.

They also reflect the energy of the poems: for the ‘capricious summer sprites’ of ‘Flicker and Flash’ (p. 60), elegant, graceful personified balletic dragonflies perfectly chime as they ‘flicker and flash’ against a ‘perfumed peach sky’. Sprightly frogs leap opposite ‘Tip-Top of the World’ (p.26) ‘catching the delicious mist / on their long tongues’.

It’s a beautiful collection on so many levels: the orchestration of the sparsely punctuated text and Junli Song’s mysterious and witty illustrations contribute to its delight. To conclude, the title poem ‘Cherry Moon’ (p.59) is worth replicating as it epitomises the joy, wonder and magic of this prize-winning anthology. It sits alongside Junli Song’s illustration of a cherry moon glimpsed through white trees whilst ethereal creatures and humans dance in the moonlight: Cherry moon / smooth / red / so perfectly shined/ were you ever really / a blossom//.

09/10/2020CLiPPA 2020 winner announced

ARM IN ARM IN ARM..Children and Poetry

I think there are several key ways in which poetry and children not just walk arm in arm in arm in arm, but rush hopping, skipping and leaping down the road together.

Children, like poets, naturally think about and refer to the big picture.  Why is the sky blue?  Where does my dog go when it dies?  How come I look like I do?  Children’s approach to this life they find themselves in is unashamedly philosophical.  Kids question.  Everything.  And poetry, in it’s simplest apparition, takes the form of questioning the existence of whatever reality we come across.

Nature looms large for children. The feeling of biting cold wind, gentle snow falling, or a hot sun: these things we feel on the outside can shape inner experience to a high degree for a child.  The poet channels that same experience and reflects the outside through a prism of evocative and sparking language.

Children, like poets, anthropomorphise the world.  What we don’t understand we endow with understandable human attributes: animals say all kinds of things, shadows need to be tamed, stars answer our wishes.  The anthropomorphising of the universe is part of growing up. When a child stops for a long time to stare at a wonderfully shaped stone, that stone may take on new dimensions.  Rocks become figures, clouds take on shapes, sounds say something.  This personalisation of the environment is the beginning of metaphor and the first spark of poetry.  How does the fog come over the harbour?  It comes on little cat feet. 

Children, like good poetry, are in perpetual motion.  They run. They bound. Hop. Skip.  They surprise us with their rhythmic sleight of hand, confound us with symmetry, lull us with melody.  For children and poetry share the internal beat of new life which surges through bodies and poetic lines.

Children playing and moving freely develop a vibrant sense memory.  A child can easily call on this store of memories as she listens to or writes a story or poem.  Poetry too relies on the senses, on words that not only have muscle and rhythm, but which you can practically see or taste, feel or smell.  These words are exciting.  They stir something in you. Exploring a poem contributes to the child’s vast palette of inner life, of memory, emotion, intelligence, common sense and imagination. 

Not only does poetry allow us to colour in who we are, but it gives us the opportunity to be many of the things that we cannot imagine ourselves to be; to magically colour  in the who we are about to become. Writing a poem, listening to a poem, reading a poem, hearing the sway and swing of the words, feeling them grip us even if we don’t understand them all, is part of a magical process.  Poetic language is living, full of sudden leaps, shadows and endless nuance.  These things never truly follow a straight path.  Poetry is like that.  Daytime logic is cast aside for night time dreams.  For poetic language lives on a rhythmic cloud and speaks oh-so-loud to a listening mind.

A poem poses another way of looking at things.  When a child hears or reads or writes a poem she knows and feels, from the tip of her nose to the tips of her toes, that there IS another world out there.  A world where we can catch a shadow or ride a dragon or talk to a daffodil. 

It is our job as adults to make sure our children are well looked after.  That they are allowed and encouraged to dream.  And, most importantly, that they have an active, vibrant and thoroughly magical relationship to poetry; the place where some of the best dreams live.

New Cherry Moon Review from Readingzone

Twilight / go gently / and let your eye be caught / by little things// (p.178)

This is the final poem in Zaro Weil’s stunning new anthology, Cherry Moon. I’ve started with it because the words capture the spirit of this collection and the way the poet draws her reader’s gaze into the smallest details, giving pause for thought and space to wonder.

Its sub-title is ‘Little Poems Big Ideas Mindful of Nature’ and it’s the gentle way in which we are led through a poem to these ‘big ideas’ that is so powerful. Take ‘How does the flower open’ (p.24): ‘how does the flower open / in petal time / how does the rain fall / in drop time…’ to the finale: ‘how does the earth turn/ in all the time//’. That final line causes a momentary intake of breath.

There are miniature jewel-like poems: ‘Pipsqueak’ (p.32) … and have we discussed / the pipsqueak blossoms / on miniscule stems / buried in tiny / grass spears?//’ and BLUEBELLS (p.33) ‘sprung from blue sky / fed by green rain / pushing always / towards April / and me//

A shiny sun (p.50), ‘so bright / so tiny /… I even heard / some people call you / buttercup//’.

The book is studded with haikus: for a snapping turtle, a gosling, a hippo, a flea, morning twilight, even a noisy toe! Adhering to the syllable count, these haikus are arranged elegantly across more than the more usual three lines. The compression delights: In ‘Worm’s Haiku’ (p.57) the worm is ‘excavating / tiny roads / expressly / for April//.

There’s nimble word play: ‘After the Purple Rains’ (p. 20) offers wildflowers that ‘hurtle and tumble / skimble-skamble / harum-scarum / helter-skelter/’; and ‘Mudpuddling tonight’ (p.128) has us ‘sloshgurgling / all the way home/. In ‘A Parade of Beast-Doodles’ (p.52), the poet awakes to ‘a sky full of clouds / all puff-poms and lace-feathers/… so ‘all I could do was / lie down / to skybig/ to clouddream/’. And on no account should you miss the ‘Preposterous Penguins’ (p.171) who ‘pause to participate / in a particularly polar pageant/’.

The poems unfold at a measured pace. At times, it is like taking a slow, gentle walk through a changing landscape, stopping from time to time to observe: ‘life is big / thought the ant / carrying the / apple seed / to its / nest’ /…life is big / I thought / seeing the/ whole wide world / while walking home / real slow//’ (‘Life is Big’ p.42).

Junli Song’s atmospheric illustrations capture the mood of the anthology. They are populated with benign half human, half animal creatures. Working with a limited colour palette, they enhance the wit and humour of the poems. For the small green frog haiku (p.66), the green frog reclines in a red cup with white spots. Look closer and you’ll see that the red dots that created the spots are making their way across the page to ‘Ladybird’s Song’ (‘have you seen / my new polka dots this season?’ / . And the illustrations match the beauty of the words: ‘Polar Bear’ (p. 145) a white polar bear family makes its way across an inky blue landscape below a startling cherry moon reflected in the water.

They also reflect the energy of the poems: for the ‘capricious summer sprites’ of ‘Flicker and Flash’ (p. 60), elegant, graceful personified balletic dragonflies perfectly chime as they ‘flicker and flash’ against a ‘perfumed peach sky’. Sprightly frogs leap opposite ‘Tip-Top of the World’ (p.26) ‘catching the delicious mist / on their long tongues’.

It’s a beautiful collection on so many levels: the orchestration of the sparsely punctuated text and Junli Song’s mysterious and witty illustrations contribute to its delight. To conclude, the title poem ‘Cherry Moon’ (p.59) is worth replicating as it epitomises the joy, wonder and magic of this prize-winning anthology. It sits alongside Junli Song’s illustration of a cherry moon glimpsed through white trees whilst ethereal creatures and humans dance in the moonlight: Cherry moon / smooth / red / so perfectly shined/ were you ever really / a blossom//.

BOOKSELLER ANNOUNCEMENT

Zaro Weil wins CLiPPA for ‘joyful’ nature poems

Zaro Weil has won this year’s Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA) for her collection of nature poems, Cherry Moon (ZaKids Books/Troika Books).

Described as “much-needed” and “joyful” by the judging panel, Cherry Moon was praised for its variety, and the opportunities the collection presents for sharing poems aloud.

Judge Steven Camden, spoken word artist and 2019 CLiPPA winner, said: “Cherry Moon feels like exactly what we need right now. A magical journey, grounded in natural beauty and a sense of communal wonder and hope.”

Poet Valerie Bloom, a fellow judge, said, “We found this a wonderfully evocative collection of poems a joyous celebration of nature and language. The playful exuberance of the text and complementary illustrations have immense child-appeal, but there is also an underlying thoughtfulness about the environment which parents and teachers sharing the book with younger children will appreciate.  This is a book to be read and re-read.”

Weil will receive £1,000 and a trophy, in addition to being recorded for the National Poetry Archive.

The judges also chose to spotlight Poems the Wind Blew In by Karmelo C Iribarren, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel. Described as “a lens on the world” by Camden, the collection is the first work in translation to be shortlisted for the award.

The announcement was made during a live poetry show, as part of the Times and the Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.

During the ceremony, Louise Johns-Shepherd, c.e.o. of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, revealed that record numbers of schools have already subscribed to the special CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme, which encourages schools to study the shortlisted collections and then create their own poetry performances of favourite poems. She said: “Over 500 schools have signed up to CLiPPA Shadowing to date, three times the number in 2019, and we anticipate even more will join before the end of the month.”

She added: “The CLiPPA is a huge, inclusive celebration of poetry and its power to engage children. There has been a marked upsurge in interest in poetry for children this year – the National Poetry Archive has seen record levels of site visits for example and subscriptions to our Shadowing Scheme are three times what they were in 2019. Our winner is the perfect book for today: Zaro’s poems allow children to explore their emotions and understand them as shared experiences; and it connects readers with the natural world, something that is vital at this time. Children need poetry right now, and we are delighted that so many children and their teachers joined us to celebrate at the Poetry Show.”