The new Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, is to chair the judging of a nationwide poetry competition for 7-11 year olds. The Competition is organised by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society.
To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 4 October, children will be asked to write a poem no longer than 25 lines on the theme of ‘Dreams’.Now in its second year, the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Competition is open to both individuals and schools, with prizes being awarded in two age groups, 7- 8 year olds and 9 -11 year olds. Entries will be accepted from Thursday 13 September, up until the closing date of Monday 15 October.
The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in December, where they will be presented with cash prizes and poetry books for their school. Last year’s inaugural competition attracted nearly 5,000 entries from across the UK and overseas.
Michael Rosen was appointed to the prestigious post of Children’s Laureate on 11 June, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to children’s literature. On accepting the two-year post, he said, "I think poetry for children needs to be saved from the cold dissection table of right and wrong answers and put back into rooms and halls full of wonder, compassion, haunting, laughter, music and rhythm. We need to hear its many voices, many cultures, many sounds.”
The National Write-a-Poem Competition will encourage children to play with poetry, by providing an outlet for their creativity with language and encouraging teachers to bring poetry alive in the classroom. A teacher’s guide to accompany the competition will be available to download from the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website (www.childrenspoetrybookshelf.co.uk) from the beginning of September, along with further information about the competition.
Michael Rosen is joined on the judging committee by children’s poet and Children’s Poetry Bookshelf patron, Valerie Bloom; award-winning poet and educationalist, Mandy Coe; children’s books expert and founder of Bookstart, Wendy Cooling; lecturer in literacy and children's books at the University of Reading, Prue Goodwin; children’s poet, Wes Magee; and Morag Styles, Reader in Children’s Literature and Education at the University of Cambridge.The Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Competition is generously supported by Old Possums Practical Trust.