Poetry to read together for #ReadingTogetherDay

To celebrate The Reading Agency’s #ReadingTogetherDay, The Poetry Society has asked poets for some of their top recommendations of poetry books grown-ups can read with their children:

Cheryl Moskowitz’s recommendations of books children can read with their parents or carers.

National Poetry Competition commended poet Cheryl Moskowitz is herself a children’s book writer, having most recently published The Corona Collection – A Conversation, exploring children’s perspective on life in lockdown, and Can it Be About Me?, a book of poems about friendship, playing games, teachers, bullying, jealousy, quarrels and secrets. She also gave us a run-down of some of her favourite books to share with children:

Can I Buy a Slice of Sky? Edited by Grace Nichols
A Book of Very Short Poems collected by Michael Harrison – “Does just what it says on the tin! ‘They’re like splinters, short and sharp!’ Out of print but can be bought secondhand online.”
The Young Inferno by John Agard, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura – “Not a book of poems as such but a poetic graphic novel – brilliant. Out of print but can be bought secondhand online.”
One River Many Creeks chosen by Valerie Bloom – “One of my most favourite and most used anthologies in the workshops I deliver in schools.”
The Language of Cat by Rachel Rooney – “suffused with gentle humour and a perceptive wit, the poems offer an eclectic mix of original wordplay, empathy for the experience of childhood and fantastic flights of imagination.” (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
The Noisy Classroom by Ieva Flamingo (translated by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, Sara Smith and Richard O’Brien) Poems for children which capture the emotional highs and lows of childhood with a sharp, surreal eye and a touching sympathy. Translated from Latvian. (The Emma Press)
The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney & Ted Hughes – “The classic anthology of our time…”

Our Learning & Participation Manager Julia Bird also reccomends Sensational: Poems chosen by Roger McGough (Macmillan): “I used to read poems from this with my nephew when he was younger, not least because it includes an Adrian Henri poem whose protagonist has the same name as my brother.”

The Poetry Society’s Marketing & Communication Officer Oliver Fox said “We used to read a weird little anthology called Oh, That’s Ridiculous ed. William Cole (Viking Press, later Puffin Books), which was full of spooky nonsense poems by writers like Spike Milligan, Theodore Roethke, and Ogden Nash, and taught me early on that it was okay for a poem to make you laugh, or even to be a little uncomfortable and scary.”

Education Co-ordinator Helen Bowell recommends Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper, a warming family favourite perfect for younger readers!

Our Education Officer Natasha Ryan recommends A Hurricane in my Head by Matt Abbott: “Matt gets to the heart of the things young readers grapple with – a new school, friends, bullying, football. These poems will help young people navigate their experiences, offering solidarity and comfort.”

And noted poety parent Ian McMillan, father of noted poetry son Andrew McMillan, says: “Me and Andrew used to love reading a wonderful anthology called Roger Was A Razor Fish, published by Hippo in 1980, edited by Jill Bennett. What a classic!”

16 July 2020