On National Poetry Day, UKLA Book Awards 2019 invite you to dip into longlisted books that celebrate rhyme and rhythm and free verse:
The glorious celebration of rhythm inThe Drum ( Ken Wilson-Max and Catell Ronca); Jo Coelho’s dazzling collection Overheard in a Tower Block; and four poignant, haunting 12-16+verse novels: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Moonrise by Sarah Crossan, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, ill. Chris Priestley, Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge.
See the full longlists here.
3-6 The Drum by Ken Wilson-Max and Catell Ronca
This glorious celebration of rhythm brings together children from many cultures to enjoy the powerful rhythms of drumming as they dance together. The text cleverly determines the way the book is read, while the short phrases and occasional rhyme support the reader. The pleasures and importance of music become a celebration of life itself. This deceptively simple book has something important to say to all children.
7-11 Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho
In a series of interlinking poems, Joseph Coelho explores his childhood as a city child living in a tower block, and then takes the reader forward into his adult life to develop the themes further from a different perspective. The poignancy of the events is heightened by the very accomplished and varied poetic forms which are perfectly matched to the theme. Each individual poem is enlightening; together they are dazzling.
12-16+ The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
This poignant verse novel is told in the voice of Xiomara, a young girl trapped in a family controlled by a fierce, church-going mother afraid of her daughter’s growing sexuality. Xiomara is rescued by her brother, who gives her a notebook to write down her thinking, and her teacher who encourages her to join a slam poetry club. It’s through this club that Xiomara gradually finds her own voice.
12-16+ Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
At the age of 7, Joe’s much-loved older brother disappeared from his life. Joe is to find that this brother is imprisoned and on death row. We follow Joe 10 years later as he (just about) scrapes a living in Texas as he waits for execution day. Tense, harrowing and utterly believable, the story – told in verse – is about finding inner strength, and acceptance.
12-16+ Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, ill. Chris Priestley
Written in free verse, this is the story of a 14-year-old boy whose brother has just been shot. The boy takes his brother’s revolver and makes his way down the lift shaft to seek vengeance. On every floor he is to experience ghosts of family members who tell their stories. Will he ’Follow the rules’? Haunting and utterly compelling.
12-16+ Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge
With free verse poems and engaging illustrations, Lita Judge weaves the reader into the story of the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. It tells of her unloved childhood, her meeting with Byron, and the appallingly difficult, troubled relationship with Shelley. An unusual, engaging read.