CHILDREN'S POETRY

  • TELLING THE STORIES OF CHILD REFUGEES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Politics, Prix Jeunesse, Refugees, Religion, Writing for Children

    You might not have been aware that it was #refugeeawarenessweek recently.  No matter, the terrible situations that some people find themselves in sadly haven’t gone away so here are stories I wrote for #CBeebiesRadio

    With some minor adjustments to protect both the kids in the stories and the kids in the audience, each is a true story.

    You might want to rant that such subject matter is entirely inappropriate for young children but young children are living through these things.  Stories are there to help us understand and find ways to deal with what is going on around us.  These stories celebrate the resilience, courage and love of young people and nobody is too young to celebrate love.

    If you have read this far, then (oops I didn’t ask permission but as I wrote it… bad me) have this:

    Taking Flight

    Everyone needs a safe place to live,

    Like a bird’s nest lined with warm feathers:

    Full of kindness and love, it’s the place we call home,

    A refuge from the world and the weather.

     

    But storms can sometimes blow nests from the trees

    And winter brings frost, ice and snow.

    Birds have to fly south or else they would freeze;

    To survive until spring, they must go.

     

    Their journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Flying across deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    And people too must sometimes take flight,

    Like birds they have to migrate

    From the cruelty of rulers and armies that fight,

    Blown by the ice winds of hate.

     

    This journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Crossing countries and deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    But unlike the birds, these people have names:

    They’re not just a crowd on TV,

    They love and they laugh and they work and play games:

    They are people like you and like me.

     

    There’s Farah and Birhan, Hivi, Rafiq

    With sisters and aunties and mothers,

    Serbest, Amez, Natania, Sadiq

    With fathers, granddads and brothers.

     

    Refugee children love stories and art,

    They love chasing and shouting and play.

    They’re sporty, they’re funny, thoughtful and smart

    And dream of being grown up one day.

     

    Their journey can last thousands of miles,

    With little food and no time to rest.

    Crossing deserts and oceans with hope and with smiles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest.

     

    Then after the winter, the birds fly away,

    But not to wander or roam:

    They fly back to rebuild the nests that they left,

    To the safe places they once called home.

     

    And refugees too love the land where they lived

    And many hope to return there they say.

    When summer brings the warm wind that forgives

    There will be freedom and peace there, one day.

     

    Now that is a journey of thousands of miles

    And a daring and dangerous quest;

    Bringing peace and forgiveness, laughter and smiles

    But of all journeys, that one’s the best.

     

    For everyone needs a safe place to live,

    When we find it, there’s no need to roam.

    There we can grow and learn and forgive,

    Full of love, it’s the place we call home.

     

     

  • MY STORY ABOUT #ASTHMA IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON #CBEEBIESRADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's Poetry, Education, Paddlesport, Parenting, Writing for Children

    Sporty Imogen refuses to let her asthma get in the way of her having fun in this story.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/imogen-takes-the-plunge

    This story draws on some of my experiences teaching kayaking to school children.   There always seemed to be at least one child with an inhaler in the class and if they were not reticent about trying something that might make them out of breath and/or falling in the river, their teachers often were.

    In this story, I wanted to show that, as long as the right precautions are taken, there is no reason why a child with asthma can’t do fun stuff or go on to make their dreams come true.  I was greatly inspired by stories of Olympic athletes like Rebecca Adlington OBE and hope that children listening to this story will be too and will go on to do amazing things.

    Oh and thanks to the great people at my local sports centre #Dursleypool for explaining why we should shower before rather than after swimming and why widdling in the pool is such a really bad idea…

     

     

  • JAYNE’S TOP TIP FOR TWENTY EIGHTEEN

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Children's TV, The Children's Media Foundation

    A Happy New Year to everyone, 

    A peaceful new year to all,

    May your heart and home be filled with love

    And may your trousers be never too small.

     

     

  • JAYNE’S COLOURFUL STORIES AND POEMS ON CBEEBIES RADIO!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Children's TV, Education, Screenwriting

    Had to abandon several plans this summer because those lovely people at CBeebies Radio asked me to to write some stories and poems for them sharpish. Hopefully my friends, real and imaginary, didn’t feel too neglected and they, especially if they’re under six years old, will enjoy the results. You can hear them from today on the BBC iplayer radio app, just look for the Cbeebies bug! Then from next Monday 6th November you can download my story The Paintpots from the CBeebies website

    The following Monday your little ones will be able to hear all about a quite magnificent Sock Drawer!

    And in between listen out for poems about the sounds of colours – how do they sound to you?

    Developing and writing these was a blast and an education. Here are some of the key things I learnt during this project:
    – Yellow is an existential colour
    – D.H. Lawrence has a lot to answer for
    – Snail snot should never be underestimated

    None of these conclusions found their way into the CBeebies material, you’ll no doubt be happy to learn. Instead, your preschoolers will enjoy discovering, for example that:
    The colour yellow is a primary colour
    But it’s a great mixer and go between.
    If blue gets all flustered, yellow really cuts the mustard,
    Shouting, “Bananas in custard!
    Hey look: we’ve made green!”

  • #TCMC I HEART SHEFFIELD

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Books, Business Trips, Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's TV, Screenwriting, The Children's Media Foundation, travel

    By train and plane, taxi and car
    We’re travelling to Sheffield from Stroud and afar.
    Like migrating wilderbeasts, salmon and toads
    Although hopefully not eaten or squashed on the road.
    On pizzas and parties we’ll spare no expense
    At the annual Children’s Media Conf’rence!

    I’m producing, tomorrow, the Opening Sesh
    It’s a Question Time thing, in which we will flesh
    Out the bones of kids’ media policy and stuff
    And probably mention Brexit but without flimflam or guff
    On panellists (and poets) we spare no expense
    At the annual Children’s Media Conf’rence!

    I’m over excited, I’m sure you can tell
    Writers don’t get out much, oh you knew that as well.
    Jayne World has gone all sing song with rhyme
    But I’ll try to control it most of the time
    On potions to pacify me, spare no expense
    At the annual Children’s Media Conf’rence!

  • REMEMBERING

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Education

     

     

    As I watch the setting sun,

    I see the shadows getting long.

    Shadows are like memories of the day we’ve had.

    Some shadows happy, some are sad:

    The things we did, the people we met,

    The ice cream van, the girl at the vet.

     

    I’m very little and my shadow is short.

    Yesterday is far away

    And I don’t remember before today.

    But when I climb on Grandad’s knee,

    It’s funny how much more I see.

    Grandad’s long shadow shows all sorts of things:

    People and places,

    And long ago faces.

    He shows them to me in photos and books.

    And in the pictures I’m surprised to see

    Some of the children look like me!

    Grandmas and aunties on a trip to the zoo,

    And my grandad’s grandad, and his grandad too.

     

    Grandad can tell me about long ago;

    His friends, his toys and the things he did.

    But Grandad is old and forgets things today,

    Like his glasses and the things I say.

    So I help him find the things he forgets

    And he helps me meet the people he met.

    He shares them in the stories he tells.

    And when my shadow’s longer, I’ll share them as well.

     

    You can hear this as well as my short story Poppy’s Day read by Falklands War veteran Simon Weston at www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio

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  • WRITING FOR PROKOFIEV

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Children's TV, Education, Music

    You thought Prokofiev’s famous Dance of the Knights was all about Lord Sugar and his apprentices didn’t you?  No?  Men in ballet tights?  Or maybe if you’re a Star Trek fan, Romulans in ballet tights?

    Well before you start parading round singing “Romulans and Capulets” let me put you straight because no no no.  As the lovely people at CBeebies Radio, a lot of children under the age of 6, Robert the Robot and I all know,  this piece of music is, in fact, all about a grumpy marmalade cat and a teeny tiny mouse… in the rain.

    Did you see the CBeebies Prom on television on August 25th?  (still on BBC i-player)  Those lovely people have  an extra special treat for you to freely download at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/prom/radio/cbeebies-prom-extra  Your little ones (and you) can do-si-do and round up imaginary cattle on  imaginary horses, thanks to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra’s special recording of Aaron Copland’s Hoedown before settling down to hear their recording of Prokofiev’s famous march and Robert The Robot’s beautiful telling of a story it inspired me to write; a thrilling tale of life and death excitement in the back garden: “Past the pond, round the rockery; round the rockery, past the pond.”

    Hear the cat “Slink and prow-wl,
    And pounce and grow-wl…” in the music.

    And can you hear the young mouse showing off?
    “I’m so fast,
    The orange thing
    With clawy paws
    Won’t catch me!…”

    While overhead a blackbird  cries in alarm “Run! Run! Run! Run!”

    Goodness I had fun writing this story.  I hope that you and your younglings have fun listening to it.

  • CBEEBIES RADIO: POPPY’S DAY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Education, Politics

    My short story Poppy’s Day is available as a free download from CBeebies Radio today and for the next seven days.  Read by Falklands War veteran, Simon Weston,  and beautifully produced by John Leagas, the story marks the centenary of the First World War and introduces little listeners to bravery and the importance of remembering.

    I’ve just read the BBC press release, which says “is as powerful as it is poignant, a reminder about how important it is to remember not just the events of history, but the people.”  So that’s me feeling smug for the rest of the day.

    Follow the link above and if you don’t see a big picture of some poppies to click on.  Click on ‘Get This Week’s Podcasts’ and then again on ‘Download Radio Podcast’ and then on ‘CBeebies:Poppy’s Day’.

  • CBEEBIES REMEMBERING THE WAR

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Poetry, Education, Uncategorized

     

    I’m rather excited and very honoured today because my poem Remembering has been included in the BBC’s commemoration of the start of the first world war.  If you click on the link, you will hear it included in a wonderful podcast for children on this occasion.  My thanks to Falklands veteran Simon Weston for reading the poem and to Academy Award winning composer Steven Price for the music and to producer John Leagas.

    I hope that you enjoy it and if you have young children, that they will too.

  • GET READY FOR A FLOWERY METAPHOR

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Animation, Books, Children's Poetry, Children's TV, Prix Jeunesse, Uncategorized

    Because everything’s coming up lovely.  Having spent the autumn digging round for writing commissions and hard pruning some ideas and dreaming over seed catalogues, things started to happen.  But like all those dinky seeds, everything had to stay buried under non disclosure agreements.  All I could do was walk round with a warm smile, rather like a compost heap steaming on a frosty morning: definitely good things going on.

    Much is still to blossom but (Weren’t the flowers lovely this spring?) you should be able to see the first fruits later this month when CBeebies broadcast BING BUNNY.   Actually this was a series that I wrote for last year and I think my scripts were all locked before Christmas.  I’ve desperately wanted to talk about it because the show is so lovely.  It was initially described to me as a reality show for preschool.  And it is.  Using a beautifully animated black bunny rabbit and his friends and family, the episodes show real time moments from a child’s life: the fun, the wonder and the mess.  It’s brilliant.  It’s bouncy. It’s a BING thing.

    Back to my ‘gardenese’: I’m sure the series will blossom and grow in the hearts of its young audience and bear much fruit in their lives.  And also prove fruitful for the lovely people that I worked with at Acamar Films Ltd.

    As I said, much of what I’ve done this spring is still to blossom: still under a mulch of creative compost and non disclosure agreements.  Nevertheless, things are developing nicely: I’ve been working with broadcasters and independent producers on more preschool projects and grown up features, a major international conservation project and, and, and… poetry!  Can’t wait for the day I can show you those literary specimens: I’ll be as proud as a gold medal winner at Chelsea.  Blooming marvelous.