Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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Poetry Books from Otter-Barry Books

Otter-Barry Books have a wonderful selection of poetry books and these two new publications are full of exciting poems to inspire and engage young readers.

Roger Steven’s is my favourite poet. You’ll love this collection. Baroness Floella Benjamin

Razz Ma Tazz The Poetry World of Roger Stevens; illustrated by Mike Smith

Once you open this book and start reading the poems you won’t put it down. From poems which are just too cool, like the Year 6 boys, to Shouting to the Ocean, which gives you the chance to just throw all your emotions in the ocean!
 ‘So if you’re hurt, upset or angry

Write down all you want to say

Then post it in the ocean

Watch your troubles float away’

Cool boys and Year Six Sisters to the Chicken School Timetable, Dad’s terrible dancing to Mum’s cunning treasure trail, plus the joy and fun of poetry. There is something for everyone in this paperback collection of poems.
With themes of Family, School, Pets, the Wild, Being a Poet and Personal Favourites, this is an outstanding, exuberant collection of the very best work from one of the best-loved poets writing today.

Roger Stevens is a very well known poet author, with lots of tips about writing poetry. The illustrations by Mike Smith are brilliant, showing each poem in its own unique way.

Wonderful images…and words too

The Universal Zoo by Neal Zetter and illustrated by Will Hughes

If you want to engage young children with poetry and fire their imagination this book is a must to have in the school or at home.

Roll up!

Come on down
to the Universal Zoo.
Want to see amazing animals?
Buy a ticket, join the queue.”

Every creature has a place at the far end of Space, in the Universal Zoo.

Look out for the Shy Shimmereen, the snoozing Snoralotz, the Invisible Ballaboo Beast and the Ten-Legged, Swivel-Headed, Bushy-Bearded, Twirly-Tailed Horrox. Meet the Martian kids with two heads, and stare at the Enormous Egg. And if you think dragons don’t exist and dodos are extinct, then think again. But never, never, never feed the Gronk!

Beware of the Gronk!

A riot of imagination and fun, these poems also send a message about conservation and saving species.

Otter-Barry Books have a website full of information about their books and you can review many of the pages of poems, but the real best thing is to buy the books!!

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories Across the world…

Creating Poetry during Lockdown

In this global pandemic we have been thinking of just how to reach out to others across the world.  Poetry is a way of finding and releasing feelings.  

And do you know what, children are so good at it! 

Cheryl is a profoundly interesting, engaging and empathetic poet – with children or adults…we think so!

Cheryl Moskowitz is a poet, narrator and writer who works with us at Books Go Walkabout . Since March 2020, when school closures were announced in the UK, Cheryl has been talking to children, their parents and staff at schools. What is life like in this Covid19 world?

Shrewsbury School, Hong Kong is an International School and have experienced huge amount of lock-down time at school. Beth McNeilly, the school librarian talked about a plan with Books Go Walkabout to get children writing. A poem from Wilfred is shown on the page in the link above, what a star!

A great school, committed to poetry and creativity…

At Books Go Walkabout we put the two together and Cheryl and Beth worked on a poetry plan for children in Years 1 and 2. We Zoomed across the world and heard the most amazing poems, and it all started with a poem of Cheryl’s that begins…

Just supposing…

you woke up tomorrow

and there weren’t all these rules



The children wrote and they wrote, and they came up with the most amazing collections of thoughts, poems and words( vocabulary was awesome!)

Parents and teachers and librarians were part of the video, the writing and the Zoom session. It was a BRILLIANT session. Releasing fears and worries, turning them into creative and imaginative pieces of written work.

Great job Shrewsbury and Cheryl!! At Books Go Walkabout we loved it! You can read more on Books Go Walkabout.

Sue Martin

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Get this lovely hardback book here…

A beautifully presented hard back book of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Michael Foreman in this magical new edition from Otter-Barry Books.

The verses were first published in 1885, so reflect quite a different era. In 1985, Michael Foreman created the wonderful water-colour illustrations which bring a soft and ephemeral magic to the poems.

This latest edition published in 2017, from Otter-Barry has a foreword from Alexander McCall Smith, who begins by saying about Stevenson,” He not only knows what children like, but he likes it along with them”

McCall Smith tells of Stevenson’s childhood in a family of lighthouse engineers, but he suffered from ill-health and spent much time in his sickbed. May be that it was here that he dreamed and thought of the world beyond. It was also in the Victorian times, when travel to far away places was possible for those with money to spend.

The poems are a delight and can conjure up images of gentle childhoods, as in The Swing,

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown

Up in the air I go flying again

Up in the air and down.

One of my favourite illustrations is from My Shadow, a poem that will stay with you once read.

My Shadow from Robert Louis Stevenson

This book will make a wonderful present  and will add to any school, library and home collection. I am off to read some of the poems now, by the fireside and ready to dream!

Sue Martin

Books Go Walkabout

Books Go Walkabout


Dreamer, published by OtterBarry Books

Dreamer by Brian Moses and Bee Willey, buy from Amazon.co.uk

A beautifully written and illustrated picture book about a world where we all care for each other, for animals, plants and places. It will be inspirational for young children and for adults as they see just how the world is changing.

Each page has a scene which has amazing colours and images, including the child dreamer, lots to see, and lots of ways into discussions and questions.

 Brian Moses and Bee Willey are an excellent duo, they both have so much experience and good books to their names. Brian is one of Britain’s favourite children’s poets and he is featured on the National Poetry Archive with over 200 books published and 2000 schools visited.

Bee spent her childhood in France and now lives in Suffolk, her books include, The Wooden Dragon by Joan Aiken and How to be a Princess by Caitlin Matthews.

Otter-Barry Books are new publishers this year and have included Dreamer in their new titles, a great edition and a clear direction for their books, which will make a difference.

Sue Martin          

Books go Walakabout logo image

Books across the World!


Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition

opA great competition which had over 4000 entries this year from all over the world.
The awards and celebrations were held at The Unicorn Theatre in London on 14th December.
Children and parents mingled with poets and publishers.

Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and chair of the judging panel said,
‘We left our meeting convinced that the true beginnings of poetry are to be found in writing by children.”

This international poetry competition, now in its fourth year, is run by Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, part of Poetry Book Society, in partnership with the British Council.

grpLots of excited faces, as the winners joined judges John Agard, Roger Stevens and Carol Ann Duffy at the presentation. As well as the prizes there will be a commemorative booklet, in which winning and recommended poems will be featured.

It is available from Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, which is a great website as a resource and just good to read as well!

Some of the lines that have stayed with us are;

Men watching
Friends go forever

From A Soldier’s Poem by Louisa, aged 8.


He is the blow of a whistle
That can be heard all over the world

About Barack Obama by Sarah, aged 8.

Children’s writing has a way of finding the truth…..

Dolphin Booksellers – finding out more about books for children.

Crispy Juice


Crispy Juice – Love Music, Love poetry, Love kids.

A new concept bringing rhymes and poetry together in a beautifully presented package. Crispy Juice website has style, quality and is a real delight in the illustrations and the way rhymes and music are put together.

The music is available to listen to on the website and CD’s can be purchased on line. If you are lucky enough to live near Bristol, there may be some markets where you can find a Crispy Juice stall.

When you buy a CD, a donation of £1 is given to Zambuko library.

calpCalico Pie is the first CD produced. There are over 20 rhymes and songs, old favourites and new ones too, set to music by Paul Bradley using a melodica, glockenspiel, guitar and piano.

Its very dreamy and as they say on the CD, ‘Its best served warm with a cosy blanket’.

Just right for winter evenings and anytime that you and the children want to enjoy music and rhymes.
It would be great for nurseries ‘sleepy times’ just after lunch. You know that sort of time when you don’t need to actually sleep, but music and a comfy chair and a good book are just right!

Dolphin Booksellers have information and lists of books for Christmas, plus you can buy them direct through the link to Amazon, so great books at good prices. A winning combination.


ntPerform-a-Poem is a terrific concept. Children perform their own poems, which are put onto a video and safely uploaded on to the web site. All you have to do is stand back and watch the performance.

Michael Rosen launched Perform-a Poem on 3rd November at the National Theatre. He wanted to create a website where it was easy for children to upload their own videos and to browse other children’s poetry.

A fantastic concept and I guess its going to grow and grow. There’s a whole host of poems that are out of copyright, such as Edward Lear and the Book of Nonsense. And you will be able to find the poem that matches your feelings, and make it come alive.

A Michael Rosen quote from the website;

“Poetry is the sound of words in your ears, it’s the look of poets in motion and that can be you. Make your poems sing, whisper, shout and float. Let the words make the rhythm and give the viewers a buzz to see you.”

It has started with support from Booktrust and the London Grid for Learning and is available across the capital. But it can be hosted by other UK learning grids.

pfpThis is a web site for sharing and for children, teachers and parents to get involved in. Would be great for some Christmas poems?

Dolphin Booksellers supporting great books for children.

What is Children’s Poetry For?

ppThe title of the 2009 Phillipa Pearce Memorial Lecture, given by Michael Rosen and introduced by Morag Styles. The lecture was presented to a packed audience at Homerton College in Cambridge on 10th September.

As always Michael Rosen is great to listen to, a captivating speaker and lots of information. These notes highlight some of the evening.

Poetry can be seen as a speaking picture. It helps meaning to become clear without us knowing how. It provides insight into emotions. It is memorable and enters our value judgement. It encapsulates wisdom with action. It brings together ideas and feelings.

Poetry exists more like the mortar than the bricks. It is the glue in between.

mrMichael presented much of the talk based on work by Sir Phillip Sidney, 1595 ‘An Apologie for Poetry’,or rather defence of poetry. Even then he was defending the way poetry was associated with playing and jesting.

But for children and poetry, it is no wonder they go together so well. Rhyme, verse, patterns, what better way to learn from the start about words and meaning. It’s about playing with words, hearing words when you don’t know the meaning, putting them in context.

And making sense of what you hear- children do it all the time!

Keep visiting Dolphin Booksellers, we are going to be adding more information this autumn.

Heroes and Heroines

old pHeroes and Heroines is the theme of the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition for for 2009. Time to get your imaginations fired up again after the summer break and get writing.

The Children’s Bookshelf is organising the competition, they’re part of the Poetry Book Society. Even if you don’t want to get involved in the competition, its worth having a look at their website, it has all the details and much more beside.

The competition, now in its fourth year, is open to individuals and schools, and divided into 2 age groups,7- 8 yr olds and 9 – 11 yr olds. There are cash prizes as well as books and CPB memberships. A teacher’s guide will be available from early September.

Entries will be accepted from 10 September until 19th October, so its just right for that first few days back in the classroom! On Thursday 8th October we have National Poetry day, the work cover 2 activities in 1!

Carol Ann Duffy, the new poet laureate will chair the panel, to include, John Agard, Antonia Byatt, Gillian Clarke, Janetta Otter Barry and Roger Stevens. They all have a fantastic achievements within their work and connections to children’s poetry.

gdSupport for the project also comes from Old Possum’s Practical Trust. TS Elliot would undoubtedly enjoy the title of the competition, Heroes and Heroines. I’m just wondering which heroine I would choose?

Visit Dolphin Booksellers home page for information and books.

Poetry Award 2009 CLPE- winner


John Agard, with The Young Inferno, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura is the winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education poetry award for 2009.

CLPE has a brilliant poster information sheet,which you can find on CLPE and Dolphin Booksellers.

yiThe Young Inferno is an amazing retelling of this classic by Dante. Full of action and loads of mental images, pacy and more than just engaging. The Furies are there and you will come face to face with them!

Satoshi Kitamura has captured all the action and more besides in his compelling and powerful illustrations. The teenage hoodie, as narrator of the tales into the nine circles of hell must be a hit with its audience of young people. Where else would you find Frankenstein as a bouncer…….

Frances Lincoln, the publishers, have shown yet again their skill at commissioning two of the best, in writing and illustrating,  and bringing them together in a daring retelling of this story.

Visit the home page of Dolphin Booksellers. Bringing information about children’s books direct to you. Working with authors and illustrators in communities delivering book events with a difference.

Amazon link to The Young Inferno

Amazon link to the books of John Agard

Amazon link to the books of Satoshi Kitamura

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