Thursday, 12 December 2013

Poetry workshop went really well the other day, though had to abandon most of the plan as not enough time. Thing that worked best was the box of SEEDS (of ideas). Kids picked out a title and wrote the poem it inspired in groups of three. One of my faves was: If I was someone else
"If I was someone else, I'd be Nelson Mandela, 
'Cos he was one cool fella.
If I was someone else, I'd be Taylor Swift
And sing in the lift.
If I was someone else, I'd be Charles Dickens
So I could write about chickens..."

I'd thought initially I might talk about the power of words, since the title of the workshop was; "What's the point of poetry?" I'd imagined discussing that old chestnut idiom: Sticks and stones...and how actually, even though words can't physically hurt you, they can cause plenty of other damage. I never liked that annoying little saying because even as a child I felt it to be hollow; a feeble, rather desperate retort to painful verbal taunts.

There has been a bit of funny business with some of the girls in the class recently; the usual friendship stuff I suppose, but unpleasant and tricky to negotiate. So even more reason to talk about how powerful and upsetting words can be, perhaps. But I didn't go there because it didn't feel quite right in what was supposed to be a fun poetry session.

My finale was going to be; choose your words carefully, because words can change the way you think and if they can change the way you think, they can change the world. Look at what happened to Nelson Mandela and Invictus; now that's the point of poetry!(Bit much for a class of 9-year-olds, maybe...)

But here's that very notion in practice; an audacious, heartbreakingly beautiful and shocking poem by Shane Koyczn articulated in a hypnotically ecclectic animation. While the ripples caused by verbal sticks and stones continue, here's to fighting them with the power of new words
Back in the year 5 poetry workshop, If I was someone else finished along the lines of:
"But I'm ME,just me.
And that's exactly who I want to be."

To This Day by Shane Koyczn

Thanks for the link, B x

BACKGROUND information...

My first picture book - called A Possum's Tail - is a collaboration with brilliant illustrator Alex Barrow and came out 6th February 2014. A second book called London Calls! is a whistle-stop tour of London, led by a Pearly grandma and her granddaughter. London Calls! came out on 4th September 2014 and is my second book with Alex Barrow. A Possum's Tail was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.
Both books are by Tate Publishing.

Please see my CURRICULUM VITAE for more details & updates.

As well as writing children's books, for children's television and two award-winning children's magazines, I do both private and commercial art commissions, a selection of which you can see here.

The children's shoes are part of an ongoing series of "first shoes", including several cards commissioned by the Almanac Gallery.

Hand-drawn, bespoke invitations, announcements, portraits and menus, such as the examples here are also available upon request..

Any enquiries please email:


I've been a regular contributor to children's art and science magazine OKIDO since 2007. HAPPY 10th BIRTHDAY (WOW) beautiful Okido!

An Okido animated kids tv show, based on characters from the magazine is currently in production with Doodle/Squintopera The original adaptation of the show (co-created/adapted by myself, producer Ceri Barnes and Doodle Productions) was acquired by CBeebies. 52 x 11 minute episodes will be coming to a screen near you soon in 2015.......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .............................
N E W S F L A S H! MESSY GOES TO OKIDO Series TWO is now in production, following a super-successful 52 episode first series!



Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet

Cartoon Forum 2011 Okido booklet
Okido Cartoon Forum 2011

Happy Birthday OKIDO!

Happy Birthday OKIDO!
Okido was 5 years old this issue...the wonderful art and science magazine for kids I've been lucky enough to have worked on for the past - 8 - years now