Five poets feature on diverse CLiPPA shortlist

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) has announced the 2019 shortlist for its CLiPPA, its ALCS-sponsored poetry award which celebrates and promotes the best in children’s poetry.

Kwame Alexander’s coming-of-age novel in verse, Rebound (Andersen Press) is shortlisted alongside performance poet Steven Camden, whose collection Everything All At Once (Macmillan Children’s Books), details a week in the lives of pupils attending secondary school. Previous CLiPPA winner Rachel Rooney is also shortlisted for a collection of school-based poems with A Kid in My Class (Otter-Barry Books) and Philip Gross’s latest collection, Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry Books), explores the beauty of the natural world. The warm and funny story of friendship, Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me (Tiny Owl) by Eloise Greenfield, completes the shortlist.

The judging panel for CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) 2019 comprised poet and author AF Harrold; 2018 CLiPPA winner Karl Nova; Susannah Herbert, Director of Forward Arts Foundation and National Poetry Day; poet Ruth Awolola; and Charlotte Hacking, Learning Programme Leader for CLPE. The panel had a record number of submissions to discuss for this year’s award, evidence of the current increase in poetry collections and verse novels being published.

AF Harrold, Chair of Judges said: “For five judges, coming at this from five different directions, it was a relief to see that there was some crossover and agreement on what ‘a good book of poetry for kids’ looked like. The shortlist we came up with pleased us for its range of writers, intended age groups and subject matter. Each of the judges have books on the list that we felt strongly about and loved and championed from the outset. It was an unadulterated joy to share this task, this responsibility, with Karl, Ruth, Susannah and Charlotte.”

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive at CLPE said: “At CLPE we want to make poetry integral to the school curriculum and for it to be in every school, classroom, library, corridor and book bag. This shortlist – selected from the biggest number of submissions in the award’s history – shows such a range and breadth of what poetry for children is and can be and recognises a real variety of voices and styles. We look forward to more children, teachers and schools discovering these works through our Shadowing Scheme.”

The judges gave special mention to England Poems From A School (Picador), edited by Kate Clanchy, in acknowledgement of the raw, emotional and yet extremely accomplished collection of poems written by group of teenage girls from a small comprehensive school in Oxford.

The winner of CLiPPA 2019 will be announced at a ceremony at the National Theatre in central London on Wednesday 3 July 2019. The event will be attended by children from across the UK who have participated in the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme in their schools in the run-up to the award.

ALCS is committed to supporting initiatives that inspire and uplift young writers. We have worked with many organisations, including the National Literacy Trust and the National Schools Partnership, to develop resources to help teach children about the importance of copyright. Visit to find out more and download the materials.

About the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education:

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) is an independent UK charity dedicated to raising the literacy achievement of children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. The CLPE is the National Poetry Centre for Primary Schools, upholding the belief that poetry is an essential element when it comes to children developing their literacy skills both within the classroom and at home. The CLPE champions poetry for toddlers to teens via their online resource, Poetryline, a free website of resources including teaching materials, videos, practice examples and hundreds of poems to inspire and enthuse budding poets.